Everything You Need to Know About Using Google Voice for Your Small Business
Having a Google Voice phone number instead of a traditional landline or cell phone number can save your business money while boosting your income. There are several benefits to using a Google Voice number as your business number that just aren’t available with a traditional landline or cell phone number.
In order to use Google Voice, you will need a Gmail account, which can be a free Gmail account or a paid GSuite account. GSuite does offer features (like additional cloud storage), which may be useful to you a small business owner, but having a paid GSuite account isn’t required.
Google Voice Features
Google Voice offers several great features that most business phone systems and landlines lack. Some of the most popular features among small business owners are:
Unlimited Free Calls and Texts Over WiFi
While making phone calls to the United States and Canada isn’t always free, if you have really consistent WiFi at your home and the office, you can take advantage of Google Voice’s offer of unlimited free calls and texts over WiFi.
If you make outgoing calls or receive incoming calls using the Google Hangouts app on your personal cell phone number, you’ll be using your phone’s data allowance. While Google Voice doesn’t use much data (roughly 0.2MB of data per call minute), it technically uses your data allowance and isn’t free.
Text messages work the same way: free over WiFi but uses your data allowance when not on WiFi.
Google Voicemail Transcription
Google Voice very handily automatically transcribes all your voicemails. This means if you’re in the middle of a meeting or any other work, you can just skim a voicemail transcription in order to tell how urgent the call was.
Voicemail transcription is especially handy when you need to extract a piece of information (like a phone number or a specific question) from a very long voicemail. There is nothing quite like saving yourself 5 minutes of listening to a long voicemail again just to get one small piece of information.
While the voicemail transcription sometimes struggles with nuanced accents or fast talkers, overall Google Voice does a pretty good job.
Spam Call Blocking
Google knows all, including which calls are spam, and as a result, Google Voice does a fantastic job of blocking spam calls. You can choose whether or not to enable this feature under Security in Settings by activating or deactivating the spam filter.
You can also mark individual phone numbers as spam or simply block them from being able to call your business number. This feature is very handy given the rise of robocalls lately. You can adjust your spam number settings at any point through the Spam section of the menu on voice.google.com.
Do Not Disturb Mode
Just like on your personal cell phone, you can enable Do Not Disturb mode on Google Voice and ensure all calls are sent directly to voicemail. This is great for whenever you’re out of the office and not available to answer a call. You can switch this on just when you’re truly unable to be disturbed, like at a movie theater or whenever you leave work, in order to ensure you have a solid boundary between work and personal time.
As a small business owner, it’s easy to get caught up in feeling like you need to answer every single call to your business number. However, if you had a traditional landline phone service, you wouldn’t stay at the office all night answering calls and you should keep that boundary in place despite having your business number on your personal cell phone.
Integrates with Hangouts Meet and Google Calendar
With Google Voice, you have the option to easily integrate your Google Calendar and Hangouts Meet (Google’s video call software). Being able to pull information between these services will make your workflow feel smoother and more effortless.
How to Set Up Your Google Voice Phone Number
While you can set up a Google Voice phone number on your mobile phone, it’s easier to do on your computer.
- Open voice.google.com
- Sign into your Google account or set up a new Google account
- Search by area code or city for a number you like; Google Voice doesn’t offer 1-800 or other toll-free numbers
If you already have a business phone number, you can port it into Google Voice at this point. Your current service provider may charge you money to do this and Google will charge $20. The porting process usually completes within 24 hours
- Choose Select next to the number you like and follow the instructions
Once your Google Voice phone number is set up, you’ll be able to access it on your desktop or on your tablet or mobile devices. You can download the iOS and Android versions of the Google Hangouts app onto your smartphone or tablet by clicking the links above. Then just log into your account through the app to get your mobile phone to ring when someone calls your Google Voice number.
What Google Voice Can do for Your Small Business
Depending on the features you need from Google Voice, it may not be a completely free service. It will, however, almost always be much cheaper and more flexible than a traditional phone line or cell phone line. With plans ranging from $0 + calls or $10 to $30 per user per month, Google Voice can save your small business a lot of money while being more flexible and making it easier to earn money.
For Nashville-based Boudoir by Brittnie Price using a voip service like Google Voice is an easy way to save money and to maintain the safety and privacy of their customers. As Brittnie Price clarified “We use Google Voice for our business because it’s convenient; we don’t have to undergo a total cell phone plan and number change, which is attractive to me as a working woman who likes to maintain an appropriate work/life balance.” She continued “Needless to say, being able to consolidate our client communications process to one cell phone line, while keeping our personal numbers inaccessible to any questionable company, has saved us money in both landline installation, and additional phone bills. I absolutely LOVE my Google Voice number.”
Quinne Meyers, writer, illustrator and owner of she and reverie, a NYC-based loungewear company, loves having a Google Voice number as her business phone number. She explains “I love that Google Voice is connected to the rest of my Google account, so everything is saved and easy to search for. And it’s free, so it’s an all-over win. I think the professionalism of having a Google Voice number for my business has likely helped me get wholesale clients, so I do think it’s helped me earn more money.”