Pros And Cons Of Google Voice As A Free Business Phone Number

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For everyone from fresh faced entrepreneurs to veteran businesses owners, Google Voice is the ideal cost effective solution for inbound calls when compared to expensive landlines. Find out how Google Voice can improve your business through enhancing customer service and response times with both potential and current clients.

How To Use Google Voice For Business

Google Voice is one of the most under-appreciated innovations provided by Google. When compared to some of its other products such as Google Drive and Gmail, its easy to look over the full range of benefits that products like Google Voice offer.

To many, it’s simply a tool that allows you to produce a phone number for cheap as a forwarding number. Many people used it once a few years ago, and forgot about it, completely unaware of the improvements it’s undergone in recent years.

There are a multitude of ways you can use Google Voice for your business. When you register with Google Voice’s service, you can pick a virtual number for almost any area code. For instance this means when you are dealing with leads or clients from a certain area, you can have a local number that can increase brand trust and make them feel like you aren’t just a 1-800 robotic business.

The number itself isn’t just limited to being a forwarding number, you’re able to use that number for sending and receiving text messages, sending and receive calls via the Internet exclusively if you want a virtual assistant to use it, but it becomes the most potent when you attach the number to a landline or mobile phone.

Let’s go into a few more tested methods for improving your business’s customer relations using Google Voice.

Customer Relationship Management

Many business owners under utilize the power of text messaging for keeping in contact with customers and potential leads. In reality, many businesses are just starting to appreciate the ease of which text can be used to track everything from customer satisfaction to how far they are from making a buying decision.

As mentioned before with Google Voice, you can send and receive SMS messages through your virtual number. This can be done either through a third-party smartphone texting app or the Google Voice’s web page itself. With Google Voice, it saves all of the text messages in an organized and searchable format so that you can easily reference points for yourself or your team.

This is useful for Customer Relation Management (CRM). To engage with your customers, you click on the customer’s number to be connected to your cell phone via Google Voice. We recommend that you have multiple recorded greetings and replies for a variety of situations to save time and help improve the flow of their call process.

You can use Google Voice to figure out what customers need product support. You can forward these numbers to specific folders so your team members can handle each situation efficiently.

Call Scheduling

With Google Voice, you can schedule which times of the day you’re ready to accept calls. In fact, you specify times for the phone not to ring outside of business hours. You can change the rules and call schedules for certain groups or contacts.

For instance, let’s say that you’re on vacation: You’re leaving the office at 2:00 PM and you’ll be traveling via plane until 9:00 PM. Tell Google Voice to connect your calls to your landline before 2:00 PM. From 2-9 PM, you can connect the calls to your mobile phone. After 9 PM, you can block the calls from your phone and continue enjoying your vacation as planned or have requests forwarded to a different number.

Start Your Business Anywhere

Another of the aforementioned primary Google Voice advantages is that you can obtain an area code for any U.S. location. This is a great point for small businesses who tend to have client bases in specific regions throughout the world and don’t want to seem too remote.

Do you have a large client base in California, but your business is based in New York? You can easily create a Google Voice number in the 310 or 212.

For international businesses, you can use Google Voice to send and receive cheap international calls. This can save you hundreds of dollars annually since you don’t have to pay extra fees to process orders or change requests.

Is Google Voice Reliable For Business?

Statistically, over 127 of the top 1 million websites uses Google Voice. Google Voice is reliable for businesses and websites who need a quick number to establish their credibility further without being locked down to an expensive contract. The biggest advantages of Google Voice is that it is both cheap, and easy to use whilst being extremely flexible.

For example, Google Voice eliminates the issue of needing multiple phones for different purposes. Once you create a virtual number, you can connect your mobile, home phone, landline, and any other number into Google’s control panel. Any member of your team can have access to the number if permitted with just the click of a button.

So say a customer calls your business, all of the phones will ring (or certain phones, if you choose) and you can answer whichever one is the most convenient.

Also, Google Voice allows you to have complete control when you’re in the middle of a call. You can start and end recording calls with the press of a button. This is essential for training customer support staff that need examples to study and pick apart.

Plus, you can switch phones without interrupting the call. To do this, press the star key, and the other phones in your office will start to ring. Then you can pick up one of the other phones and hang up original phone, and continue your conversation as usual.

The Main Problems & Complaints With Using Google Voice For Business From The Reviews

If you’re just starting off as a business, Google Voice is a great entry-level phone service. But, there are some things that it’s unable to do that can be a bit frustrating.

No Outbound Business Caller ID

One of the worst business pitfalls to fall into is to use your cellphone for professional calls. When making an outgoing call with Google Voice, the person receiving it only receives your Google Voice number and not your name.

However, there are some ways to work around this issue. If placing your name on Google Voice’s caller ID is important, there are two options:

  1. Transfer the number from a mobile carrier. The carrier already has your name listed in their CNAM database.
  2. Register your name with directory assistance websites.

The first option is for people with personal numbers and businesses. Use the second option if you’re a smaller sized business and need a more stable caller ID name. No matter what option you choose, it’s not guaranteed that your name will show up on the recipient’s phone. The caller ID displays is controlled by their phone company.

Porting Numbers After You’ve Built A Business On It Could Lead To Disaster

While the concept of reliability comes into play when planning on adopting a VoIP service as a replacement for your daily communications, this is important for Google Voice as well.

Beyond its reliability risk, you have to understand the limitations that occur when porting your phone number to Google Voice. While its inexpensive, Google Voice does charge you $20 to port your phone to their services. The only downside is that you cannot transfer VoIP or landline numbers.

