Can your business afford to miss a call?
Smaller businesses in particular do not always have the personnel to make sure the phones are covered. “Covered” does not mean that someone is checking the voicemail messages. “Covered” means “Ring!” “Hello, XYZ Company! This is Lori. How may I help you?” If prospects and customers call your company’s main phone number during business hours and get voicemail, how many do you think will hang up?
Probably a lot of people will hang up rather than leave a message. It makes your company look too small and amateurish if you can’t even answer the phones. Calling back missed calls using Caller ID gets awkward. You could try hiring an answering service, but that gets expensive and is never as good as getting a qualified employee or owner with a stake in the business. Don’t let opportunities slip past! Google Voice may offer a free or inexpensive way to distribute responsibility for answering your company’s phone.
If your company isn’t situated in one location with a centralized phone system, calls can easily slip into the risky black hole of the voicemail system. A modern, small company with personnel scattered and moving around often has too many phones, or too few. They might have an office phone, and several people need to be on hand to take calls during business hours. For the times when you’re out of the office, you may have your office phone forwarded to your mobile. Same thing when you’re at home — forward the office phone. And at those times when none of your phones get answered, when neither you nor one of your employees can pick up for some reason? Then calls go to voicemail — which may be on your office line, your mobile, or your home line, or who-knows-where.
Google Voice, provided by Google, that may help you manage the complexity. Google Voice has two features of interest here:
- One phone number for all your phones. Calls to that number will ring any or all of your phones. So wherever you are you can take the call.
- Integrated voicemail. If a call is not answered, it will go to your Google Voice voicemail box and get transcribed into an email or text message.
You can have Google Voice assign you a new phone number or you can have it use one of yours. Either way, all of your phones will be reachable from a single number.
You can control which of your phones ring based of who is calling. And if you are already on a Google Voice call when another comes in, you will hear the Call Waiting signal.
Google Voice’s voicemail can, of course, be accessed for any phone, but it has another feature not often found on other services. Google Voice will attempt to transcribe your caller’s message to text and send it to you as an email or a text message. Useful for those times when you don’t have pencil and paper handy. It’s also a convenient way to keep track of your voicemails and search on them.
Google Voice is generally free (at least for the present), though some features have a fee.
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