With a traditional business phone system, creating multiple departments could prove difficult, if not impossible. However, virtual departments – the kind on offer in a cloud-based business phone system like RingCentral Office – are a different story.


Cloud telephony enables many departments to be set up. And a single department number can be programmed to reach as many individual users as needed, wherever they happen to be.

Departments can ensure calls are handled in the most effective way; a customer can ring up and immediately get through to the service they are looking for. For example, it makes a lot of sense to set up a sales department, so sales enquiries go directly to the people that are best able to convert leads.

Here’s our brief guide to configuring departments within a virtual phone system:

1) Decide on your departmental structure. What are the services or business functions to which you’d like to provide your customers with direct access? Are there staff in similar roles that could perhaps be more effective answering calls as a team?

2) Set up each department and add numbers. As many departments can be added as required. Direct numbers can also be assigned to departments so customers may quickly reach the service they’re after.

3) Allocate staff members to departments. Simply associate existing user extensions to the new departments. When the department number is dialled, the right team will be assembled and ready.


Simply check the names from your main directory you’d like to be added into your new department.

4) Create call handling rules for each department. If it is important that customers get through to the most appropriate person first, a priority ringing order can be used. Otherwise, phones can be programmed to ring in rotating order or even all at the same time. Each department has complete control over how long callers wait before being put through to the next available person (or sent to voicemail). Separate departments can even have their own specific greeting and in-queue messaging.


5) Assign managers to departments where necessary. By assigning a specific manager for a department, the user administration and call handling options can be programmed to fit the exact requirements of the department and changes can easily be made as often as required.

Virtual departments act as powerful way for a small business to organise its services and staff. Are you using them yet?

More information on department settings may be found in the RingCentral Support Centre.