Warm Transfer vs Cold Transfer: What Do You Prefer?

Simplify your phone communication with a cost-effective, secure and reliable virtual phone solution

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Priya Naha

Senior Writer:

green tickDate: September 22, 2023

Summary: Cold and warm transfers are a standard feature in modern telecommunications. How an agent transfers a call has much to do with customer experience. CallHippo has the best call transfer feature. This blog discusses the difference between warm and cold transfers, their examples, benefits, and the ways to use them.

Customers and calls are a never-ending affair. Incoming calls from customers are always welcome to the call center agent team. However, it is essential to handle call transfers the right way. 

While a warm transfer involves greeting the customer, putting them on hold and informing the other agent about the transfer, a cold transfer involves the direct transfer of a caller to another person, without informing either of the parties involved.

Sometimes bad call transfers leave customers with a bad taste. 68% of customers get annoyed when their call is transferred between different department agents.

And, a bad customer experience is not a good idea for call centers.

However, not all call transfers are not bad options as they can genuinely help the customer and the team.

What is a Call Transfer?

Call transfer is defined as transferring of a live phone call from one agent to another. The other agent, in most cases, is the appropriate person to answer the customer’s query.

 Call transfers are also known as call forwarding.

Types of Call Transfers

Types Of Call Transfer

Call transfers are of two types: –

  • Cold-Cold transfer is one where the agent directly transfers the caller to another teammate without informing either of the people involved.
  • Warm-Warm transfer is a way of transferring a call where the agent greets the customer, puts them on hold and informs the new agent and transfers the call to them. 

What is a Cold Transfer?

A cold transfer is when an agent transfers a call to another team member without briefing them with any details.

It is also known as a blind transfer. The process often starts through an automatic call distribution service.

Most of the time, the cold call transfer process does not begin with human interactions. Instead, the incoming calls are automatically transferred after callers interact with an IVR system or auto-attendant.

Cold transfer does not always create a relevant customer experience. It requires customers to repeat information to different agents, which frustrates them.

But, there are some cases where cold transfers are the best option. Let’s take a look.

Benefits of Cold Transfer

Saves Time

Cold transfers are preferred mainly by call center agents because they are quick to initiate. Virtual receptionists and agents can transfer calls to the appropriate agent with a cold transfer.

For example, if a customer calls for a query but does not get to the right person, the call center software operator can quickly cold transfer the call to an appropriate team member.

Facilitates Immediate Response

According to HubSpot, 90% of consumers rate an immediate response as essential when they have a customer service question.

Similarly, HubSpot also states that 83% of consumers rate an immediate response as crucial when they have a sales or marketing question.

To be precise, consumers are impatient and want relevant information immediately. And, it is possible through cold transfers.

If a caller reaches a different department, with the cold transfer option, the agent route calls to the correct department without delay.

Streamlines Heavy Workload Situations

Shearer states that cold transfer options are mainly used during the “all hands on deck” situation. It means to be in a position where every available person is needed.

When a contact center faces a sudden call inflow and the agents try to serve all the customers by a specific deadline, blind transfers are the most rapid way to get them to an agent with relevant knowledge.

Switches Calls to Right Departments

As already mentioned, customers often call the wrong department to get relevant information.

Blind transfers are the best option for associates and receptionist service agents facing such a situation.

Cold transferring a call to the right person helps the caller get relevant information and improves agents’ productivity.

When Should You Use Cold Transfers?

A cold transfer must be sparingly used when handling customer calls. If you suddenly cold transfer a call, it can get frustrating, and customers may feel their issue is not being taken seriously.

However, there are various situations where it becomes necessary to cold transfer a call for prompt and effective action.

Let’s look at a few instances where cold transfers can do your job.

1. Not Within the Scope of An Agent’s Expertise

A cold transfer is helpful when the customer’s issue is outside the scope of the agent’s expertise and no other representative is immediately available to assist the customer. If the caller has a technical issue with a product and the agent is not trained in technical support, a cold transfer to the technical support team can be considered the best course of action.

