As a business owner, finding a way to manage overhead costs can be difficult, especially as you’re growing.
One expense that seems to be inevitable is the phone system. Everyone expects to see a customer service phone number on your website, your business cards, and even on your storefront (if you run a brick-and-mortar location). But, what if your business phone system is overpriced and underwhelming at best?
Do you have any true alternatives?
Well, for starters there’s the reasonably priced Google Voice which is available from just $10 per month (learn more about Google Voice for business pricing here).
Why Do Businesses Use Google Voice?
For starters, a lot of businesses already have a Google account. And, every Google Account has access to their suite of products including Docs, Sheets, and even Voice. And all of these tools are “free” (we’ll explain) – even Voice.
So, can Google Voice work for your business?
Yes, Google Voice can work for your business. When you start using Google Voice, you’ll be able to choose from a LOT of available numbers on the Google VoIP network. From there, you’ll be able to receive phone calls on your mobile phone, your tablets, computers, and even other phones (through call-forwarding).
Sounds great … so, what’s the catch?
Why Would People Use Anything Besides Google Voice?
Well, because they may need more options than Google Voice provides. We’ll go over three reasons why people may decide to leave Google Voice for another competitor.
Google Voice does not give you access to an 800-number.
While having a local number may work in the short term, most businesses want access to an 800-number for their website and/or marketing material. 800-numbers tend to look more professional than an out-of-area “local” phone number, and appearance matters.
Google Voice might give you a recently recycled phone number.
Next, while you can pick the number you want, there’s a good chance you don’t know who had it before. And that can be awkward, especially if the last “business” that used the phone number wasn’t on the “up-and-up” (i.e. escort services). Unfortunately, Google makes recycled numbers available as soon as they are dropped, which could mean that websites and/or marketing material could be sending unwanted phone calls your way (awkward).
Google Voice doesn’t work with department extensions.
And finally, if you’re a multi-department business, using Google Voice may not work well for you. For instance, Joe calls your phone number and wants to speak with Mike from the service department. How are you going to connect Joe to Mike? With full-fledged VoIP systems, you can forward phone calls to other extensions – with Google Voice this can be tricky unless you go with a company to help you set it up (if you already work with a company for your G Suite setup, they can probably help you with this at no cost).
How Does Google Voice Compare To Nextiva And RingCentral?
So, who are some of the closest competitors to Google Voice?
Nextiva and RingCentral
Both Nextiva and RingCentral are direct competitors with Google Voice. Where they’re different is in how much they cost. Remember, Google Voice is “free” for all calls in the United States and in Canada (we did say we would explain the “free” part).
RingCentral has plans starting out for as low as $19.99/month. Nextiva literally starts out at $.01/month more than RingCentral ($20/month). But, what do you get with them that you don’t get with Google Voice?
- Number Portability (bring your own number)
- Conference Calling
- Fax Services
- And More …
So you get more, but you pay twice as much for Nextiva and RingCentral. The question then becomes do you need all of these extras?
If you’re a small business owner, probably not. Most every call that comes into the store is handled by ONE person.
Google Voice is the BEST option when you don’t need a TON of phone numbers and/or lines, and if you are already using G Suite, it’s the best choice because it integrates so well with your other Google apps. If you don’t have five departments with three employees each, then you don’t need anything “better”. If you don’t need an 800-number and you don’t already have a phone number, then Google Voice can give you an INSTANT business phone line for free.
While Google Voice isn’t the be-all and end-all, it’s definitely a good option for a small business that needs a business phone number and/or system, and it’s a great value that starts at just $10 per month, per business phone line.