Google Voice - Extremely effective for a mobile workforce
Brian Drake | TrustRadius Reviewer
February 18, 2014

Google Voice - Extremely effective for a mobile workforce

Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Software Version

Current

Modules Used

  • Voicemail
  • SMS
  • International Calling

Overall Satisfaction with Google Voice

Google Voice is the primary voicemail and call forwarding system I use to support mobile employees who use personal devices. Alternately they can answer the single business phone number on any phone they have at their disposal, office, mobile or even home. Everyone can have a separate professional number and always available voicemail system. We tailor responses to specific contacts to ensure a positive experience for new customers; returning customers as well as personal and internal workers.
  • The automatic voice to text translations are extremely poor; yet they still allow for you to get the 'gist' of the message content. This is very effective at allowing the user to prioritize which phone messages to respond to and how quickly to do so; but not effective enough to remove the need to listen to them. To get the actual content and extract real contact information you *must* listen to the voicemail. The translations have gotten slightly better over time but there are still regular 'WTF' moments when the translation is horribly wrong.
  • Without the native Voice app on a smartphone it is cumbersome, yet still possible to manage the voicemail through the email/text message that is sent. Using the app is highly recommended.
  • Additional features like the ability to embed a 'call me' button on a website is good for customer response. It is rarely used but nice to have. Unfortunately the widget is not customizable and thus may not look seamless with your web site design.
  • Being able to manage your voicemail like an email inbox is a major strength. Contact information can be quickly captured while at a full terminal as well as reviewing/organizing older messages.
  • The ability to have a 'local' phone number in different target markets is great for targeting a specific customer base. For instance you can have a phone number in a specific city. This makes the customer feel like they are supporting a local business; rather than some national company with a 1800 number.
  • The Voice to text translations are nearly always wrong. Sufficient to understand the 'gist' of a message but unable to accurately tell you the content
  • Voice is a slowly advancing product; it's obvious that it is not a priority application for Google. Be cognizant of the fact that it may be killed as a result.
  • If you have concerns about confidentiality of the messages you must understand that google parses the voicemails through their servers - extracting the content and more. It's highly likely that the content is saved in their servers indefinitely and is findable by official government requests and Google employees. This is *not* a secure system. For people wanting prints and photoshoots of their family it works wonderfully. For Lawyers who require confidentiality you should consider other options.
  • This is primarily a way to divorce /obfuscate a personal phone number from a work phone number - yet still only have a single destination device. It is highly effective.
  • Contact response customization is excellent for customer service
  • Employees are much more efficient at managing their missed calls - if they had to rely on pushing buttons on their phone ("press 1 to replay message") it would take *much* more time to respond.
  • Asterisk
Asterisk is a more fully featured VOIP system which enables an office phone system; direct comparison is useful only if you examine the voicemail management capabilities.

Features that favor Google Voice include the automatic voice-to-text translation and the native app - which drastically decrease the time required to manage a message queue. Asterisk has the ability to show the messages in a dashboard, download the messages or have them emailed to you; but that extra bit of translation is very effective. Also, Asterisk does not have a native app, though independant developers and SaaS providers may offer management apps.
For the price - it's a stellar product. When you have a mobile workforce that wants and needs to carry only a single phone for both personal and business this is a stellar product. You can centralize the phone number for the business and have multiple people answering the line - even when they are not in the office.

Managing the voicemails in an online dashboard or mobile app also is a huge improvement over classic push-button controls and voice response systems.

Using Google Voice

It's free, effective and has been useful for years. There is no reason I would discontinue the use of a product that continues to slowly improve; while still providing all the features I need.