2. Escalation to Higher Authority

A cold transfer is helpful during an emergency when an agent needs to escalate the customer’s issue to a higher level of authority, like a manager. In such situations, the agent can explain to the customer that they are transferring the call to a higher authority who can address the issue more effectively.

3. Abusive Customer Behavior

There are cases when the customer is abusive towards an agent, and the agent feels unsafe or uncomfortable. In such situations, a cold transfer may be necessary to protect the agent. It is a delicate situation; the agents must maintain a professional demeanor and resolve the customer’s issue. But, a cold transfer is crucial if things go out of hand.

Cold Transfer Examples

Example 1

One of the best examples of cold transfers is when someone wants to shift a call from one department to another without announcing it.

Say you’re Amanda in sales, and you answer one user looking for assistance with an auditing issue. He doesn’t want you- he wants the finance team. And you, Amanda, in sales, want your line freed up for incoming active calls.

Once you realize where the customer wants to go, you can route the call to the correct department.

Example 2

Cold transfers are beneficial when the caller doesn’t need long detailed discussions or is not interested in the background information or a specific person.

If an agent answers a call and the caller has a billing issue, the agent or virtual receptionist can forward calls as such straightaway to the available billing agent.

Example 3

A blind transfer is also beneficial when your team is out of the office.

You can set up an IVR to route customers’ phone calls to specific phone numbers so that their messages land in the voice mailbox or straight to an emergency number.

Now that we got a fair idea about cold transfers, let us delve deeper to understand warm transfers.

What is a Warm Transfer?

Unlike cold transfer calls, a warm transfer call occurs when the associate receiving the call is fully aware of the customer’s details. It is also known as soft transfer and attended transfer.

In the warm transfer option, the live agent transfers the call to a new agent who already knows the caller’s details. So, the customer doesn’t need to repeat himself.

The new team member will be able to greet the caller by name and work toward call resolutions immediately.

With warm transfer calls, customers feel appreciated and valued. While warm transferring a caller, you can give a personal greeting, rather than just a “Hello!”

During warm transfer calls, you must put the customer on hold for a few seconds. Don’t let them get bored. With on hold music, you can keep your callers happy and engaged.

Benefits of Warm Transfer

Warm Transfers Notify the Agents

In attended transfers, the agent or virtual receptionist will speak to the team member before they send the call to the new agent. The desired extension the caller asks for is informed during the active call transfer.

During the process, the caller is put on hold, and the call center operator dials the desired extension.

Such attended transfers help agents to learn about the caller’s issue. Transferring calls needs tactics, and warm transfer offers it!

Improves Customer Experience

One of the primary things for a contact center is customer satisfaction. With warm call transfer, you can quickly achieve that.

It isn’t polite when somebody presses the call transfer button and leaves the conversation without giving you the necessary details.

A warm transfer takes away all such worries. With it, the client can make an active call valuable by personally greeting them.

Here, team members get the time and information they need to provide quality customer service that makes the customer feel valued.

Streamlines Agent’s Situation

As you already know, cold transfers don’t inform the agents. But, with warm transfers, the case is different.

If one user gets connected to the agent, he can choose whether he has the time or not to answer the call or have it sent to voicemail.

When Should You Use Warm Transfers?

A warm transfer can be a valuable asset to improve customer satisfaction. Businesses can prove they are committed to providing personalized and efficient customer service by using them in the right situations.

Let’s look at a few instances where warm transfers are helpful.

1. Handle Complex Issues

When a customer has a complex issue, and the agent isn’t the right person to approach, a warm transfer can help. The warm transfer lets the agent connect the customer with the right representative.

Moreover, it gives an impression to the customer that you care about their problems. While warm transferring, the original representative can explain the necessary context to the new agent, which helps the customer to resolve the issue quickly.

2. Accidental Calls

A warm transfer can also help when the caller accidentally contacts the wrong department. The current agent handling the call can help the customer connect with the right department via warm transfer. It is helpful as the caller doesn’t have to repeat his issues to the new agent.

