These days in an online world, it really seems like we can do just about anything, right? There are special apps for near any idea someone can think up, websites to help even the smallest businesses generate some massive potential, and even technologies that put us into a virtual world, which are slowly encroaching into the business scene. But this week, we want to tell you about how you can digitize one technology that has existed offline for a while. Welcome back to #TechTuesday, where we're going to be talking about setting up a "Business" number with Google Voice, and how it can help you out.
Voicemail In A Modern World
With all the crazy innovations that have sprung up throughout the years, some people seem to put a technology as simple as voicemail by the wayside. These days, your typical caller doesn't even leave one when a text message would suffice to do anymore. If you're a small business, operating right off your own phone, this can become a bit annoying, too, whether you're getting a dozen voicemails and having to sort through them, or find out if someone you don't even know is texting you. That is the beauty of where a service such as Google Voice comes in.
With Google Voice, you get a free phone number for calls, text messages, and voicemail. Using apps on smartphones and computers, you can link your number to any mobile or existing landline number, allowing calls made to this number to be forwarded directly to your phone of choice. Now, this doesn't mean you can get away without having -some- sort of number for personal use, so don't go throwing away your cell provider right away. Google Voice essentially tethers together with that provider, letting you text from your PC or mobile phone, letting your read your voicemail, as it offers transcription services that will try to convert it to text to the best of its ability, and it even allows you to make international calls at relatively low rates.
What Do I Need To Start Up?
Setting up a Google Voice account is pretty simple. All you need is a computer or a smartphone, a Google Account, and a US Phone number to forward calls. The service is entirely no cost to register, and any calls made inside the US or Canada are free to be made nationally, with rates being listed on their website for international calls. But, starting from the beginning we're going to explain how to go about it.
If you don't already have a Google Account, you can begin by registering over at their website's account registration page. Once you are signed up, you can navigate over to the Google Voice Signup Page where it will ask you to choose a device to work with. For this purpose, we're going to choose computer. A menu will appear asking you to choose your number, by searching available numbers by city or area code. Using your local area code, you can choose your town and it will produce a list of numbers you can select from for your business. Once you have selected a number, its going to ask you to connect it with your personal number, which will be as easy as a text message to your device with a confirmation code, however you can also confirm through a free phone call from them as well. This is just so it can forward calls to this device later on. Make sure you write down your number selection to keep it available for later.
Setup is that easy! Now, from here you can start getting calls and voicemail services right away. As soon as someone calls your number, they should be forwarded to your other device, which will ring instead. From here though, we want you to be able to set up the ability to make calls from that number. To do this, you want to install Google Hangouts Dialer on your phone if you have an Android Device, or Google Voice if you have an iPhone. Both of these can easily be found in the app marketplace completely free. They will have you sign in with your Google account information, and send you a confirmation number through text message.
After that, you're all set up! If you dial a number through either of these applications, you can send an outgoing call from your new Google Voice number entirely free, and any calls can be received on that same number. Missed calls will be transcribed for you to the best of the software's ability. You can also set up personalized voicemail within these apps as well, for that extra touch. Oh, and if you'd like you can also navigate to https://hangouts.google.com/ where you can access the client online as well, allowing you to send text message and phone calls right from your computer instead using that number! If you use Google Chrome for a browser, there is even a nifty extension they offer to install that creates a standalone program for you to use. Time to enjoy your new business number.