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Google Voice For Business - A Comprehensive Product ReviewMay 3, 2022
Google launched its telephony service back in 2009. It’s a simple service to provide individuals and businesses with a phone number in their country as well as basic telephony features.
It started off with the tremendous ambition to compete with the main player, Skype, as they said they aim to steal some of Skype’s 400 million online callers. It now has become one of the most popular VoIP services in the United States. In 2013 a Wired blog post explained that they had some 2,3 million users across the US.
We’ll see in this article what Google Voice has to offer for individuals and businesses and what the main differences are between the 2 offers. We’ll go through the top benefits of using Google Voice as well as the main limitations it has when it comes to professional use.
It’s interesting to know how Google Voice was born and how it became what it is today if you’re looking to use it for yourself or your business. It tells a lot about the product!
Google Voice is based on a product called GrandCentral first launched in 2006 and acquired by Google in 2006 for $50+ million in 2007. They rebranded the service as Google Voice.
GrandCentral And The Beginning Of Google Voice
After the acquisition, on March 11, 2009, Google revealed the rebranded Google Voice with new features such as voicemail transcriptions and SMS management. Google Voice has also kept some of the original features of GrandCentral.
On June 25, 2009, Google made the service available across the USA making it an invite-only subscription. The invite-only access was canceled in June 2010.
In July, they introduced their first payment plan by offering the users the option to change their service phone number to a Google Voice number. The service was priced at $10.
Major Timelines In Google Voices’ Journey
November 2009: Google acquired Gizmo5 and used the technology to further develop Google Voice.
August 2010: Google Voice features were made available on Gmail.
July 27, 2009: Apple’s App Store rejected the Google Voice app stating that it replaced certain iPhone features and functions.
November 2010: App Store listed Google Voice on iPhone app.
September 2014: Some Google Voice features were integrated into Google Hangouts which were removed in early 2021.
January 2017: Rolled out a significant update.
July 2018: Announced the launch of a beta version for business customers
April 2019: Made Google Voice available for the existing Workspace customers in certain countries.
What Is Google Voice And How Does It Work?
Boiled down to essentials, Google Voice is an internet phone number that lets you manage all your phone services efficiently. Confused? Don’t be. Here is how it works.
Let us say you have a landline, mobile and office phone. People might call you on your landline, personal phone or business number. You might find it difficult to bounce between these numbers. And this is where Google Voice comes to your rescue.
How Does It Work?
So, how exactly can you combine all these numbers with just one internet phone number?
When you register on Google Voice, it assigns you a number. You can forward the incoming calls to your landline, personal and business number to the Google Voice number.
The call forwarding service is free and Google makes it happen by linking Plain Old Telephone Service or PSTN and the mobile network. This helps Google Voice carry calls from one device to another.
Is Google Voice A Landline?
No, Google Voice is not a landline. It is a cloud-based VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phone number. The technology allows Google to make use of the internet connection to place calls.
When you make calls using your Google Voice number, it converts your calls into digital signals that are sent through the internet. Using the service, you can easily make calls from your computer or phone.
How To Use Google Voice?
So, how to take advantage of Google Voice and use it as your business number? How to sign up and purchase a Google Voice number? What are the features you should pay attention to? From signing up to the price, here is everything you should know about Google Voice:
You need to have a Google Workspace account to sign up and purchase a plan. If you don’t have an account, create one and then follow the below steps:
Step 4: Select a plan and sign in using your account. Accept the terms and conditions.
Step 5: Choose a number based on the location you have selected.
Step 6: Click on verify. You will be asked to enter your existing number and a text will be sent to the number with the verification code.
Step 7: Enter thecode in the given space and you are all set.
How To Make Calls From Your Google Voice Number
To make calls from your Google Voice app, follow the below steps:
Step 1: Open the app and scroll down to the bottom and tap calls.
Step 2: Select the number you want to call from the list. Use the search bar on top to find the number. If the number is not saved in your contact list, just tap dial and type in the number.
Step 3: Now, press the call button. Your call will be placed.
What Is The Difference Between Google Voice Personal And Business?
Google Voice for personal and professional use comes with significantly different features. Let’s find out more.
Google Voice Personal – An Overview
Google Voice personal is free to use and offers call forwarding as well as voicemail transcription. However, you may have to pay if you wish to add features such as international calling, customer support, etc.
Find below the major features of Google Voice for personal use:
Call Forwarding: This is one of the major features available for Google Voice users.You can forward incoming calls to your personal or office phone that is linked to the app.
You can also forward incoming calls to your linked phone number to your Google Voice number. The app can be used on your Android or iOS devices.
Freelancers and small businesses that practically operate from their phones can take advantage of Google Voices for personal use.
For instance, you can forward all your business calls to the Google Voice number without having to buy a second phone or sim. All you need to do is download the app on your phone.
Voicemail Transcripts: The app offers voice transcripts of the voice messages. The app will transcribe the messages and email them to you.
The voice mail transcription feature is also useful as you don’t have to listen to every voice message. You just need to skim through the transcript at your convenience.
Google Voice Business - An Overview
In addition to call forwarding and voicemail transcription, Google Voice for business offers the below features:
Free Calling To The USA And Canada From Other Countries: If your business is in the USA or Canada, your clients from other countries can reach you without paying any additional charges.
You can expect more callbacks from prospective clients as well as existing clients from these countries.
Auto Attendant: The auto attendant, an automated answering service, helps you redirect incoming calls to the right department or resource without having any human intervention.
When an incoming call comes, using a pre-set interface, the app can easily direct the caller to the right department. For example, if the caller wants to talk to someone in customer support, they can press 2 or 5 for sales, etc.
Custom Greetings: Google Voice also comes with custom greetings. You can add a greeting that makes the caller feel your brand’s friendly and warm personality. In fact, the app allows you to set custom messages for employees, customers, etc.