3. Connect To A Specific Department

A warm transfer is also helpful when a customer requests to speak with a specific representative or department. A warm transfer ensures that the customer is connected with the right person. It helps build customer loyalty and satisfaction. It also provides a personal touch to the customer service experience and is valuable in building customer relationships.

Warm Transfer Examples

Example 1

Suppose you are in support and get a call with a particular issue. Here’s how the call center agent may go down with the warm transfer:

To the customer: ” It’ll be better if you could talk to Maria, who’s an expert in the subject. Let me transfer you.”

To your teammate: “Hey Maria, I’ve got John on the line here, and he’s having a problem with local promotion questions. I am transferring him to you now.”

Example 2

Imagine you have a phone call while heading to an important meeting. With warm transfers, you can pick up the phone without investing much time. You can directly tell the agent that you are not available.

Here’s how the conversation might go down:

“Hi Jane, I have got Joe on the line from CallHippo. Can I transfer him to you?”

“Sorry Joanna, I have an urgent meeting. Can you please inform him to leave a message and I’ll get back to him this evening? Thanks.”

When the caller gets transferred to the voicemail, he’s expecting it because he agreed to go to the voicemail. He knows his call is valued.

Example 3

If you are waiting for a call, a warm transfer can also help here. Suppose an agent initiates a warm transfer to you, saying Richie is on the line.

You’re waiting to hear from Richie A, but this is Richie B- you can decide if you want to be a part of the call or not.

A heads up: Agents can initiate cold and warm transfers via a desk phone.

From the above analysis, you’ve well understood the warm transfer meaning. But do you know how to do a warm transfer and cold transfer?

How to Do a Cold (Blind) Transfer?

It’s not as tough as you think! With these steps, you can efficiently do a blind transfer.

While you are on an active incoming call on a mobile or desktop app, there’s no need to hold. You can just:

  • Tap on the transfer button.
  • Select the person’s name or type the name of the person you want to route the call to!

How to Do a Warm (Attended) Transfer?

You can do a warm transfer without leaving the platform, grabbing a different device, or downloading a third-party app.

While on the call, tap the name of the teammate you want to route the call to and directly message them. You can then fill them on your active call.

Once you have passed on the information your colleague needs, you can tap the transfer button.

Warm Transfers vs Cold Transfers, Which Is Better?

Warm vs cold-transfer

It depends on the agents and the customers situation: 

  • A warm call won’t help if your call center software agent is out of office. Cold forwarding is the best option in such situations.
  • Cold forwarding will be rude, if your customer has a specific issue and without informing you route the call to another person. A warm call is a better option in such situations.

 Improve your Call Transfers with CallHippo

With CallHippo, transferring calls has become much more manageable. You can:

  • Transfer a call to any other colleague’s voicemail or extension.
  • Stay on the line until the person you transferred the call to answers it or hang up after transferring the call.
  • Initiate a three-way conversation

You can arrange a demo call with our expert today to learn more about our process.

Conclusion: Cold and warm transfer is a standard feature of modern telecommunications. Both of them are important for improved customer experience and agent productivity. However, before using them, it is crucial to understand how cold and warm transfers work, as explained above. Also, it’s worth trying CallHippo’s call transfer feature.


1. What is the substitute for cold and warm transfer?

Call flip is a feature that allows you to call another device rather than a third party when you press the transfer button.

2. What are the benefits of call transfer?

With call transfer, you can know about staff availability, expand your company presence, and engage and serve the customers better.

3. Are call transfers internal or external?

Call transfers can be both internal and external. CallHippo supports both cold and attended transfers.

4. What is the difference between cold transfer and warm transfer?

The difference between a cold transfer and a warm transfer is that a cold transfer doesn’t brief any information to the agent when transferring the call. However, a warm transfer informs the team member about the customers’ needs. A warm transfer is a more personal way of communicating.


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