Have you heard about Google Voice? With the technology getting trickier and costlier, a lot of businesses are looking for cheap or free tools to save as much investment.
One of the VoIP tools that is gaining rounds around among businesses is Google Voice. You can use it for personal and business.
Is it good enough for your business use? Let’s check it out:
What is Google Voice?
Google Voice is the search engine’s VoIP telecommunications application. It provides a number of features including but not limited to messaging, call-forwarding, voicemail, and voicemail transcription.
It is a secondary phone service that offers a cheap alternative to using your regular mobile phone number. The web-based platform is controlled by a service that is almost the same as Gmail. In order to use it, the first step is to create a Google account. Right after they signed up, they can proceed to https://voice.google.com/about.
There, you can choose your own phone number which will be your Voice account. The phone numbers have different area codes.
When your Voice number is dialed, it will ring on any device where your Google Voice account is signed in, whether it is a computer, smartphone, or tablet. In order to receive calls, you must remain logged in on a browser.
Google Voice can also be used for outgoing calls. Calls to the United States and Canada are free of charge while calls to other countries vary depending on the rates. Since getting signed in all the time on your browser could be hard, most users forward calls to their other numbers.
Google Voice for Business
The call forwarding feature is how businesses use Google Voice. Business owners can include their Google Voice number on their calling cards and then forward all calls to their landline or smartphone numbers.
The Benefits of Using Google Voice for Business:
When it all started, Google Voice provides a free virtual number to clients that they can use as a personal or business contact number. It works like other VoIP solutions because all your calls are redirected to your mobile number. You have the option to use this number to any device.
It is an answering service
Answering calls is very important to any business, especially if they make or break your sales. Google Voice can be used as an answering service in these type of businesses like brokage, financial, insurance, and eCommerce.
Most business owners with this kind of business can use the service effectively to answer and return calls from and to their clients. It is so common these days to close a business deal after getting web leads. The moment a client calls about a product or service, there is a service that could quickly answer them or returned the call the soonest possible time.
It manages high call volumes
Small businesses with a rapidly growing customer base can encounter large volumes of calls per day. It can be daunting to answer and handle all the queries or issues, especially if you don’t have a lot of staff to do the task.
Sometimes, you have to answer 50 to 100 calls a day. It is time-consuming and energy draining since you have to devote your time and attention to address all the calls.
With Google Voice, you can set up the account to send transcripts of each voicemail message straight to the company’s email address. This way, you can answer their queries fast and easy through emails. You save time and effort and can focus more on other business tasks.
It uses different area code
When you sign up for Google Voice, you have the option to choose a new number with different area code. You don’t have to use the same local area code.
It’s a plus for some companies that will be moving to a different area. You can still use your business phone number with a new area code (the area code where you are moving in).
Hence, your present clients are still able to contact you while the new ones can reach you with local area code. This is a flexible feature that can be of advantage for your business.
It offers texting and Customer Relationship Management integration
Google Voice has text messaging features that lets you text and receive messages from any device (as long as you’re logged in to your account). Just like Gmail, your account saves all the texts on the site neatly and organized.
Another bonus is that texting using the app is free of charge. To avoid text charges, you can forward incoming messages from your mobile phone to your email.
Another feature of Google Voice is that the phone number can be integrated with a Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) software. For instance, it sends text messages automatically to clients who have reservations during the day to remind them while using the Google Voice phone number.
It can be used for instant messaging and video
Google Voice was integrated with Google Hangouts (Google’s instant messaging and video chat app). Since then Google Hangouts offers free voice calling in selected countries. There are restrictions to some countries where calling may cost additional charge depending on the call rate for that country.
It is perfect for call screening and privacy
One big advantage of using the Google Voice phone number is that you can literally hide your business phone number from your contacts. Since you can just use Google Voice phone number to contact you, your phone number remains confidential.
Keep in mind that all your calls can be redirected from your Google Voice number to your phone number. It provides extra privacy to your phone number since you can pick up calls on your own device without revealing your business phone number (only for incoming calls).
There’s no phone lock-in
You can choose what device to use with Google Voice. You can change phone number as you wish and Google Voice forwards all calls to your new number.
It is versatile
Google Voice has a feature wherein you can switch through the device while you are on call. For instance, you can change your device from your cellphone to your landline number while you are currently talking to someone.
You just have to press the asterisk (*) and the other phone will ring. Once you pick it up, you can conveniently continue talking to that person on another device.
You can block spammers and unwanted callers
Another great feature of the app is that it lets you block anyone like spammers and those you don’t want to entertain. You can simply block them or let the voicemail handle them.
