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What is a busy lamp field (BLF) and why is it essential?

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What Is a Busy Lamp Field (BLF) and Why Is It Essential

Have you ever faced 🤔 a bustling call center environment? If you haven’t, let’s discuss; in these call centers, phones are ringing constantly, and agents are juggling multiple calls. 

At the same time, supervisors are scrambling to ensure everyone is available and calls are handled efficiently. What’s the result of this chaotic scenario? Eventually, it will be a waste of valuable time.

Are you wondering what’s the solution?

BLF, or busy lamp field, is exactly 😀what you need in this situation. With BLF, you can view real-time agent availability in a call center. 

Want to know more? This guide will walk you through the information about a busy lamp field, how it works, and its major function. We will also explore the benefits of BLF and provide information on how to set it up easily. 

🔑KEY HIGHLIGHTS

  • A busy lamp field is a feature that displays the status of other phones on a phone system using lights or indicators.
  • BLF allows users to monitor the status of other phone extensions through a series of LED lights on their phones.
  • BLF’s significant functions are constant monitoring, call pickup, call transfer, call park, and group paging. 
  • Utilizing BLF features boosts productivity, enhances collaboration, reduces wait times, and increases transparency.

What is a busy lamp field (BLF)?

Busy Lamp Field (BLF) is a feature that allows users to monitor the real-time status (busy or available) of another extension or phone line. In other words, it gives information about which contact is currently available for a call and which is not. This is often represented by LED indicators on the phone. 

BLF is required for any business firm whose activities critically rely on phone calls. This includes contact and call centers, companies dealing with customers directly in health care, hotels and restaurants, banking and financial firms, marketing and research organizations, companies and agencies dealing in sales and marketing customer service centers, and support groups. 

Busy lamp fields rely on SIP calling and VoIP software technology, which require an Internet connection. They can be physically integrated into a business phone system or set up as an add-on module.

How does BLF work?

BLF allows users to monitor the status of other phone extensions through a series of LED lights on their phones. These lights indicate whether an extension is idle, ringing, or in use, using different colors or flashing patterns. 

The functionality is often implemented using the SIP protocol, where the phone subscribes to status updates from the PBX. This setup helps receptionists, call center supervisors, and team members see colleagues’ availability at a glance, improving call management and operational efficiency in a business environment.

To understand how busy lamp fields work, you can look at it from two perspectives: the practical and the technical. First, we’ll explore the underlying technology and delve into how users interact with this feature to meet their needs. 

How does BLF work technically?

BLF, or Busy Lamp Field, operates technically through the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP). Busy Lamp Fields (BLF) are developing the Internet telephony technology. The process works in three simple steps:

  1. Request: When you make a phone call, your phone dispatches a request to the phone system for information about one or more extensions. 
  2. Update: The phone system answers with the extension’s status, whether required, free, or online. If the status of an extension you are tracking changes, you will get another update. 
  3. Disconnect: After it is over, the phone no longer receives updates, which concludes the link.

In the first step, the phone initiates a session initiation protocol (SIP) to the virtual PBX system to get information about one or more extensions. Once your server authenticates the request, the business phone system checks if the requested extension(s) are available. This step is called the subscribe step.

After completing this step, the system sends a notification indicating which lines are available and which are not. If an extension’s status changes, the system sends another notification. This step is known as the notify part of the process.

The third step concludes the use of the BLF. Here, the phone unsubscribes from the busy lamp field, ending the exchange of information about extensions.

How does BLF work practically?

There are several ways to employ BLF; the most standard is routing calls in a work environment. It is easy to know who among the team is free to take the call and who is not. 

For instance, when a customer care attendant answers a call, and the caller wants to speak to another attendant using his/ her name, the busy lamp field will be checked to determine whether the attendant who the caller wants to talk to is busy on another call.

What are the major functions of BLF?

Busy Lamp Field is an interface in VoIP phone systems that offers a lit-up depiction of lines or extensions in an organization. 

Here are 10 major functions of BLF:

  • Constant Monitoring: This indicates whether one’s colleagues are online, offline, or otherwise engaged, hence providing an efficient way of communicating with them. 
  • Call Pickup: BLF keys let you answer or manage calls meant for your coworkers right from your own phone.
  • Speed Dialing: It is helpful because it allows users to program frequently called numbers and associate them with the ‘smart’ buttons. 
  • Call Transfer: Aids in routing the call to the respective departments and people in the business. 
  • Call Park: Suspends a call in a virtual space until another person picks them up. 
  • Busy/Idle Status: Intructively defines whether a line or extension is busy or free. 
  • Direct Dialing: Enables the callers to perform a direct call to a specific extension from the BLF panel. 
  • Intercom Function: BLF keys let you answer or manage calls meant for your coworkers right from your own phone. 
  • Group Paging: Broadcasts an announcement or a message to several phones at a go. 
  • Visual Voicemail Indicator: This indicator reminds users of available new voicemail messages, thus improving the ease with which users can access the messages. 

