If you’re a business owner, it’s important to stay connected to your clients, associates, and team members. There are lots of ways to do this. Most people use email, Facebook, or instant messaging. However, hearing someone’s voice, whether it’s a direct phone conversation or voicemail, still has an important place in business!

Do you have a simple way for people to contact you by phone or leave a voicemail? Most solopreneurs don’t want the extra expense of buying a work phone and a separate work phone number. But the idea of sharing your personal phone number with clients or posting it on your website is not appealing. And I don’t recommend it!

If this is you, I have a great solution – Google Voice. Google Voice is a free tool that gives you a dedicated phone number for calls, texts, and voicemails. You can use this number to make calls from your computer or mobile device. If you’re in the US, you can even choose your own number. 

The Basics of Google Voice

If you follow my blog, you know I’m a big fan of Google tools. They’re robust, useful, and free! I’ve written articles on my favorite Googe tools and how to use them in your business for planning and collaborating. Google Voice is another one of those valuable tools in Google Workspace.

Google Voice is an Internet-based phone service that offers many unique features. It’s not meant to completely replace your landline or cell phone, but it can help you to become more productive and efficient in your business.

Top Features of Google Voice

  • It’s free to get an account and a phone number.
  • It’s a virtual number; so easy to set up! No wiring is required.
  • You can configure it so that callers will be automatically sent to the voicemail box
  • All voicemails will be machine-transcribed and sent to your email inbox. (The transcription is not perfect, but it helps.)
  • You can forward incoming calls to another number (and change the forwarding number easily).

I use Google Voice every day with my team of virtual assistants. We each have a Google Voice number and the calls go straight to voicemail.  Because we are all in different time zones, we can leave each other messages 24/7 and listen and respond when convenient.

A Short Video on Google Voice:

How to Get a Google Voice Number

To get a free Google Voice number, all you need is a Google account. From a desktop or laptop, follow these simple steps below to get your own free Google Voice number and start using all the features. 

Step 1. Go to voice.google.com.

Step 2. If you are not already signed into your Google account, you’ll be prompted to sign in. Go ahead and sign in as prompted.

Google Voice sign-in page

Step 3. Review the Terms of Service/Privacy Policy, then click Continue.

Google Voice Welcome

Step 4. On the next screen, you’ll pick the number you’d like from the list of available numbers. You should try to find a number available in your area (ie. your area code). When you’ve found the number you want, click the ‘Select’ button next to it and follow the prompts.

Google Voice select number

Step 5. Once you have your Google Voice number, add the number for your other phone(s), set up your voicemail greeting, and fine-tune the other settings. More instructions can be found here: https://support.google.com/voice/answer/165221

A Few Points to Remember…

  • Google Voice offers two account types: Personal and Work. I use the Google Voice Personal version, even for business. Google Voice for Work is available as an add-on to G Suite and is NOT free. More details can be found at https://cloud.google.com/voice/
  • When signing up from your mobile device, download the Google Voice app from the App Store (for Apple devices) or the Play Store (for Android devices), open the app, and follow the instructions.
  • As of this writing, Google Voice is ONLY available in the U.S. and all Google Voice calls within the U.S. and Canada are free, with a few exceptions. The rates that apply when you call other countries from the U.S. can be viewed here.
  • Keep your Google voice number active! If you haven’t used your Voice number for 6 months (we could not verify this number exactly) , Google Voice may reclaim your number due to no activity. They will send you a warning text first.   We recommend you going into your Google Voice once a month and sending a text or voicemail to someone to let Google know you are keeping it active.

Conclusion

Communication is an essential part of your business and personal life. Fortunately, technology today offers many options to stay connected – email, texts, and messaging. And of course, good old-fashioned phone calls.

Personally, I am an auditory learner so hearing someone speak is so much more valuable and helpful than reading an email. That’s why I utilize Google Voice so much in my business.

If you’re a business owner who wants an easy and cheap way for clients and associates to reach you by phone, but you don’t want to give out your personal number, then Google Voice is the way to go. It’s free, easy to set up, and helps you make a personal connection with those you’re working with. 

(this article last appeared on this blog in June 5, 2019)

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