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Google Voice for Business offers unique calling capabilities, features and tools on a subscription basis. But is it the right communication channel for your business?
Here is an in-depth look at Google Voice for Business, including key features, pros and cons and pricing. We also look at some alternative Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services to help you make the best choice for your company.
What Is Google Voice for Business?
Google Voice for Business is a subscription-based VoIP app called GrandCentral before Google acquired it in 2009. They have continuously updated it to include a collection of features and tools that allow users to communicate more conveniently on any Internet-enabled device or web-linked phone line.
Google Voice works in conjunction with existing phone services and provides a free phone number with SMS capabilities, voicemail and other features. You can access it by signing up for an account, logging onto the website or downloading the app. Once your number is assigned, you can access Voice’s web interface, start making free or low-cost calls and even send and receive texts.
Here are a few situations where Google Voice can be useful:
If you want to list a product online and attach a phone number to your listing. You can list your Google Voice number so interested customers or organizations can contact you.
You have several phones and want to ensure that your team or people you do business with can quickly contact you. Set Google Voice to ring on all your phones.
It’s also easy to integrate Google Voice for Business with other communication channels in the Workspace including Gmail, video and voice conferencing and shared calendars.
Google Voice for Business vs. Personal Account
You can obtain a free local Google voice number and utilize the desktop or Google calling app for business communications with a personal account. Your Voice account will also integrate with your email or Calendar to keep operations running smoothly. If you’re a solopreneur or freelancer, that could be enough for you to manage your business. However, if you plan to grow your business and take on additional employees or clients and customers, switching to a Google Voice for Business account is a better option. A personal account won’t offer multiple numbers or call management and reporting options with paid plans. Also, note that if you stick with a personal account, you can’t customize your email address to reflect your business’s name and brand.
Google Voice Features
App Integration: Google Voice integrates with Workspace’s various apps, including Calendar and Meet. With Meet, you can make secure video calls from anywhere. Use this feature to meet with remote team members or customers/clients when an in-person meeting isn’t possible.
Call Forwarding: This feature helps manage a high number of calls. With call forwarding, calls made to your phone number will be rerouted to your Google VoIP. You have the option to link a maximum of 6 numbers at a time. It’s an excellent way for business people to keep communicating if they have branches in multiple locations.
Phone Number Generation: When you set up a Google Voice account, you can keep a current phone number, or Google can assign phone numbers to you and your staff members. You can also select your phone number. You can use this number via Google VoIP and add your desk phones to Voice.
Voicemail Transcription: Voicemail-to-email transcription is a great way to manage communication in one place. Ideally, the feature converts your voicemails into text form and sends them to your specified email address. This means that any authorized member of your team can access it. Voicemail transcription is particularly useful for people who have a tight traveling schedule but want to keep tabs with the team through email and messages in one location.
Once you get the transcriptions, you can route them to a member of your team who can address the matter quickly. This is an excellent step in ensuring client calls and questions are received and resolved to build loyalty and trust in your business.
Other features include group messaging, recorded calls and personalized greetings.
Google Voice Pros and Cons
Google Voice for Business offers various benefits that organizations can enjoy for free or at competitive prices. Similarly, it has drawbacks that you should consider before deciding to use it.
✔ Unlimited calls and messaging as well as user access in domestic and some international locations
✖ Call quality varies depending on device and location
✔ Automatic voicemail transcription and quick configuration with your business’s private branch exchange (PBX)
✖ Phone numbers are limited, making it hard to get the exact mobile number or area code you want
✔ Unified communication through a single phone number
✖ It doesn’t work well if you’re not signed in to your Google account or using the mobile app to make or receive calls
✔ Quick integration with Google Meet and Calendar
✖ No direct phone support, only the Google Voice Help Center forum or Google’s FAQ section
✔ Powerful AI that acts as a spam-call blocker
✖ Only paid plans available through Google Voice for Business
✔ Features such as call forwarding, recording, conferencing, etc.
Google Voice Pricing
Google Voice for Business has paid plans you can choose depending on your needs. Google’s business plans fall under 3 categories: Starter, Standard and Premier.
Google Voice Cost
Plan Details Include
Starter; $10 per user, per month
1-10 users from 10 domestic locations
Unlimited texts in the U.S.
Free calling to the U.S. and Canada
Google Voice mobile (Android and iOS) and desktop apps
Usage and activity reporting
24/7 customer support
Standard; $20 per user, per month
Many features in the Starter package, plus:
Unlimited users from any domestic location
Set up ring groups
Multi-level auto attendant
eDiscovery for calls, voicemail, SMS records
Premier; $30 per user, per month
Everything in the Standard plan, plus:
Set up users in international locations where Google Voice is available
Advanced reporting from the BigQuery cloud-based data warehouse
Google Voice Alternatives
With a growing list of digital products, Google has been at the forefront, offering essential services for the average business owner for some time now. However, while the service provides a range of useful features, alternative options are available in the market.
Nextiva: One of the business VoIP alternatives to Google Voice is Nextiva. It’s ranked among the top business phone systems with exceptional features, such as voicemail-to-email transcription, unlimited calling, conference calling and auto attendants. It’s perfect for businesses of all sizes to help transform how users communicate with customers. It features a Communication Management System (CMS) and a secure cloud-based backup model that makes it possible for users to store data in one place.
RingCentral: This is another cloud-based VoIP service that works for both mobile devices and desktops. Its primary focus is on calls, but it also features several collaboration tools, online integration with other apps and a contact center. It integrates with CRM system websites such as Dropbox, Google, Microsoft and more.
8×8 Virtual Office: 8×8 is a business VoIP solution that offers a unified communication platform for voice, chat and video. Its main features include call forwarding, call analytics, business SMS, call recording and intercompany chat. These features provide the functionality needed for small organizations and larger teams.
Grasshopper: This VoIP phone system, which ranks among the most affordable VoIP services, features unlimited calling, call forwarding, desktop and mobile apps, business texting, Wi-Fi calling and voicemail-to-email transcription. It’s helpful for traveling sales representatives and solopreneurs who prefer using a business phone number on an existing mobile device.
A professional Google Voice account is ideal for small business owners who need to handle basic business communications and are already Google Workspace users. In a post-COVID 19 world, Google VOIP is also helpful if you and your team work remotely or travel frequently and maintain consistent communication. The Starter Google Voice for Business plan is also a better option for small business owners who need to operate within a modest budget. However, a Google Voice account won’t work for a larger organization that handles high call volumes. For that situation, you might need additional robust features, such as call menus and a virtual receptionist, found in alternative VoIP platforms.
David Malcolm is a full-time freelance writer whose background includes writing for the business, financial and technology sectors. Throughout his near-decade in the content business, he’s worked with companies of all sizes to develop copy for various projects — from brochures and online ads to white papers and blog posts.