6 Reasons Your Organization Needs Google Voice

I’ve been trying out Google Voice for about 6 months now. I like the service, most notably the voicemail transcriptions, but I know I’m not taking advantage of the majority of the features of the service. You know who would, though? Smaller volunteer-run organizations.

callwidgetI’ve spent several years in such organizations, and I just took on the role of Public Relations Committee Chairman for the Denver Roller Dolls Roller Derby League. Like many volunteer-run organizations, we have yearly elections, and membership of the overall organization is somewhat transient. We also don’t have a huge operating budget. Enter Google Voice.

  1. Establish a free “info line.” If the organization is small, there may not be the budget for a generic line people can call. Having such a line can help establish credibility, and help those neophytes that don’t yet do everything on a computer!
  2. Separate “individual” contact information from “positional” contact information. In an organization where leadership changes yearly, contacts should stay the same. Just as we can reassign an email alias like pr@denverrollerdolls.org, a google voice line can be forwarded to the new party with no inconvenience to those trying to reach her.
  3. Reroute inquiries using custom groups. Recognized callers can be assigned to different groups, and receive different greetings or be routed to different phones. When the accountant calls, it can forward to the treasurer’s phone. When it’s a reporter, the media contact can answer. And when a member of the organization itself calls, they may hear a recording of upcoming events or latest news.
  4. Concerned about that info line and the manpower needed to staff it? Set the line to “do not disturb” on a schedule and let it go right to voicemail.
  5. Track phone messages as easily as emails. When messages are transcribed, they are either emailed or texted to a specified contact when can then forwarded them to the responsible party. If more than one individual needs to be apprised of the message, it can be tracked and archived for future use. No more lost messages or inaccurate recounts of a conversation.
  6. Record entire conversations. And yes, both parties are made aware of it at the time. Need to conduct interviews, or want to be able to listen to a conversation later to ensure all the details are correct? Google Voice can allow you to record conversations (when someone calls you) to review or share later.

And one tip to setting up your account: be sure it is associated with a new google account. The same password is used to log into all associated google services, so you will want to establish a new account (i.e. orgphone@gmail.com) for the google voice service so someone is not compelled to share their password. That way you are truly overcoming the challenge of tying this service to a specific individual that may later leave your organization.

What other benefits can you think Google Voice have to offer organizations? Have you tried the service yourself? Thoughts?

8 thoughts on “6 Reasons Your Organization Needs Google Voice

  • I enjoy my Google Voice number. I put it everywhere. Heck, it’s right here: 978-558-0008. Feel free to call it. If I don’t recognize the number, or your name, I send you to voicemail at which point I either listen-in and pick up or see the transcription in moments. I enjoy being productive and not needing to pick up every call; but unlike traditional voicemail systems, I get VOIP notification on the fly.

    You’re onto something with the organizational use… and I’m thinking internationally, for if you’re in another country, you can call me and I am not paying for the call even if I pick it up on my cell.
    .-= Ari Herzog´s last blog ..Resolve to Fail in 2010 =-.

  • Ari: I scanned the documentation, and didn’t see that organizational use was verboten, so I trust that this post won’t get me flagged for some sort of violation of service!

    Recently I was in Mexico and then in Barbados, and I really appreciated the chance to check my messages via the computer. I didn’t even turn on my cell while abroad. I’m not sure you wouldn’t get hit with roaming charges?

    I do have a friend who’ll be doing a worldwide tour, and I recommended she reserve a number: she can then always check the messages at a cyber-cafe, and call someone back from wherever she is, even without having a cell with her.

  • In many ways, the features of Google Voice overlap with Vonage’s service. I enjoy piggybacking the lines, and having them all forward to my cell phone. I can track calls, figure out where a sale came from, and even have my voicemails transcribed to text on the fly – truly a killer combo.
    .-= Pinny Cohen´s last blog ..Entrepreneur 101: Find Your “Reason to Be” =-.

  • I think this would be an excellent idea! The only problem that I’ve seen is that a number cannot be a part of two Google Voice accounts; likewise, you cannot have one Google Voice account forward to another Google Voice account. So people like me who already have a personal account couldn’t partake in this good idea, sadly.

  • Michael: the limitation of only using a single google voice number is certainly a concern. However, I managed to find a work-around, provided you are content with only using your secondary line to receive messages.

    Set your phone to forward to a line you know will not be associated with a google voice number. (A work line, or ask a close friend if you can borrow his phone0 Verify the number, and create your greeting. Then set the call to “do not disturb” and ensure messages are forwarded to your email account. That way you can receive the messages when someone calls without needing to answer it initially.

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