Google Voice is an application that tries to merge voice messaging and phone numbers for an integrated, feature-rich experience. You can use your Google number online or combine it with your existing phone number. While Google Voice has many benefits, there are some downsides that you will have to work around for now, especially if you plan to integrate your existing numbers into Google Voice.
• One number for everything?
One issue that comes up is whether or not one number can be used for multiple purposes. You may be able to have your Google number ring many phones. But you cannot use that one number for multiple businesses yet. To experience the features of Google Voice, callers must contact your Google number. If the caller a new contact to your Google number, s/he will be sent to voicemail without being given the option to press the menu option or the extension number.
Google Voice works out for you if you are fine with general voicemail greetings or if you don’t mind setting up a secondary service which customers can call before being routed to your Google account. It also suits one-man teams such as freelancers, consultants, and coaches.
However, it won’t work for you if you need your callers to receive a general voice message that includes your name or your company name. If you want the one-number-for-everything solution, you will need to find ways to compensate for the shortcomings of Google Voice.
• Using Google Voice effectively
To maximize all the benefits of your Google number, you have to use it for all kinds of business communication. It must be the number that your callers use when they contact you. Otherwise, your Google Voice account will only be capable of routing voicemails from your “main” number. In cases like that, the message will first go to an online user interface before being automatically transcribed. Callers whose contact details are in your address books are routed so they can hear customized voice mail greetings.
• Other barriers to entry
In the future, Google will try to port all your virtual numbers numbers into your existing mobile number. This will eliminate some of the common reasons why users are reluctant to switch to Google Voice, such as:
a) Having to ask social and professional contacts to call you via your new Google number instead of your mobile phone or landline
b) Not knowing if an incoming call is coming from your Google Voice number or some other channel
c) Inconsistent quality of business VoIP calls — there are days when the call quality is bad
d) Having to use your computer just so your Google Voice number (not your normal landline or mobile phone number) shows up on another person’s caller ID
e) Dealing with phones that cannot call your Google Voice number, making normal outbound calling difficult
f) Integration deficiencies – sometimes the mobile phone rings, but the landline doesn’t
In the end, it will be you who will decide whether or not to use Google Voice. If you think the features that go with the service is a good match to your needs, and if you can live with its shortcomings then go for it.
Image source: opentut
Do you have any issues with Google voice? Do share your opinion in the comment section, we’ll be glad to hear from you.
Written by Monique Jones – Edited by Nizam Khan
* This is a guest post by Monique Jones.