What are the uses of a Busy Lamp Field (BLF)?

While this capability is helpful across various settings, the maximum positive impact is observed in these three areas.

1. Customer service 

A busy lamp field is very helpful for operating an inbound call center. For instance, if one team member receives a complicated question, he or she can check whether another team member with more experience on the matter or the supervising official is available to take the call. Thirdly, if you have other specialized teams, for example, billing issues or questions to the digital services, everybody can see who is available if the client has certain questions. 

 2. Sales 

The outbound call center is essential to any telecommunication or computer telecommunications company, and BLF is a helpful feature.  Even though you may have already provided structure to your sales team with tools like a power dialer or call campaigns, a busy lamp field can be helpful for real-time adjustments. If you’ve set your call routing so certain calls go to a certain set of salespeople, you can use BLF to reroute calls to a free team member. Even though you may have already provided structure to your sales team 

 3. Reception/Personal assistant 

If you have an employee who wants immediate information on whether a team or particular employee is on the phone, BLF is a good call. This phone feature allows you to monitor their availability for calls easily. The person routing calls can get immediate feedback on whether they can forward a call. 

What are the benefits of BLF?

While tools such as call center software, smart routing, group routing, and custom call queues help manage calls, there are still times when you may need to reroute a caller. This feature allows you to transfer calls effortlessly, ensuring that the customer will be promptly and efficiently taken care of. BLFs have revolutionized how call centers, contact centers, and other customer-facing businesses operate. 

Here are some of the key advantages of implementing BLFs:

1. Boosted productivity

Incorporating the BLFs also reduces the burden of checking on the status of the agents, which consumes a lot of time for managers and supervisors. By having the agents’ real-time status, they are sure to enhance workflow and data management. 

2. Real-time call alerts

A busy lamp field provides an instant visual signal about the call status. Flashing lights or changing colors on the BLF interface indicate incoming calls, ongoing calls, and available agents. This allows for immediate call handling and reduces the chance of missed opportunities. 

3. Enhanced collaboration

BLF fosters teamwork within call centers. Agents can easily identify colleagues free to handle specific inquiries or escalate complex issues, leading to smoother collaboration and improved customer service.

4. Increased transparency

BLFs enhance the cooperative nature of teamwork by letting members see each other’s availability. Agents also can view the overall call volume. This allows for better workload distribution and resource allocation. This creates confidence and responsibility in the employees and, in turn, increases productivity, resulting in better performance. 

5. Seamless integration

BLF integrates seamlessly with existing phone systems and CRM platforms. This centralized view of call activity and agent status simplifies call management and reduces the need for switching between different interfaces.

6. Error-free operations

The busy lamp field minimizes the chances of misdirected calls or missed opportunities. By providing clear visual cues about agent availability, BLF ensures calls are routed to the right person at the right time, reducing errors and improving first-call resolution rates.

7. Mobile accessibility

Modern BLF solutions are accessible on mobile devices. This allows supervisors and agents to monitor call activity and agent status even when away from their desks. It promotes flexibility and improved call center management.

8. Increased flexibility

BLF adapts to changing call center needs. You can customize the BLF interface to display specific information relevant to your workflows and team structure. It allows for a flexible and adaptable call management system.

9. Reduced wait times

This feature reduces on-hold and waiting time by providing a real-time supply of information over BLF agents’ presence. Call center managers can instantly know which agents can take the call and easily transfer it, satisfying the customer. 

This improves the customer experience and reduces frustration, leading to higher customer satisfaction and good customer service.

10. Easy Configuration

BLF systems are typically easy to set up and configure. They integrate with existing infrastructure and require minimal training for agents to use effectively, ensuring a smooth implementation process.

Busy Lamp Field (BLF) for Mobile and Desk Phones 

Busy Lamp Field for mobile phones can connect to smartphones and tablets, so you can monitor extension status in real-time. This allows users to track the presence of fellow operators and manage calls from distant areas. For desk phones, BLF surrounds the keys with a light to show extension status, so call handling is kept, and transfers are fast within an office setting.

