22. February 2022 Blog

Google Voice for Business: How to use it?

illustration google voice for business MAIN

If there’s something your business needs, it’s a truly strong VoIP calling solution. An American Express study claims that 75% of customers consider phone calls the quickest way to get a response from companies. Choosing the right telephony system can therefore make a significant difference in your performance. There are a lot of solutions on the market, one of them being Google Voice.In this blog, we will introduce you to all Google Voice for Workspace fundamentals. From how it works and how to use it to whether it’s truly the best system you can choose. 

How to Use Google Voice For Business

Let’s kick off with a brief introduction. Google Voice is a VoIP phone service. You can use it to make and receive business calls or messages over the internet

This service was launched back in 2009, so it has a pretty rich history.

But let’s focus on how you can use Google Voice for your business. Since the solution is easy to use, it’s ideal for smaller companies. If you own one, it’s a solid way for you to handle high volumes of calls and add a business phone line to your personal one. It also doesn’t require carrier plans or special hardware.  

Further, Google Voice integrates with several useful platforms. There are several interaction options available, yet as you’ll see later, it does have its limitations.

Here are 6 points on what businesses often use Google Voice for:

#1 Handling a high volume of calls

#2 SMS texting and CRM

#3 Getting different area codes

#4 Separating privacy from business interactions

#5 Instant messaging and video calls

#6 Redirecting calls to other number

Now, let’s talk about these points in more depth.

Handling a High Volume of Calls 

No business can afford missing out on important calls. It results in a loss of customers, and losing customers means losing money. This is where VoIP services, including Google Voice, are an excellent help. 

If you are currently unavailable — on another call or out of office — a voicemail can easily be redirected to an email address. Google Voice then sends all information about missed calls, as well as email transcriptions of voicemails, to your corresponding team. This may save you hours of your valuable time.

Messaging

Businesses use messaging more often than meets the eye. Google Voice allows you to send and receive SMS to your account. You can do so from Google Voice page, but also directly from your smartphone or laptop apps. Those serve as front-end messaging. 

All the messages are then saved on the website and uploaded in a well-organized format to Gmail, which makes them easy to search for. 

Various Area Codes

During Google Voice sign up, you can select your new number, including a wide range of area codes. It doesn’t have to be one that corresponds with your region. You may pick any area you need for your business. For example 212 for New York City or 415 for San Francisco. 

Thanks to area codes, your current customers can call you directly on your cell phone or contact you on the same phone via Google Voice

Protect Your Privacy 

A big advantage of many VoIP systems is that they allow you to hide your personal phone number from your business contacts. Thanks to Google Voice number, you can have all calls automatically forwarded to your personal cell phone without losing privacy. 

You can easily avoid unwanted people getting access to your personal number, as well as regulate when you receive business calls. With Google Voice number, you can also choose the time frame in which calls get forwarded. The calls that come  in outside of this time frame, for example after working hours, are directed to voicemail

Instant Messaging and Video Calls

Due to Google Voice and Google Hangouts integration, Google Voice acquired instant messaging and video chat capabilities. These services are offered for free in several countries, yet with several restrictions. For example, calls to a certain number can incur a small fee, such as $0.01 per minute. 

Hangout users are able to make free video conference calls to other Hangouts users. Yet in order for the call to be free, it is restricted to a maximum of 10 participants. If you have a Google Apps for Work account, the limit rises to 15 people. 

Therefore, if you want a tool for a bigger audience, you may consider a more complex VoIP solution for video conferencing. One that is suitable for mid and larger businesses. For example, check out our CloudTalk Conference Call Software

Redirecting Calls to Other Numbers

Even if your team is currently small, there is of course a possibility that you will grow much larger. This may happen faster than you expect. Having an ability to distribute your incoming calls is something that may become very important to you down the line. 

