Great communication is one of the fundamental features of any modern business, which is why all companies naturally want to incorporate the best tech features to achieve the smoothest possible operations on a 24/7 basis. Given that Google is a global tech giant that influences virtually every aspect of your digital communications, Google Voice instantly stands out as one of the leading candidates. As with any software or business investment, though, it’s imperative to weigh up the positive and negative features in order to make a calculated decision for the good of your business, government or schools system.
When it comes to your VoIP phone business system, you have many choices these days. One of the more recent additions some small businesses are turning to is Google Voice for business. While medium and larger sized organizations tend to secure dedicated VoIP services, entrepreneurs and those on shoestring budgets find the lure of free (or lowest cost per month) services to be especially enticing. But Google Voice (which now offers VoIP as well) does offer some features that can make it a decent option for those just starting out. However, you need to keep several things in mind before making the decision to use it for your business. Here’s all you need to know.
What does Google Voice do?
Google Voice is a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) service that launched in 2009 and is available to all Google account holders (personal and business). It provides users with a free phone number, which can then be used to collect calls, text messages, and other forms of telephony communication.
The service does not replace your smartphone or landline device but allows several devices to use the same telephone number. This allows you to provide all contacts with the same number before connecting the number to all of your devices – as a business, this could mean associating the Google Voice number to the devices of several employees.
Devices connected will still receive calls to their personal numbers. So, in many ways, it simply adds an additional contact number to their personal devices.
Google Voice at a glance
First impressions count for a lot in modern business, and the initial thoughts regarding the basic features of any given software are usually fairly accurate. During the first interactions (and even before you download the software) with Google Voice, the following points should be noted.
Perhaps the most obvious selling point for the Google Voice application is that the number you assign can follow you for life. If you’re just starting a home-based business that will eventually transition to a commercial premises, for example, this can be particularly useful. It’ll save the time, money, and hassle of informing your contact list of changed details.
Local area codes
Google Voice allows users to choose a number that is connected to your geographic location. If yours is a small home-based business with a virtual office address, this is a great way to connect the number to the more prestigious location. The only issue you ay encounter revolves around finding a snappy number such as one ending in 000.
If you already have a number that you love (or have used in business or a long time), the thought of losing it won’t appeal. Google Voice allows you to transfer your old number to the VoIP platform, although a small fee is involved. Nonetheless, this allows you to continue your business activities without needing to inform clients or associates of any change.
Whether the number is to be used on one device or across several, the Google Voice App makes it very easy to stay on top of the situation. None of your employees will require special training, which allows the team to enjoy the benefits of using the Google Voice App with minimal hassle or adaptation.
It’s almost free (Free plan and pald plans from $10 to $30 / month)
Opting for the free option isn’t always the best solution for your business, but the free products that actually work can make a significant impact to your bottom line. Whether the savings are used to enhance other aspects of your communication features or invested in other aspect of the venture, it can help speed up your progress. Everyone loves a freebie. Google’s Pricing plan is simple; Starter $10/month to the Premier at $30/month.
When looking at the prospect of incorporating any tech feature, trust is one of the most important features by far. Google is arguably the most reputable company in any computer or digital tech industry. Moreover, the Google Voice product has been on the market for a full decade, which has given the technicians ample time to fix bugs.
Voicemail to text
It’s often easier to read a text that go through a voicemail. Like comprehensive VoIP providers, Google Voice allows you to take advantage of this technology. Furthermore, you can send SMS messages without encountering additional overheads. This feature is useful from a time perspective and also records key messages.
Conference calls are a big deal in the modern world of business communication, and the Google Voice App enables you to add three additional users to the conversation. While it doesn’t match the conference call features of more advanced systems, it can still become very useful for small groups and important meetings for 3-4 people.
Handling spam calls and messages can eat into your time with very serious consequences. The Google Voice platform can filter all communications to automatically place spam messages into a spam folder. These can still be accessed manually if you decide that this is the way to go. Or you can just leave them in the trash,
All products under the Google umbrella collect various pieces of data in a bid to produce a better user experience. However, this does mean that confidential communication information such as call logs and call history will be stored on the Google servers. This does cause potential privacy concerns as you will be at the mercy of hackers.
