Google Voice is one of those services that was created by a very large company who found and employed an elite team of very smart people, who then took a great idea built by GrandCentral, put the power and resources of Google behind it, and made it even better. What they really did was to design Google Voice in such a way that it was appealing and useful for a much bigger market.
GrandCentral, the phone management service which Google bought out for themselves back in 2007, really wasn’t much more than a basic carrier with a lot of infrastructure and massive inventory of phone numbers.
Google took that to use as the backbone of their new Voice app, but what they created with it was much more than what GrandCentral had. One of the problems with the Google Voice app, though, is that it only has basic features and isn’t anywhere near as versatile and functional as a real phone service provider like Talkroute.
Talkroute is a non-VoIP virtual phone service provider that offers its users what you would get with Google Voice, but it goes way beyond that and gives users a much better experience. Talkroute was created with small businesses in mind and provides them with all the features they really need to run their business.
Google Voice Wasn’t Designed for Businesses
After a while, business owners began to see that they could use Google Voice to manage their calls. Even though the app had only basic features, it was free and pretty much met their needs (until they began to grow), so it was hard to pass it up.
The reason that it doesn’t have all the functionality necessary for a business to professionally manage calls is because Google Voice was mainly intended for consumers, to serve the needs of individuals making personal and casual calls.
Individuals who are just average people looking for a free virtual calling app find Google Voice to be a perfect solution, but they don’t need things like a call menu, call stacking, extensions, or multiple user accounts, as a small business does. They usually just need a phone number and a voice mailbox. That’s what Google Voice gives you, with a couple of features like basic call forwarding added to it.
Businesses Get Less than They Bargained For
Once small businesses began to realize that this app was free and seemed to work pretty well, they jumped on it because that was one more expense they could mark out of their budget.
Small businesses just starting out make up the primary group of users who have taken advantage of Google’s Voice app because funds for those new businesses are usually pretty tight, and at least Google Voice worked.
Many of those users quickly found out, however, that there are some key features that just don’t exist in Google Voice, like the ability to stack callers on hold until they can be served, or provide on-hold music or messages to holding callers, or establish a call menu (auto attendant) that gives customers an automated, professional-sounding menu of options to choose from, or set your system hours of operation, among other things. Google Voice doesn’t have it because the app wasn’t made for businesses.
It Won’t Grow with You
One of the most impactful drawbacks is that Google Voice doesn’t have the ability to continue to serve your small business’ needs as you grow. As the business moves into more advanced levels of success and acquires more customers and more employees, your phone system is one of the first things that will need to be able to move into the next level right along with it.
You might need things like multiple voice mailboxes, separate user accounts with various permissions for each user, employee extensions, live call transfer, or reporting and analytics.
Those are the kinds of features that you get with a Talkroute phone system, and no matter how big your small business gets, a Talkroute system can handle it, not to mention that it is able to handle any volume of calls.
Don’t Get Stuck with a Sub-Par Phone System
It can take you by surprise when your small business suddenly has a growth spurt or has to pivot in a different direction, which is why you want to have a professional phone system to be sure you’re prepared for it when it happens.
If you have a Google Voice system and simply add a few more employees, or start to receive a lot of simultaneous calls from new customers, then you’re going to have to find a new phone service provider right away because the Voice app just won’t be able to facilitate that growth.
It does work for a business just getting started with very minimal needs, but it won’t be able to serve you for very long. Even if you’re a brand-new business, Google Voice will still leave you wanting for some pretty important features.
Good Luck Reaching Google Voice Support
You’ll have a really hard time getting in touch with someone in Google’s customer support department because they don’t have one. Many of their users don’t realize this when they sign up (because why would they not have support?), but there isn’t really anyone behind the curtain.
If you have a question, or god forbid, an actual problem that needs to be solved, the only resource you will be able to access for help with it are support docs that Google has posted online. That might give you the information that you need to resolve whatever question or issue you have, but many times it doesn’t even come close to providing the support you need.
You’ll find yourself tearing your hair out trying to get in touch with someone and then eventually realizing that Google literally does not have live support. What you will find are some FAQs and support docs that they have posted online in an attempt to cover everything their users would need to solve a problem or answer a question.
