Google Voice is a phone service that was first rolled out in 2009, after Google acquired 2006 startup GrandCentral.
In 2018, Google officially launched a beta version of Google Voice for Business, and as a result announced that users of personal accounts would soon lose access to the old Google Voice service.
Google Voice for Business is a telephony service available as an add-on to Google Workspace, allowing users to stay connected and make national or international calls from a wide range of devices. In addition to individual calls, it has features like auto attendants, call transfers, and call groups that open up potential use cases for Google Voice in contact center environments. It is important to note that it is only available in certain countries and certain features (like SMS) are only available in the United States.
Why is Google Voice for Business important?
Google Voice for Business offers users a lightweight yet fully functional phone service based on the Google ecosystem. At a time when competitors like Microsoft are rapidly expanding collaboration capabilities and introducing new integrations, Google Voice is essential to helping customers get the most out of their G Suite/Workspace investment.
It should also be noted that voice is an important channel for internal and external communication, with a large number of users turning to Office suite applications for telephony. the State of Affairs 2020
Communication report by Nextiva, Poly and AA-ISP found that 76% of business phone system users have an office suite such as Google Voice for this purpose. Therefore, Google Voice fills an important customer need.
Google Voice is a cloud-based telephony service that relies on Google Cloud Platform (GCP) for its core infrastructure. When you sign up for Google Voice, the service assigns you a set of phone numbers. But you can also choose to migrate your existing numbers to a Google Voice plan.
Keep in mind that unlike Microsoft Teams calling, you cannot set up Google Voice over a PSTN connection. All calls will be routed through Google’s own cloud service. Here are the features you can expect with Google Voice for Business:
- Call forwarding – You can set up call forwarding to different number, and it also supports business call forwarding
- Transcripts – Google Voice for Business automatically generates all voicemail messages to text, using the company’s powerful artificial intelligence technology
- Mobile app – In addition to the desktop app and website experience, Google Voice for Business offers naïve apps for Android, iPhone, and iPad environments
- Do not disturb – The service integrates with your Google calendar to understand your working hours. You can choose to automatically mute calls based on your stipulated times
- Desk phones – In addition to the desktop interface, web interface, and mobile apps, Google Voice is compatible with select Poly phone hardware
- Contact Center Features – You can set up call groups, auto attendants, and call forwarding workflows to manage a contact center using Google Voice technology
It is important to note that Google Voice for Business is highly scalable. You can add between 10 and unlimited users and make calls to unlimited locations. Currently, the service is available in 13 regions, but the list keeps growing.
You can use Google Voice on a number of operating systems and browsers, including Chrome OS, Apple Mac, Microsoft Windows, Android, and Apple iOS, as well as Chrome Browser, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, and Safari. Now let’s see how you can set up Google Voice for Business.
Set up Google Voice for Business
Follow these steps to set up Google Voice in your organization, from a computer:
1. Make sure one of the above operating system configurations is in place. You must also be based in Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom or the States -United.
2. If you are an administrator, open the administration console and click on “add services”. Under categories, you will be able to select Google Voice. Choose the subscription plan you want and click “get started”.
3. You will see on-screen instructions guiding you through the next steps, where you will add your primary and secondary locations, fill in country-specific information (e.g. company name as mentioned to the authority local tax) and assign licenses.
You can assign a license to an individual user, you can provide bulk licenses to users listed in a CSV file, or you can assign a license to each member of an organizational unit.
4. Once the licenses have been assigned, you can associate each user with a number and also add an emergency service number.
5. Next, the user interface will guide you through the user migration process. Here you can migrate users with an old account to a new voice plan.
6. Finally, you will be prompted to configure value-added features such as configuring desk phones and defining contact center capabilities.
7. Once an administrator completes these steps, users will receive a welcome email and be guided through the setup process, via Google’s user interface.
To get started with Google Voice for Business, you must be a Google Workspace user. Once your Workspace account is in place, you can sign up for a Voice account by following steps 1 and 2. Pricing for this cloud-based phone service starts at $10 per user per month. For $420 per user per month, you get additional contact center features, desk phone support, and eDiscovery. There’s also a $30 version that lets you generate reports using BigQuery.