Data Ownership is Not Your Own
Caller ID reliability
Given that your device will continue to handle both personal and business calls, the door is always open to potential confusion as to whether the call being received is for business or leisure. Meanwhile, you’ll have to use the App for outgoing calls to come from the Google number. Forgetting to do this will disclose your personal number and may look less professional.
While it’s not an issue restricted to Google Voice, the fact that it’s a VoIP means that you’re constantly relying on a smooth connection for calls to run smoothly. As well as potential problems with transmitting data, it can eat up a lot of data. If you’re not careful, it can end up costing you a lot of money.
Google Voice business convenience factors
After thinking about the basic features of the application, you should consider how convenient the Google Voice platform can be. After all, time is money while you also want to avoid any software that causes stress.
Lack of Quality of Service
One factor to consider with VoIP is a function called QoS or Quality of Service. Having a dedicated VoIP service provider instead of using Google’s VoIP may help you avoid several potential pitfalls. You see, your internet ability is limited by your overall bandwidth. When your bandwidth gets busy, or clogged, you may notice problems with various services. You might have videos that won’t load or freeze up, or the speed of your web might be at a snail’s pace.
The same thing can happen with your work internet and your online business phone system. It means dropped calls, lots of delay, and poor timing. However, QoS will regulate the overall traffic and allow your phone system to have the right of way during busy times. This ensures that your customers calling be taken care of first and also ensures the call quality will be high. You want to be sure to select a provider that combines quality Internet service and has robust QoS to prioritize your calls over all the other activities on your bandwidth. Google Voice by itself is limited in this capability.
Missing Advanced Features
We mentioned a few of the features Google Voice offers like voicemail forwarding and call blocking, but advanced features are limited. For instance, want a toll-free number for your business? You’re not going to get that with Google Voice. There are certain PBX system features that businesses have relied on for decades for top-notch communications. Hold music, boss-secretary lines, call transfer, intercom, custom greetings and menus, call monitoring, and directories are just a few of the added benefits of using a dedicated system. If your business needs to integrate its voice service with other platforms like Salesforce, you’ll have trouble doing this, if at all, with Google Voice.
While you can get your local number through Google Voice for free, it should be noted that you cannot get toll numbers or vanity numbers as they simply are not supported by the platform. This isn’t a major issue for most small businesses, but bigger companies may find that it causes a few problems.
Another limitation revolves around the use of extension numbers. Google Voice doesn’t really promote these. While you can set up different numbers for different Google users within the business, their numbers are unlikely to follow that consistent flow that you’d ideally gain from your service.
Google Voice does produce very good standard definition audio quality. However, the lack of top quality HD audio, instead relying on the WiFi connection is a slight issue depending on your location as well as the device that the other user is on. It won’t happen often, but needing to rearrange the call on occasion can be very damaging.
Google Voice business development factors
Finally, development factors need to be factored into the decision-making processes before investing in Google Voice (or not). Here’s what you need to consider.
Inadequate for Unified Communications
Unified Communications allows for real-time collaboration, complete systems integration, communications platforms as a Service (CPaaS), and the ultimate in flexibility and ease of use, all in one platform. Unified Communications means you can make a call directly to your prospect from your CRM, patch in other callers to make a conference call, share your computer screen to show processes, and send a recording of the entire engagement once it’s done. This is typically provided with the flexibility of a desktop client/softphone and can bee fully-integrated with a desktop phone or mobile device. You won’t find the same capability with Google Voice as you would a full CPaaS provider.
No integrated widgets
While Google Voice is a great platform for what it is, you will struggle to integrate third-party Apps such as social media feeds. If you wish to incorporate those additional facilities, you’ll need to download (and pay for) additional services. This can be costly, complicated, and confusing all at once.
No call menus
Call menus can be a key feature for VoIP servers, covering custom voice greetings and regularly updated business information. Google Voice isn’t designed specifically with businesses in mind, and subsequently lacks a structured call menu and call flows for your clients. It can limit your possibilities.
Managing and organising contacts in an efficient manner is one of the most important tasks facing any business. Sadly, Google Voice simply stores all of your contacts rather than separate them into groups. Consequently, then, you can be left with a situation in which personal and business contacts are combined on your device.
Lack of Support
You don’t get crucial support services with Google Voice. If anything should malfunction, you’re on your own as far as getting it fixed. When you agree to use Google Voice, you agree to all of the updates that may come down the road. Any one of these updates can cause a snafu to your current setup.