Like many VoIP solutions, Google Voice allows you to redirect calls to several phone numbers. You can therefore share the same phone number on several platforms and let your team share the responsibility of answering phone calls with their own separate devices

Yet, there is one drawback. Setting this feature can be time consuming. It’s managed through the Google Workspace admin dashboard. Further, an IT admin has to set up linked numbers, as well as verify them with a 6 digit code. 

How Does Google Voice Work?

Understanding how your desired VoIP system works is crucial for making an informed decision. That’s why we will now take an in-depth look at how Google Voice works.

Basics

In order to use Google Voice, you’ll need a device with a stable internet connection, such as a smartphone, tablet, laptop or desk computer. It works through wi-fi and data plan, so you can connect during commuting. No hardware is necessary, though you may use headphones.

Besides the mentioned features, Google Voice for business can give you a new number, but also offers a number porting

Integrations

In comparison with other SaaS softwares, the Google Voice integration palette is not so rich. While CloudTalk integrates with almost 40 industry leading solutions (HubSpot, Salesforce, Zapier, and more), Google Voice pairs mostly with other Google services, like Calendar, Gmail, Drive or the above-mentioned Hangouts. It is also compatible with a Polycom personal computer-based desktop video conferencing hardware system.

Further, you can also use Smith software, which offers an option to have live chat or a virtual receptionist.

We should mention that Google Voice also offers a mobile application that can be synchronized across devices. Therefore, you and your team can access Google Voice from anywhere you might happen to be. The app is compatible with both iOS and Androidoperating systems. 

Google Voice: Personal vs. Business Usage

These two differ tremendously. Google Voice’s personal plan is completely free, yet you“get what you pay for”. It’s not a fit for a company that has more than 2 people, since the features are highly limited

Acquiring more than one number is a complicated process. Basically, all Google Voice for personal use gives you is a free phone number suitable to calltext and use voicemail. That’s it. 

In contrast to Google Voice for business, there are no productivityautomation or team collaboration features, such as call forwarding, voicemail transcripts to email or area code.

Plans and Pricing

Google Voice for Business offers three paid plans

Here is an overview:

Starter

Price: $10 per user/per month

This plan supports up to 10 users and up to 10 domestic locations. 

There are no international locations involved in the price. 

Supported features:

  • Free calling to US from any country
  • Free calling to Canada from US
  • Unlimited SMS in US
  • Google Fi compatibility
  • Voicemail transcription
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Google Calendar integration
  • Google Meet Integration
  • Mobile apps: Android & iOS
  • Web Application
  • Service Level Agreement (SLA)
  • Usage and activity reporting
  • Call forwarding

Standard

Price: $20 per user/per month

Standard plan involved an unlimited number of users, as well as unlimited domestic locations. 

There are no international locations involved in this plan. 

Supported features:

  • Free calling to US from any country
  • Free calling to Canada from US
  • Unlimited SMS in US
  • Google Fi compatibility
  • Voicemail transcription
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Google Calendar integration
  • Google Meet Integration
  • Mobile apps: Android & iOS
  • Web Application
  • Service Level Agreement (SLA)
  • Usage and activity reporting
  • Call forwarding

+

  • Multi-level auto attendant
  • Ring Groups
  • Desk phone support
  • eDiscovery for calls, voicemail, and SMS records

Premier

Price: $30 per user/per month

As the costliest plan, premier offers an unlimited number of users, domestic locations, as well as international locations. 

Supported features:

  • Free calling to US from any country
  • Free calling to Canada from US
  • Unlimited SMS in US
  • Google Fi compatibility
  • Voicemail transcription
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Google Calendar integration
  • Google Meet Integration
  • Mobile apps: Android & iOS
  • Web Application
  • Service Level Agreement (SLA)
  • Usage and activity reporting
  • Call forwarding
  • Multi-level auto attendant
  • Ring Groups
  • Desk phone support
  • eDiscovery for calls, voicemail, and SMS records

+

  • Advanced reporting (BigQuery)
  • Data regions (coming soon)

Technical Requirements

Google Voice for business is supported by 3 computer operating systems:

  • Chrome OS
  • MacOS
  • Microsoft Windows

It may be available on other platforms, but its functionality will be limited. 