Sometimes You Need Real, Live Support
A technical problem with your service, especially because it’s working through your own phone, will pretty much stop you in your tracks until you finally figure it out for yourself or just cancel your account with them, after hours of searching for an answer. At some point, your only recourse will be to consult the independent Q&A forums and social groups created by other frustrated Google Voice users, to obtain the information you need.
Remember that the Voice app was not made with small businesses in mind, so for this reason, they haven’t built-in the level of service and support for their users, that you would expect from a business phone service. Though it can work for some businesses, it is not a business phone service. It is, first and foremost, a consumer app.
Excellent Support Should be a Top Priority
Superior customer service and support is something that Talkroute considers very important. There are real people behind the Talkroute service who are always ready to help, no matter how technical or simple the issue is.
To reach the Chicago-based team of expert representatives, you can call in, chat with a live representative online, or email them. A huge archive of tutorials for using every aspect of the system are also available on the website, if you would rather go that route instead of speaking directly to someone.
Support is just something that is essential for a business phone system. Though Talkroute is very easy to set up and use, something can always come up that you have trouble configuring or understanding.
Those things can greatly impact your small business because if anything isn’t 100% up and running and your phones are not functioning the way they need to, so that you can serve your customers, you can lose sales from those occurrences. That, alone, is enough reason to avoid using a service like Google Voice, which is unconcerned about helping you handle problems that may come up.
Google Voice Customers Switch to Talkroute Every Day
When you are using an app like Google Voice to run the phones for your business, it will inevitably become insufficient for you at some point because it has so many deficits that are very substantial for a small business. There are literally business owners switching from Google Voice to Talkroute every day.
With Google Voice, you can pretty much receive calls to your cell phone through the app, make calls out through the app, and allow people to leave you a voicemail (though you’ll probably end up using your cell phone’s native voicemail, anyway). Google Voice is technically a virtual phone service, but calling it a professional virtual phone system is definitely a stretch.
A legitimate virtual phone system like Talkroute gives you the features you would find with the best traditional phone systems that have been used by businesses for decades. Things like multiple lines, extensions, voice mailboxes, live call transfer, and on-hold programs are staples for a professional phone system, which you don’t get with a Google Voice account.
As soon as Google Voice users find Talkroute, they tend to switch right away because it does what Google Voice does for them but provides professional features for them as a real phone system.
Call Quality & Reliability
Google Voice is a VoIP-based service, which means it requires an Internet connection to work; however, it doesn’t even give you the full-scale service and connection that VoIP phone systems normally provide. Their connection quality is also known to have persistent problems, which users commonly complain about when using Google Voice for their business calls.
Virtual phone systems have come a long way in the past decade, growing to the point where the best services don’t experience any downtime, but Google Voice has not made an effort to utilize the technological advancements that have been gained for virtual services in the past few years. Users who have switched to Talkroute often complain that they have had connection issues and experience periods where the features of the Google Voice app simply don’t even work at times.
Getting Away from VoIP is Key
Talkroute is not a VoIP service. It connects calls using the traditional PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network), using the networks of your existing phones. You can use any type of phone with Talkroute, cell, landline, or any other phone, and the quality is far better and more reliable.
If you have ever used a VoIP phone service, then you know there can be issues that arise from using that type of connection. The quality, at its best, can actually be excellent, but the biggest problem with using VoIP is that it relies on your own Internet connection for calls, which isn’t the best scenario.
Get Reliable Service with a Talkroute Virtual Phone System
Unless you add some expensive, external equipment and an Internet connection that is dedicated to phone calls only, VoIP can end up being a problem. For example, if your Internet connection isn’t the strongest, goes out from time to time, or is also being used for other purposes such as downloads or other services by your employees, the depletion of bandwidth caused by those operations means that your call quality is going to be diminished.
Hence, the reason for a dedicated Internet connection for your phones. Talkroute doesn’t use VoIP, so that is never a problem. In fact, Talkroute has a 99.98% uptime record and gives you a high-quality connection by using the existing, traditional PSTN phone network.
Moving to Talkroute, as an alternative to Google Voice, is one of the best decisions you can make for your business. Not only is help from real people always available for anything you need, including your initial setup, you will have access to any feature you could possibly need to run the phones for your business.
Stephanie is the Marketing Director at Talkroute and has been featured in Forbes, Inc, and Entrepreneur as a leading authority on business and telecommunications.
Stephanie is also the chief editor and contributing author for the Talkroute blog helping more than 100k entrepreneurs to start, run, and grow their businesses.