cloud phone  •  Calling and Mobility

Virtual Phone Extensions

Get a great deal of flexibility when creating phone number extensions for departments and individuals across devices and locations.
A woman on a call on her mobile phone with plants in the background

What are Phone Extensions?

A phone extension is a feature of a business phone system that allows a phone number to have a shorter extension number assigned to an individual, a team, or a department. It can be added as both an internal shortcode, which lets your staff easily call each other, or an an external way for customers to contact people or departments directly without having to go through the phone system menu.

What is a Virtual Extension?

A virtual phone extension is a form of phone extension that is not tethered to a physical hard phone or soft phone. Instead, this is assigned to an employee and incoming calls to this extension can be taken anywhere as long as they have access to their RingCentral App. 
Play Video: A woman on a videoconference and insert of a dialpad in the RingCentral app
Benefits of Phone Extensions for your business

Better Business Call Management and Business Phone Productivity

When a main number gets extension numbers, you can route and manage internal and incoming calls more efficiently. This leads to fewer routing errors, and callers can get attended to at once as numbers are short and simple to dial.
An extension number can also increase productivity as it saves time for  your staff and your customers via quick call transfers on landline or mobile: no more wasted time or built-up irritation dialing a long string of numbers to forward calls.
A list of Numbers in Use in a RingCentral appaccount
An activated extension number feature of the RingCentral app

Scalable Business Phone Features

Easily add extensions without the need for new copper wires or cabling. Simply go to the admin portal of your account to assign an extension to an employee or department regardless of location. 
If needed, removing extensions or reassigning them is just as easy and convenient. 

Impress with a Sophisticated Business Phone System

Impress callers with a sophisticated and organized business phone system using RingCentral. A vast and organized network of extensions gives customers the impression of a highly efficient and professional organization. 
Extensions can be crucial for many businesses. Those with a substantial number of employees (or several different departments or teams) and those that plan to scale significantly in the future may need a specific telephone number to cater to your clients' needs.
Provide extension numbers to your departments depending on the demands of your business, regardless of the number of employees. At the same time, you can add employees to multiple departments, giving each of their phone number with answering rules, voicemail, and on-hold experience.
A list of extension numbers in the RingCentral app
A chat conversation between an agent and a customer in the RingCentral app

Excellent Customer Experience and Service

Increase customer satisfaction by allowing customers to skip your phone menu. Let them  connect to an employee or department directly if they know the phone extension. 
Not only are you serving these callers by giving them a direct line, you are also decreasing the number of people on queue to be handled by your auto-attendant. This leads to faster call routing and happier callers. 

Better Internal Communications with Team Members

Phone extensions let employees quickly communicate with each other instantly by letting them call each other instantly via short code. 
Virtual extensions take it further by connecting distributed employees from different location. VoIP phone systems like RingCentral lets employees access their virtual extensions from anywhere there is internet connection. 
An incoming video call from Marcos Camacho to Christina Evy in the RingCentral mobile app
The RingCentral Extension Number dashboard in a RingCentral admin account

Cost-effective and Convenient Business Phone System

Virtual exxtensions can be an economical way of connecting people within your organization. No need to purchase telephone numbers for each employee or department, assign them extensions that can be accsssed anytime and anywhere. 
This gives you more flexibility while maintaining a professional presence for your customers, even as employees work from any location.
Use Cases of Phone Extensions


Configure your phone extensions to maximize your productivity. How will this extension number work for your convenience and work best for the company? With virtual phone extensions from RingCentral, you can speak with team members and clients anytime, anywhere.
The side profile of a woman on a phone call using her mobile phone
Two female colleagues looking at a laptop


Improve the efficiency of your team and team members. How can phone extensions help you cater to your callers better? Route calls to available operators to receive callers so they can attend to business calls at the best possible time. You can also configure each team member's extension numbers according to your setup. If a caller reaches your main number, will all phone extensions ring simultaneously, or will it be sequential? With RingCentral, feel free to customize.


Answer your phone according to your availability. Let an auto-attendant or an assistant filter your calls so you can manage your workload better. Assign an extension number for the whole department to filter all calls received, or if the demand is high, such as in sales, let every team member have one.
A male agent on an ongoing call

Virtual Phone Extensions Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Phone extensions are shortcodes that lets team members, teams, or departments to be easily reached by dialing a digit extension rather than the whole phonel number. For example, you may assign extension number 111 to your sales department, 222 to your HR department, or 999 to an individual employee.
 They can work in two ways, either client caller-centric or employee-centric. 
For client caller-centric, phone extensions can work with the auto-attendant feature of a business phone system to guide and connect customers to the correct department and extension. For regular inbound callers, such as VIP clients and suppliers, they can directly reach the phone extension without going through the auto-attendant. Using phone extensions can improve business communication and enhance the customer experience.
For employee-centric, employees within the organization are able to easily call each other via the internal extensions without haivng to call a phone number. This makes it easier for the staff to communicate each other as they do not have to compet against external callers who have to call the main phone number to connect.  
When you choose a virtual PBX phone system like RingCentral, you will benefit more than the standard business phone system functionality. Because RingCentral is a cloud-based VoIP phone system, you can enjoy better phone service flexibility to configure your virtual phone extensions, telephone handset, landline, or mobile phone, whether iPhone or Android, for departments and individuals across devices and locations.
To activate phone extensions, you must assign numbers to both staff and departments on the admin portal of your RingCentral account. You can even assign virtual extensions to team members from different geographical locations as long as you're using a unified communications system like RingCentral. 
Once an admin creates an extension number for a person, a team, or a department, external callers can use this phone number to reach the right person, team, or department they are looking for by merely adding the said shortcode after dialing the main number. 
Meanwhile, internal callers can directly dial the extension number of the colleague or department they must speak with and skip dialing the main number altogether. This way, they can skip the auto-attendant feature of their business lines, saving them time and effort as they increase efficiency.
A phone extension refers to a physical extension on a business phone system that is connected to a specific phone line within the organization. This allows employees to have their own unique phone number and extension, making it easier for customers and colleagues to contact them directly.
A virtual extension, on the other hand, is a feature of a virtual phone system that allows calls to be forwarded to different phone numbers or devices, regardless of their location. This means that employees can have a virtual extension that can be used to reach them on their mobile phones or other devices, even if they are not physically in the office.
The key difference between the two is that a phone extension is tied to a specific physical phone line, while a virtual extension is a feature of a virtual phone system that can be used to forward calls to different devices. Phone extensions are typically used in traditional phone systems, while virtual extensions are more commonly used in modern virtual phone systems that are cloud-based and offer advanced call routing and management features.
Dialing an extension number is as easy as dialing the main number of the company you wish to contact first. You just need to add the shortcode number assigned to the person you want to talk to. In the case that you don't know the extension number, press the star (*) key if you do not have extensions, simply press (*) key. Enter the extension's PIN, then press the pound key (#).
Your cellphone can have extensions provided that they have installed the RingCentral mobile app. Since the RingCentral phone system is based in the cloud, once you have an assigned business phone number and extension, you can take and make calls via your cellphone.
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