It offers transcription
As already mentioned earlier, one thing great about this app is that Google offers a text transcription each time you receive a call on voicemail. You can access it through the web interface or check it on your email. It’s another way of checking your voicemail without listening to the call.
It offers a customized message
One impressive feature of the app is that you can create a customized message for a specific person or group. For instance, if you are expecting someone to call you, you can prepare a customized message particularly for them.
It is very useful when you have a group. You can alert them of special announcements using the personalized message.
You can set its ringing hours
One amazing attribute of the app is that it lets you set your Google Voice to ring only on particular hours. By doing so, you can schedule calls or get not disturbed by unexpected calls.
It can record conversations
Maybe you are talking about a very special topic that you need to remember or listen after the call? Google Voice offers a recording of conversations simply by pressing “4” during the call.
Once you pressed the number, Google will say, “ This conversation is now being recorded." You can access it later on your desktop or download it. However, don’t forget that it only records incoming calls.
You can send yourself a voicemail
This is a unique feature that allows you to call your own voice number and leave a voicemail. You just need a magic word to say at the start of every message to “tag” the conversation. For instance, you can say “Lamborghini” before you begin.
The Downside of Using Google Voice for Business:
Google Voice is VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) so sometimes you pick up the call on your landline from the voice number. This means that the call is transferred via the wire as part of the process.
Usually, the quality of the calls is perfect. However, there were times when clients encounter poor quality calls. Some complained of scratchy connection or dropped calls.
Other VoIP systems allow users to receive or make high-quality (HD) calls. There are also settings where you can adjust the quality of calls.
There were also reports that said that certain Google Voice phone number isn’t working. You cannot call them or receive calls. There are also instances that your business phone number is ringing but your landline isn’t.
You need data or Wi-Fi connection all the time
Since the app only works via a connection, you need to buy data or connect to a hotspot all the time if you are expecting calls for your business. If you are using it as your only form of communication, you cannot make emergency calls if you are not connected to the internet.
It lacks updates
It has an outdated interface. It was updated in June 2017 and the latest was in April 2019. usually, when there are updates, the software is supposed to offer bug fixes and bring in new features.
However, the latest update on the app brought the opposite. Instead of delivering new features and fixes, the app affected certain functionalities.
The app malfunctioned. Instead of a better service, users reported software crashes. Other reported Bluetooth toggles and issues with speakerphones. All these bugs were fixed.
There are some users who reported that the app isn’t user-friendly. It also lacks new features that are already offered by other commercial VOIP services.
Google limits text messages
If your business use text messaging to communicate with your team and clients, you may find that the limited messaging feature of the app can be an issue sometimes. Google only allows up to 160 characters when you sent on a non-Google number.
Long messages are divided into small messages. There are possibilities that you’ll encounter missing some critical messages.
Its recording ability is limited
As mentioned, you can record conversations if it is incoming calls. Outgoing calls can’t be recorded. It is one issue that needs to be addressed.
It has no outbound business caller ID
If you make calls to your clients or business partners, it only shows your Google Voice number and not your name.
It doesn’t allow calls to emergency services
One big loophole of the app is its inability to placing or receiving emergency service calls. Moreover, if you are calling to a public-safety answering point (PSAP) using Google Voice without a Google Voice number, the recipient will see the word “unknown” or a generic phone number on the caller ID. In this case, they cannot call you back even if it is an emergency.
No business caller ID
Your Google Voice phone number is the only number that will show as your caller ID. And then if you use your mobile phone for outgoing calls, they will see your actual phone number.
You cannot set up the caller ID to only show your business name. Unlike other VoIP apps, you can quickly and easily update your business name. The majority of providers also offer a smartphone APP where you can call from your mobile phone and use your business caller ID.
No live support
Google Voice has no live support. It only offers a help page which offers limited solutions to issues. It can be a big disadvantage since it is expected that any service must have strong and immediate customer support to give clients. It can affect your business if you encounter problems, you cannot fix the issue since no one is there to help.
Google Voice is a great communication alternative aside from your business phone number. It serves as your local phone number and can ring up to six phones simultaneously. You can use it as your mobile phone, office phone, SIP phone, and more.
It offers great features for personal but not really great for business use. It is more concentrated on incoming calls so some of the features don’t work for the outgoing calls. Aside from that, there are bugs that need to be fixed like dropped calls, connection issues, and poor quality calls.
One big loophole is the inability to call emergency services like 911. It isn’t bad as a VoIP app but it needs room for improvement. If you are going to use for business, the app needs more updates to ensure that it is perfect for your business owner’s requirements.
Since it is free, it can be considered by businesses especially the small ones. You can still save money to avoid costly calls so take advantage of it.