If you’re planning to port a landline number, you’re going to have to port and convert it to a mobile carrier. After that, Google Voice will accept that number. It’s not impossible, but it makes it a complicated process for a system that’s easy to set up.

Google Is Notorious For Having ZERO Personalized Support

One of Google’s largest downfalls is its lack of support. If there is a problem with your phone numbers, line, or service you can contact (call, email, in person) with a customer service specialist to a phone company.

However, Google doesn’t have any form of personal customer service related to Google Voice. You can access Google Voice’s page to receive answers to common issues or frequently asked questions.

If you have a problem that’s not covered by Google’s FAQ section, then you can post on Google Voice’s Help Forum. While it’s a great way to get answers to your problem, you’re not going to get an instant response time like traditional phone services.

The lack of a fast customer service system makes it hard to resolve calling issues if they do arrive; this means that your phone service can be interrupted. On average, you’ll have to wait a day to receive feedback on your calling issues.

Can’t Get Vanity Numbers, Toll-Free Lines, Or 800 Numbers For Your Business Advertisements

A lot of users would like to start with using a free Google Voice number. Then they want to port it out of Google’s Voice’s main platform and use a paid provider once their needs change or they’re making money.

There are some limitations to this procedure, and most companies tend to have their Google Voice number for about a year. But, they are stuck once they try to make a vanity number for advertisements or add an 800 number to make it easier for customers to call them.

Google Voice Competitors

With a long list of solutions and apps, Google Voice has made itself a popular service in the workplace. Not only can Google Voice substitute your phone for your business, but it also provides web-based productivity tools and flexible cloud storage.

However, Google falls short on creating a permanent phone address for companies. Which leads to some users opting for their competitors. While there is a shortage of Google Voice competitors, you don’t have to spend too much money to receive a calling and messaging platform, and a local number to experience the same features that Google Voice has.

Better Paid Service Options Like Google Voice With Better Reliability & Features For Small Business Owners

No matter how professional or efficient your service provider is, there are times when you’ll need assistance. Because of that, you should also see some of the other alternative phone services that are available. Here are some phone services that offer a few neat advanced features for their users that can make a difference.

Grasshopper

Many service based customer oriented businesses use Grasshopper’s recording system for their messages. Like Google Voice, Grasshopper is a virtual phone system that helps businesses stay organized when there is a multitude of incoming calls and not enough time or staff. It mitigates many of the normal issues that come from mitigating a bunch of clients at once. It allows your company to stay connected to your client base even when busy.

Using Grasshopper Is As Easy As:

  1. Create a number for your business.
  2. Record a custom greeting (it allows you to make multiple greetings for different clients).
  3. Add employees and departments.
  4. Receive voicemails, faxes, and calls from anywhere.

Basically, Grasshopper is a great alternative for Google Voice due to its easy to use system and its ability to create 800 numbers that offer that big brand feel for smaller businesses and firms. Try Grasshopper out if you need a toll-free number and 24/7 support for your phone issues and inquires.

Phone.com

Phone.com is a cloud-based phone company that offers innovative communication solutions for entrepreneurs and small businesses. It’s iPhone, and Android app helps businesses use and manage multiple phones and separate their professional and personal profiles on the phone.

Here are some benefits when using Phone.com’s service

  • Unlimited extensions and voicemail
  • 24/7 Customer Support
  • Local numbers and toll-free numbers included
  • Greetings, menus, and hold music to create a business presence
  • Call forwarding with advanced customizations and rules

It’s a highly adaptable phone service that’s used by popular companies such as ESPN.com, MouseFlow, SnapEngage, and others. When using Phone.com, you have a hybrid of a system and a phone system wrapped in one.

RingCentral

RingCentral is a publicly traded business providing collaboration solutions and cloud-based communications for small businesses. It’s a subscription based service that allows users to have enterprise-grade voice mail, fax, text, phone calls, and schedule conferences and meetings,

With RingCentral, users have the following privileges:

  • Receive calls at certain hours
  • Uses Internet VoIP to reduce costs
  • Create department extensions and make a toll-free number
  • Unlimited routing calls to your employees and yourself.

The only downside is that RingCentral costs around $20 a month. While this is a small fee, some users would rather opt for Google Voice’s free services. Use RingCentral when you need a dedicated phone server and a reliable number to use for your advertising campaigns.

In closing

Google Voice is one of the most flexible phone services that’s available. Any serious business needs to automate as much as they can without sacrificing quality. It’s the only way to scale beyond basic limitations and develop overtime.

Handling phone calls is one of the most basic problems that can be handled with ease. Google Voice makes the entire process one that is as easy as clicking a button. Try Google Voice if you’re ready to increase your company’s communication efficacy and help your business grow whilst not sacrificing customer service.

However, be aware of the situations you might find yourself in just trying to save $100 bucks a year. The lack of toll free numbers, and the fact that you don’t have ability to add voip phones later on, puts you in a precarious position as a business owner. Sure, if you’re in startup mode and money is tight, I can see wanting to skimp and use a free business phone service until you get on your feet. But putting everything you have into building a business using a free phone number is like building a house on sand… all just to save a few bucks a year.

For $10/mo you can get a solid virtual number that you actually own, can add a custom 800 number at any time, and can even get phone adapters or office desk phones with these providers here for very little money. This is the company we use most for ourselves and our clients.

Providers I generally avoid now are:

Sources:

  1. https://www.google.com/googlevoice/about.html
  2. https://trends.builtwith.com/widgets/Google-Voice
  3. https://lifehacker.com/5571978/top-10-clever-google-voice-tricks
  4. https://www.commstrader.com/news/blog/google-voice-review/
  5. https://talkroute.com/google-voice-alternative-focusing-small-business-talkroute/
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