Redirect Calls To Voice Message: If you are not in a position to pick up a call, you can redirect the call to your voice inbox and read the transcript of the message later.
Consider this scenario, you are getting a call when attending a meeting. You are not in a position to pick the call. All you need to do is press 2 and the call will be sent to your voice inbox.
Call Reporting: This is a great way to measuretheperformance of your call ads. If you are running a call campaign using Google Voice number, the feature becomes useful. When you turn on call reporting this is what happens:
A customer will click on the ad to call. You will be charged for the click – the normal CPC charge.
The call will be routed through a forwarding number assigned by Google and this helps you gather call data.
Caller id works on these calls (except for some calls from Japan and India) helping you track the caller too.
You can analyze the call data and use the insights to improve your campaigns.
How Much Does Google Voice Business Cost?
Google Voice has 3 plans charged per user/ per month:
Standard - US$20
Premier - US$30
The starter plan, priced at $10, can be used to call only up to 10 domestic locations and only allows up to 10 participants. International calls will incur additional charges.
This plan allows you to call unlimited domestic locations and have unlimited users. However, international calls are charged additionally in this plan too.
This is the plan you need to go for if you need to take advantage of all the Google Voice features. Calls to international locations are free and you can add as many participants as you want to this plan. You can also make use of the advanced reporting feature for call ads when you purchase this plan.
What Are The Disadvantages Of Google Voice?
As a business person, can Google Voice be the answer to your phone communication problems? Before taking a decision let us take a look at some of the disadvantages of Google Voice:
Accuracy Of Voicemail Transcriptions
>Many users have complained that voice mail transcripts are inaccurate and not easy to understand. And the app couldn’t transcribe certain messages. Users have even complained that their names were misspelled in the transcript.
Google Voice changes the platform's interface pretty often making it difficult for users to navigate through the app and the website.
H3 ) Limited International Calls
International calls are not part of their Starter and Standard plans and it is difficult to purchase the calls when you need them.
>The price ranges between $10 and $30. However, the basic plan doesn’t allow you to do international calling. You will be charged extra for such calls. And the Starter plan only allows up to 10 participants.
>Many users have felt that the service is pricey as they need to pay extra for international calling and such additional services.
Only Available For Workspace Users In Certain Countries
>The Google Voice services are only available for users with a Workspace account and Google Voice for the Workspace account is available only to the users in the below countries:
The U.S. (Not all territories)
No Toll-Free Numbers
Toll-free numbers are one of the major features of VoIP phones. They help businesses get call backs as customers don’t have to pay for the calls. However, Google Voice doesn’t offer toll-free numbers.
Number porting helps when you change your VoIP service provider. Google doesn’t offer number porting services which means if you have to switch the provider, you will have to get another number inconveniencing the customers.
Lack Of External Integration Feature
Google Voice can’t be integrated into your existing CRMs or ERPs. You need to switch to Google’s productivity and CRMs, once you are onboard.
In addition to the above-mentioned disadvantages, Google Voice doesn’t allow team collaboration, auto replies or snippets of texts. The app also doesn’t let you run SMS marketing campaigns.
So, when choosing Google Voice, you are missing out on many useful features while creating a dent in your pocket.
Why Is Quicktalk Google Voice’s Best Alternative For Businesses?
So, if you have to look for an alternative to Google Voice, who should you choose? There are many service providers you can choose from such as Quicktalk. Let us see what makes Quicktalk a favorite among aspiring business owners.
Find The Best Phone Number For Your Business
Unlike Google Voice, Quicktalk offers you the option to find the best phone number for your business. Based on the area code of your preference, you can pick a phone number that your customers can easily remember.
Make Most Of Your Business With Toll-Free numbers
Quicktalk believes that toll-free numbers can be a great addition to a business’s sales strategy. When you choose you can opt for toll-free numbers.
However, Google Voice doesn’t offer toll-free VoIP numbers. If the phone number is charged, you can expect fewer callbacks, especially when you run call campaigns.
Get Multiple Phone Numbers In One Account
With Quicktalk, you can get multiple phone numbers from an account. However, Google Voice only offers one phone number per account.
If you have employees and departments that need access to a phone, you need to have more phone lines.
For instance, you might need a line for your sales team and another for your development team, etc. Having more phone numbers might be helpful in such scenarios and Quicktalk can help you with that.
Dedicated Customer Support
If you choose Google Voice, you may not get a dedicated customer support professional to call when you face a problem. You may have to call the general support number and wait for your turn or write emails to someone with whom you don’t have a relationship.
Quicktalk, on the other hand, offers you dedicated customer support. If you face any problem, your dedicated support person will be just a call away. As they know your business, they will be able to help you solve the issue quickly.
Integration With Other Software Solutions
Quicktalk can be easily integrated into your existing CRM and email. Google Voice doesn’t offer you this option. When you choose as your phone solution partner, you don’t have to change your existing CRM and incur additional costs and create operational hiccups.
Compared to Google Voice, Quicktalk is cost-efficient. Their ultimate plan is priced at $19 per month while for Google Voice you need to pay $30 per month.
Unlike Google Voice, Quicktalk is loaded with features like number porting, external software integrations, call forwarding, dedicated customer support and more.
When choosing a phone communication partner for your ever-evolving business, be sure to go for a company that offers dedicated support, external integrations and toll-free numbers. You also need to make sure that the services are offered at a fair price.
Now that you have all the information you need, go ahead and partner with a service provider that helps you push the limits and soar to greater heights.
Paul is a tech and business phone system enthusiast always open to discuss ideas. If you’re interested in collaborating on content projects or getting a product listed on our blog, don’t hesitate and reach out to us: [email protected]
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