Cold Transfers VS Warm Transfers: What’s the Difference?

If you’ve ever worked in an office before, chances are you’ve had to transfer a call from one extension to another. However, there are a surprising number of people who don’t know there are actually two ways to transfer a call: cold transfers and warm transfers.

What are these two types of transfers (also sometimes called blind and attended transfers), and when is it appropriate to use one over another? Let’s break it down together so you can improve the call performance of your business and provide the best possible experience for your customers.


The primary difference between cold and warm transfers is whether or not the call is introduced to the transfer recipient prior to actually transferring them the call.

For instance, if I sent a cold transfer to your phone, it would go something like this:

You:  Hello?

The Caller:  Hi, my name is Janet. I was just speaking with Brady in Marketing and he said he was far too busy so I’d have to talk with you instead. I need help with… Okay so the issue started a few months ago…

See the problem? Not only are you completely unprepared for the conversation that’s just been dumped in your lap, but the customer has to reintroduce and re-explain themselves. If they were already frustrated before they called, you can bet your bottom dollar they’re even more frustrated now.

Let’s take a look at how things would have gone if I’d sent a warm transfer to your phone instead:

You:  Hello?

Me:  Hey, it’s Brady in Marketing. I just got a call from Janet, one of our customers, and she needs to [insert example of common problem your business handles here]. I’m way too busy over here with big picture marketing stuff and things, so I’m gonna send her your way. Thanks, byyyeee!

You:  Hello, is this Janet? I hear you’re having some trouble with [insert common problem from earlier here]. Give me just a moment to pull up your account and I can help you out with that.

What a difference a few seconds can make to the quality of your caller experience. One transfer is lightning fast and without preamble, perfect for when no introduction is necessary or the call is expected. The other includes a personal intro, background information, or at least a heads up that a call is coming your way.


Cold transfers can be a jarring experience for both your callers and the coworker receiving your transfer. However, there are still plenty of circumstances where a cold transfer is the right move.

For instance, if a caller reached your extension by mistake and is actually looking for a different person or department, send them right along without delay. Or, if someone has been expecting a call, that’s equally fair game to send over cold. No fuss, no introduction necessary.

A good rule of thumb is that, if you wouldn’t mind receiving a call with no introduction, it’s probably safe to cold transfer. However, if you know you’d be annoyed being thrown into a situation on the other end of a transfer, be kind and warm it up first.


Warm transfers are the preferred option for support teams, salespeople, and any situation where it's beneficial to give an introduction to the call you’re about to pass along.

When you give your coworkers the relevant details before connecting them with a caller, it ensures your customers don’t have to repeat themselves or sit there waiting while their account gets pulled up multiple times or the same questions get asked over and over again. With a warm transfer. you can place your callers on a brief hold, bring your coworker up to speed, and then let the caller know they’re being transferred to someone who is already ready to help.

At a glance, it seems like warm transfers have the potential to annoy an angry customer further by making them wait on hold. However, keeping them in the loop and making sure the transfer recipient has all the info they need to hit the ground running actually makes your business look much more professional.

A brief hold that ends in quality, immediate assistance is always better than forcing someone to repeat themselves multiple times.

Sometimes it’s unavoidable that you’ll have to send callers to voicemail. No matter how hard we try to make ourselves available for our customers, it still happens to the best of us. Whether a caller was trying to reach you, or you’re seeing if one of your coworkers is available, a warm transfer also helps make the transition to voicemail a little easier.

Instead of a caller being sent to an extension and suddenly finding themselves talking to a machine, you can initiate the transfer, confirm your coworker isn’t at their desk, and then come back and inform the caller they’re being sent to voicemail. Even if they aren’t thrilled, they’ll always appreciate the head’s up.

Still have questions about the difference between cold and warm transfers? Want to learn more about how a FluentStream system can improve your customer experience and grow your business? Let us know at or by calling 303-GO-CLOUD and selecting Option 1.

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