The time has arrived, Part 3 of PaySimple’s 5-part series on why small businesses benefit from using Google Apps.
My first post focused on using Gmail as your email provider. The second post was all about how Google Drive makes cloud-storage and document management a breeze. This week’s post? Google Voice.
I know some of you app-experts and implementation folks must be thinking, “Google Voice isn’t part of Google Apps!” I know, I know, but honestly, does it really matter? Google Voice is likely a soon-to-be-adopted member of the Google Apps family.
Google Voice is pretty much the coolest feature offered by Google, well, except for Street View. With a few quick clicks you can acquire a unique phone number for your small business, for free! That’s correct, it’s 100% free. No need to worry about putting your personal cellphone number on your business website and dealing with telemarketers calling your personal line (and believe me, they can find a contact number even if it’s buried 3 pages deep).
For small businesses, having a physical landline is pretty expensive; with costs and fees easily exceeding a few hundred dollars over the course of a year. As a small business owner, that’s a cost that you don’t want to incur unless absolutely necessary. If your small business is just a one-person operation (like many are), there’s really no need to have more than one dedicated telephone number.
Let’s go over the benefits of having a Google Voice number:
1. You can have a “local” phone number for your business
-My personal phone number is a Minneapolis phone number (612 area code), but my business is located in Denver (a 303 area code). I didn’t want to publish my 612 phone number as my business number since locals will think I’m an out-of-town business.
2. You can record phone calls & store them indefinitely
-If you’re accepting a payment over the phone and entering it into an online payment gateway, having a recorded phone conversation is a great thing to have if a chargeback on the transaction arises.
3. You can keep your business and personal contacts separate
– Everyone knows how fast your contact list fills up with family, friends, coworkers etc. Just imagine adding every single business contact and client you’ve had since you started. Your address book would overflow. With Google Voice, you can keep your business contacts separate from your personal contacts, and seriously clean up your address book.
4. Voicemails are automatically transcribed and emailed to you
– Have you ever been in a meeting and had to silence a call to your business line? Using Google Voice, as soon as someone leaves you a voicemail, the “google robots” transcribe the voicemail and email/text it to you. No need to step out of the meeting to listen to the voicemail, you’ll be able to read it right on your phone.
5. You can use one phone with two separate numbers
– Having two separate phone numbers doesn’t mean having two separate phones. With Google Voice, you can either answer calls on your computer or set up call forwarding so that your current phone rings when you receive a call to your Google Voice number. It even comes up as your Google Voice number so you know to answer in your “business voice” and not your personal voice.
6. You can get a vanity number
-Though I’m not the biggest fan of vanity numbers (since touchtone phones barely exist anymore), if you want one, Google Voice gives you the ability to type in a word that you would like to have spelled out in your phone number and it will search your chosen area code for that number and word combination.
I do have to share one downfall of Google Voice, which is you can only have one Google Voice number forward to one specific cellphone number. Meaning, if you own two businesses, only one of your Google Voice numbers can get forwarded to your personal cell phone.