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Google Voice #2: Call Routing

Three Things Small Businesses
Should Know About Google Voice

1. Voicemail Management

2. Call Routing

3. Smartphone-Computer Integration

The #2 Thing You Should Know About Google Voice is one of my favorite parts of this service:

Call Routing.

Google Voice is like a mini-call center, where you can customize and personalize the way your phone system works. As I explained earlier this week, when you sign up for Google Voice (it’s free), you’re given a new Google Voice Phone Number. You might be thinking, “Oh Great, another number.” But cheer up. It just might be the last number you ever need.

Say you have three phone numbers. You have the office phone, you have your home phone, and you have your mobile phone. Now someone can call just one number to reach you on any of those. You can choose which phones ring when you receive a call, or just have all the phones ring.

You can even receive a call in Gmail if you want (Google Talk, a free instant-messaging and video-chatting service that can be downloaded as a stand-alone app, or accessed directly from Gmail, has recently added the ability to make and receive free phone calls to and from your Google Voice number).

But let’s say someone calls after midnight, expecting to get your office’s voicemail system. You don’t want a call like that ringing your home phone. That’s where GVoice’s customizability comes in handy. You can choose which calls go where based on either the person calling or the time of the call. If Bob Smith calls you, for instance, you can have it ring only your mobile phone, or only your office phone. If Greg Anastos calls you at anytime, you can have him sent straight to voicemail. Unknown number calling at two in the morning? Send it to voicemail. And, because of Google Voice’s voicemail management, you can receive a voicemail sent to any of your phones, from wherever you are.

Google Voice allows you to thoroughly customize how calls are routed based on the time of day or the person calling. Each phone line can be set with uber-specific ringing options.

During business hours, you could have calls to your Google Voice number ring all the phones in a certain department. That way, if your Google Voice number is your “Customer Sales” number, all the phones in Customer Service can ring when you get a call. That way, the likelihood that all calls are being addressed as they come in is improved exponentially, based on how many employees you have to potentially answer or reroute a call. Meanwhile, calls from a particular group of people can ring specific individuals’ phones.

Another potentially useful feature is “Call Screening.” Depending on who is calling, you can have Google Voice “answer” the call for you. If an unknown number calls, an automated answering service will pick up and–if you choose–will ask the caller to “Announce” themselves. Google Voice will then ring you on the phone(s) of your choice, announce the caller, and give you an option to accept the call, or send it straight to voicemail. One cool thing about this is you can listen in on the voicemail as it’s being left. Watch the video below to get an idea of how this feature works.

Between the Voicemail Management functionality and the Call Routing/Screening, Google Voice is clearly one of the best free options for small businesses looking to manage their phone and voicemail systems. Still on the fence? Well next week, I’ll be presenting the third and final Thing You Should Know About Google Voice, as well as provide some other great, cost-effective alternatives for your business’s phone system. See you then, and thanks for reading.

Follow me on Twitter @thinkofthat.

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