In 2009, Google launched Google Voice, a free voice messaging service to Google users. The service was designed to be a free alternative to a phone plan, targeting both upstart businesses and low-income users that needed a viable way to communicate without committing to a long-term contract. Google Voice was the first product that Google launched after acquiring GrandCentral, a phone management service, just a few years before. But many businesses that have tried it out have quickly been left looking for a Google Voice alternative.
As many businesses find out, Google Voice is an excellent service — for a single person. Its free price tag may be enticing, but the service doesn’t really do the heavy lifting that a business requires to handle customer requests and run day-to-day operations. It might be fine for a small family, but as a business, you need a high-quality service with the features to match.
There are many reasons why Google Voice isn’t a good fit for most businesses. Some of the common reasons why our customers choose UniTel Voice’s virtual phone system as a Google Voice alternative include:
1. Excellent Customer Support for Business Lines
The biggest reason why many businesses seek out a Google Voice alternative is because of the lack of support that Google offers for their products. Google might be famous for their excellent products, but they are infamous for their lack of real support. In fact, support for Google Voice users is almost non-existent. There is no number that you can call to get help. Most are forced to turn to third-party message boards and social media to get the help that they need. At most, you’ll be lucky to get an email response from a Google rep that usually doesn’t do much to actually help you solve whatever problem you’re facing.
Without reliable support, Google Voice is just not a viable option for a growing business. When things go wrong, you need to make sure that you can fix issues and get back up and running quickly to take calls from customers. The lack of support is perhaps the most pressing reason why a Google Voice alternative is a better choice for businesses.
2. Reliable Connections with High Call Quality
One thing that many businesses overlook is the fact that Google Voice is actually a VoIP service, just like UniTel Voice. Because Google is a big company, most assume that they actually own their own network like a cell phone company, but this isn’t the case.
Great VoIP services like UniTel Voice offer reliable connections and high-quality audio. But because the voice data makes several stops along the way, the quality and reliability of your connection often depend on factors that are outside of your control. Without reliable customer support, if you do run into issues, it can be almost impossible to fix connection issues when you do experience them.
3. Advanced Call Forwarding and Extensions
Another reason why many businesses end up ditching Google Voice for an alternative is the fact that it doesn’t offer any advanced call forwarding or extension features. With Google Voice, you get a single line for a single person, and that’s it. There is no way to upgrade when your business grows.
If you want separate lines for your employees, you’ll have to sign up each of them separately with no connection between the two lines, making it impossible to transfer calls. A Google Voice alternative that provides advanced call forwarding features and extensions for your employees will always be a better choice for your business.
UniTel Voice offers both advanced call forwarding features and extensions for your employees at an affordable rate. Using our call routing features, you can send customers to extensions, phones, and voicemail inboxes and ensure they connect with the right person within your company.
4. Virtual Auto Attendant Provides Direction to Customers
At best with Google Voice, you can set up a voicemail system that provides some limited information to callers. While this might be enough for really simple businesses and dedicated customers who want to get in touch with you, it certainly doesn’t give off an aura of professionalism. You’ll want more if you want to seem like a trustworthy functioning business.
At UniTel Voice, every plan comes with a virtual auto attendant that acts as a receptionist. The system will greet callers as they enter the system, then direct them toward the proper extension or voicemail inbox. Better yet, this system is configured and managed online, so you can always change the settings as you add more lines or experience changes in your workforce.
UniTel Voice’s system also offers unlimited call handling, with no restriction on the number of concurrent calls that you can receive and have active at any one time. If you forward a call to a phone that is busy, the system recognizes this fact and redirects the caller to a voicemail greeting, ensuring that your customers never receive a busy signal, ever.
5. Receive Faxes on your Smartphone
As a business, you probably send and receive faxes with some consistency. While email might be taking over as the preferred method for most document transfers, fax is still an essential feature for doing business. Google Voice offers no fax features, which means that you’ll be forced to find a completely different solution for your faxing needs, which eliminates the benefit of Google voice being a free service.
The ability to send and receive faxes is a necessary feature for any business, and it just isn’t possible with the base features that are offered in Google Voice. UniTel Voice allows you to receive new faxes right on your phone, reading and responding to them while on the go. Other features that make UniTel Voice a more functional business phone service include:
- Toll Free Numbers
- 800 Numbers
- Vanity Phone Numbers
- Toll Free SMS Text Messaging
- Virtual PBX Phone System
- Cloud Phone System
- Auto Attendant
- And More
Put simply, UniTel Voice is a low-cost Google Voice Alternative that is a better choice for businesses of any size. Google Voice might be free, but its feature set doesn’t lend itself well to business use, where multiple lines and call-forwarding features are required. It might serve the basic purpose of sending and receiving calls, but it certainly doesn’t stack up to the Google Voice alternative solutions that are out there.
Overall, Google Voice is nothing more than a side-project for the company. The company has had many side projects that operate for a few years, and are then unceremoniously shut down with little warning for the customers using the service. If Google Voice were shut down and your business depended on it, it could be disastrous. A Google Voice alternative like UniTel Voice provides more features, better reliability, and excellent customer service to business customers.
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Editor’s Note: The article is part of the startup tools blog series Run Your Business brought to you by the marketing team at UniTel Voice, the virtual phone system priced and designed for startups and small business owners.