Supported web browsers are:

  • Google Chrome
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Microsoft Edge
  • Safari

Availability by regions

Google Voice for Google Workspace is not available in every country. Yet, if you didn’t find yours, you can still contact your administrator for information about further possibilities.

Supported countries: 

  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • France
  • Germany
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Netherlands
  • Portugal
  • Spain
  • Sweden (available for Stockholm, Malmö, and Göteborg numbers)
  • Switzerland
  • U.K.
  • U.S. (excluding Alaska, Hawaii, the US territories of American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands)

Other Useful Information

Google Voice, of course, has it’s security features, though these are not the most advanced. An example would be that the text messages and attachments are always encrypted before being transferred to Google’s data center. 

Google Voice presents 24/7 customer service, yet the type of support you can get varies based on your subscription plan. You may also gather information in a community hub or knowledge base articles.

Last, a very important piece of information is that Google Voice doesn’t support emergency calls. You can’t use it to contact 911 (or corresponding emergency numbers based on your region).

10 Steps to Set up Google Voice

If you get a new Google Voice number for Google Workspace, the set-up requires quite a lot of time and energy. 

Here is how to do it:

 #1 Go to the Google Voice website on your computer and click “Get Started”. 

 #2 Sign in to your Google Workspace account. Without this account, you cannot use Google Voice for business extension. 

If you don’t yet have a Google Workspace account, create one. But keep in mind that the Google Workspace plans are paid. They start at $6 per user. This is an additional cost separate from your Google Voice plan. 

#3 After you’ve signed in, you need to click “Add or upgrade subscription”.

#4 In the left sidebar, click “Google Voice”. Choose from the mentioned Starter, Standard or Premier plans. 

#5 Now click “get started” – “Checkout” – “Place Order”.

#6 At this point, you choose a primary or secondary location. 

#7 Before using Google Voice for business, you need to assign licenses to each member of your team.

#8 Now we’ve gotten to the point when you need to assign area codes and phone numbers to your employees. They can choose to keep their own number or you can provide them with a new one. 

#9 Keep in mind that as we mentioned above, not every plan offers an option to assign a number outside of your home region. Only a Premium plan allows this.

In case you want to keep your old number, you need to port it yourself. Start a port order and fill out the details to start a request. 

#10 Your Google Voice account and number are now ready. You can set up additional features according to your plan. 

Afterwards, you may start using your new VoIP system. 

5 Most Significant Google Voice Limitations

By now you probably understand that Google Voice is a decent solution, usable for small teams in small businesses that do not require robust VoIP systems. Yet, it also has significant limitations. 

It does not necessarily have what is critical to run an established business, and here is why. 

#1 Unreliable Caller ID

Google Voice does have a Caller ID feature, yet it’s also one of the tools that most people reported as problematic. Why? Calls dialled from your phone touchpad use your personal ID. If you want to show your Google Voice number, you need to strictly do so through the application. 

Another issue may be synchronizing contacts with other systems, like Hangouts. It can happen that incoming calls from personal contacts don’t appear as such. That may cause confusion between business and private calls. 

#2 Call Quality

Google Voice audio is by no means the best in the industry. There is no HD quality and it heavily depends on an internet connection

If you are in a place with a strong network, there should be no issues and calls are usually crystal clear. Yet the call quality differs from location to location. You may experience latency and connectivity issues.

#3 Lack of Phone Number Optimization

We mentioned above that although there is an option to choose area codes, obtaining international phone numbers is a tricky business. It heavily depends on your location and the plan that you choose. 

Another key feature Google Voice lacks are toll-free mobile numbers (1-800). These are important, especially for small businesses who want to allow their customers to reach them without paying a long distance fee

#4 No Option to Launch Text Message Campaigns

If you want to run an SMS marketing campaign, you will likely not be successful using Google Voice. The service’s text message service is meant solely for conversations between two people. 

