Did you think Google Voice was simply a tool for professionals who had entirely too many ways for people to get a hold of them? Well, it is that, but it’s also an opportunity for you to get the word out about your business. With a little ingenuity, you can create your own “Google Voice 800 number” that will go a long way toward helping your prospects find you.
If you haven’t heard of Google Voice, it’s a service from Google currently being tested that gives you a single point of contact and has a number of neat features as well. One of these, and perhaps the most important one for a small business, is call routing. This will allow you to answer only those calls that come in on your forwarded toll free number and route other calls to different locations. For example, if you’re in your home office, and someone calls your cell number, which rings through to your Google Voice number, you can route the call to any of the numbers in your Google Voice profile, such as your main home number, where someone else can answer the call. If you’ve got a bigger operation, you can even have calls from your 800 number forwarded to other parts of your business or to the phones of individual employees. The possibilities are endless.
Of course, there are some down sides as well. You’ll just have to decide whether the benefits outweigh the drawbacks in your particular situation. One thing’s for sure, a Google Voice toll free combination could be a life saver for a small business.
To get things up and running, you’ll first need a toll-free number that you can forward to Google Voice. After that, you’ll need an invitation to join the service, at least until Google launches the full version later this year. I’m working on getting an invitation for myself, so I hope to have a first-hand review of Google Voice in the near future. I’ll also be highlighting other features that small business owners will find particularly useful.