BLF for mobile phones 

Mobile BLF Integration, Busy Lamp Fields, is a concept that can easily be incorporated into mobile devices, including smartphones and tablet computers, when the application is used in fixed mobile convergence

This allows the BLF to show the current status of agents attending to calls on their portable devices from anywhere. Like a normal extension, the BLF can be associated with other portable devices for one interface interaction. 

BLFs for desk phones 

Those small buttons with tiny lights on your desk phone are BLF keys! They help you connect to different extensions easily. The lights on these buttons show you the status of the extension you’re trying to reach: green means the extension is available, orange means it’s ringing or busy, and red means it’s unavailable. These lights help you decide whether to make the call, giving you a sneak peek at who’s available before you dial!

How to set up BLF? 

Configuring BLF on an IP phone is relatively easy and takes only a few steps for the layperson to follow and accomplish. Follow these easy steps to get started:

  • Access your phone’s web interface: Turn on your computer, open a web browser, and then type the IP address on a VoIP phone system to enable you to connect.
  • Navigate to the Extensions tab: Move to the “Extensions” and choose the “BLF” in the subtab.
  • Choose the extensions to monitor: Clicking on the Extensions link will take you to a list of available extensions. Select the ones you would like to track and click OK.
  • Test the setup: Call the selected extensions to see whether the BLF has been configured properly. If the status lights on your IP phone that correspond to the BLF button are on, you’re good to go!

If you follow these steps, you can set up BLF on your IP phone and monitor the real status of any extension.

👋 Take a look at: How to Add an Extension to Phone Number

Wrapping up

Among all the tremendous features introduced by VoIP, the Busy Lamp Field (BLF) is one of the most revolutionary in work communications. It provides people with a visual of their co-worker’s availability for a call and the current status of a call, increasing call management, collaboration, and productivity.🌟

Using BLF to determine a worker’s status, such as whether the worker is busy, on a call, or not on a call, can relieve call management and, in the process, enhance efficiency and cooperation.

BLF is very simple to use and acts as a crucial tool for any business organization that aims to improve communication, increase the time efficiency of its services, and provide the best customer service to clients. 🚀

FAQs

Can a Busy Lamp Field (BLF) integrate with VoIP systems?

Yes, BLFs can easily integrate with many ongoing applications, such as VoIP phone systems, making for an easier transition. BLFs can be physically integrated into a business phone system or set up as an add-on module.

What are Busy Lamp Fields?

A busy lamp field (BLF) is a light on a VoIP phone, that tells end users when another extension within the system is in use by displaying a clear status on the phone’s display.

What does BLF interaction indicate?

A Busy Lamp Field (BLF) interaction indicates the real-time status of another extension in the phone system. The BLF is a light on an IP phone that changes color to show whether the monitored extension is:

  • Idle (green) – the extension is available
  • Alerting (blinking green) – the extension is receiving an incoming call
  • In use (solid red) – the extension is currently on an active call
  • On hold (red blinking) – the call on the extension is on hold
  • Error (orange) – there is an issue with the extension

Is a Busy Lamp Field (BLF) suitable for small businesses?

Yes, a Busy Lamp Field (BLF) can indeed be appropriate for small businesses, depending on the company’s requirements and communication structure. BLF is a characteristic mainly designed for VoIP phone systems, where the clients or representatives in a company can determine whether colleagues or extensions are available or busy. 

How to configure BLF? 

BLF can be configured on IP phones to monitor the status of other extensions. The key steps are:

  • Configure the BLF buttons on the IP phone through the phone’s web interface. Select a line key, set its type to “BLF”, and enter the extension number you want to monitor.
  • Assign the BLF buttons to the desired extensions. Configure the BLF buttons to monitor the status of specific co-workers’ extensions that you frequently need to check.
  • Select the transfer method for the BLF buttons. Choose between “Blind Transfer” or “Attended/Consultative Transfer” based on your preference or operational needs.
  • Optionally, reorder the BLF buttons by dragging and dropping them into the desired position.
  • To apply the changes immediately, consider restarting the IP phone.

What is a BLF list?

A BLF list refers to a collection of specific extensions or phone lines monitored for status changes. Any status changes are reflected on the VoIP phone through different light colors or noted in your VoIP application interface.

Can a Busy Lamp Field (BLF) be customized to fit specific business needs?

Yes, the Busy Lamp Field (BLF) systems are flexible and can be adapted to a business’s requirements. These include setting up monitorable extensions and status indicators and interfacing with other systems, such as CRM or ERP. 

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Dinesh Silwal

Dinesh Silwal is the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of KrispCall. For the past few years, he has been advancing and innovating in the cloud telephony industry, using AI to enhance and improve telephony solutions, and driving KrispCall to the forefront of the field.

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