If you need to text 1-on-1, Google Voice has no issues. Yet you can’t use one-to-many texts. Therefore, launching promos or special offers via mass-distributed SMS campaigns isn’t an option

#5 Lack of Advanced Business Management Integrations

While running a company, you are surely managing a lot of different tasks. Having your business management systems integrated within one platform is a huge plus. 

Google Voice does have a certain level of integration, yet it’s very limited. It’s therefore probable that for many tasks, you will have to use other applications. Examples of such tasks would be managing clients’ orders, storing client information or payment processing.

That makes your work inefficient, tiresome and difficult, since you need to do many things manually that could otherwise be automated.  

Better Alternative to Google Voice for Business 

There are plenty of quality Google Voice alternatives on the market. We would like to introduce you to our personal favorite. 

Switch from Google Voice to CloudTalk

Let’s be frank. Google Voice simply isn’t enough for companies that grow rapidly. It is built for micro businesses that do not plan to expand

If you have an ambition to go big, you may want to search for more complex VoIP systems. In contrast to Google Voice, CloudTalk grows with your company. It allows you to scale your activities by adapting to your business needs. 

Thus, there is no need to waste time and resources on changing solutions each time your business grows out of the old one.

CloudTalk grows with your business.

CloudTalk’s superpowers:

40+ advanced integrations: While Google Voice only integrates with Google apps and basic systems, CloudTalk collaborates with industry-top platforms. 

Our CRM, Helpdesk, E-commerce, Sales Automation, Business Intelligence and other integrations include HubSpot, Salesforce, Pipedrive, Zendesk or Zapier.

Automation tools: CloudTalk eliminates repetitive tasks by top-tier features that automate your everyday tasks.

Advanced routing options allow you to route your calls according to pre-set requirements. For example, Skill-based routing automatically sends a call to a specific agent based on their fit and skills required by the caller.

CloudTalk also offers tools like automatic callback. If there are any unanswered phone calls, CloudTalk can automatically call your customers back. 

Furthermore, you can read about our complex multi-level IVR menu below. 

Google offers calling software — CloudTalk is a calling software: Google’s primary revenue source comes from advertising and mobile apps monetization. Systems like Google Voice for Business are therefore not their main focus. 

Yet, CloudTalk doesn’t only sell a product. CloudTalk is a product. The software is what our business lives and breathes for. Thus, we keep constantly nurturing it to perfection.  

Our strongest features: 

Phone numbers

  • International numbers: With CloudTalk’s international numbers feature, you can acquire phone numbers from more than 140 countries around the world. If your company operates in several countries, each can have its own phone number (e.g. US numbers in the USA, British numbers in the UK, etc.). That allows you to provide your clients with services from familiar numbers.
  • Toll-free numbers: CloudTalk offers a green toll-free number (0800) or a blue number (0850). With toll-free numbers, your clients can call you for free or at very low rates, which gives you a significant competitive advantage.
  • Number porting: CloudTalk allows you to use your existing phone numbers by porting them to CloudTalk quickly and easily (including international numbers).

Advanced dialers

  • Predictive dialer: It increases efficiency and the number of calls you make. When an agent is available, CloudTalk automatically dials the next call in line.
  • Power dialer: Create campaigns easily with call scripts and surveys. Let your agents focus on their prospects.
  • Smart dialer: CloudTalk’s flagship feature automatically compiles a list of numbers and lets you call through them with a single click.

Other advanced features

  • IVR: With CloudTalk, you can create a complex multi-level Interactive Voice Response (IVR) menu to guide the caller through different options. Make sure they are always directed to the right department, agent or group of agents and that they are receiving relevant information through customized messages.
  • SMS feature: You can automate your text message flow. It saves time and facilitates the work of your agents. Send your customers personal SMS messages or general notifications.

Feel like CloudTalk fits your needs better but still not quite sure? 

Schedule a 1-on-1 demo. You will get a fully personalized tour through the system with one of our customer success specialists. 

CloudTalk