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Many businesses, organizations, and entrepreneurs use Google Voice for its simplicity, ease of use, and price. In fact, it's one of the most widely used VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) providers around.
But Google Voice has some downsides (like Google removing features). And has even come under scrutiny with more recent reports of scam activity. Which is leading some (mostly businesses) to seek out alternatives.
If you’re running things on a small budget, the bad news is that there aren’t many free Google Voice alternatives. And worse yet, most free Google Voice alternatives aren’t meant for business use.
However, we’ve put together a list of business options and answers to the following Google Voice-related questions:
Read on for more.
Most people use Google Voice for phone calls.
Unlike standard business phone systems, Google Voice is a VOIP service. As long as you have a device that’s connected to the internet (laptops, mobile phones, etc.), you can use Google Voice.
The best part is that Google Voice is free for personal use. But if you’re using it for business purposes, Google will make you pay. Keep in mind that Google Voice was built specifically for personal use. So naturally, it comes with some limitations.
VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol is a technology that allows you to place a call without a cellular signal or phone line. Instead, calls are facilitated over an internet connection. VoIP systems typically cost less and have more advanced capabilities and integrations.
These advanced features frequently include call recording, call routing, internal calls, conference calls, voicemail to email, and auto attendants (phone trees).
These are all features that don’t typically come with a traditional phone service. And unlike a traditional phone service, you don’t have to be in the office to take phone calls. VoIP allows you to take phone calls from your computer.
In addition to phone calls, Google Voice also has text messaging capabilities.
Unfortunately, the SMS text messaging capabilities that come with Google Voice are extremely limited.
They don’t have any of the features that a full-blown business text messaging service provides. And Google has even been removing popular features like text message forwarding from Google Voice.
More and more businesses are finding that they spend too much time on the phone. Although a VoIP provider like Google Voice may be a better option than a traditional phone service, it still doesn’t necessarily save businesses and organizations time.
This is why business owners are switching to dedicated text messaging and voice services to keep connected to their contacts, customers and clients.
There’s debate about which communication tool is best. But at the end of the day, it’s all about using the right tool for the job and adopting a conversational messaging strategy for customer support and service.
Many small businesses who have added text messaging to their existing business communications have seen up to a 50% reduction in the amount of time spent on the phone.
As of now, no, Google Voice is not getting cancelled. But, the future of Google Voice is uncertain.
Though, Google is infamous for cancelling services even though many rely on them on a daily basis.
Google is looking at their service known as GoogleFi as a frontrunner for their phone enterprises. Which could serve as an indicator that Google Voice may be deprecated in the future.
Both Google Voice and GoogleFi have similar features. Which has led many to believe that Google Voice will be cancelled.
There aren’t many alternatives to Google Voice that are free. Placing free calls or sending free texts doesn’t work unless it is for personal use. Here are a few free options available to those looking to place calls or send text messages for personal use.
The best free Google Voice alternatives include:
MessageDesk allows you to text from any 10-digit phone number on any device. Voice capability includes call forwarding from a dedicated 10 digit number to any phone line of your choosing.
Instead of switching from Google Voice, simply add MessageDesk as a text messaging provider. You get to keep your current phone number and still get enhanced messaging capabilities.
MessageDesk pricing starts at $29 a month but costs depend on your monthly texting volume.
MessageDesk has yet to add a VOIP feature to enable calls. However, MessageDesk serves as a perfect complement to your existing phone system (you can even use the same number you use for phones with MessageDesk).
What MessageDesk customers have to say:
"This has been a great tool helping us to text our owners and keep the lines of communication open while not keeping our front desk on the phone constantly." - Review from Capterra
"This allows our customers to directly connect with us without having to remember another phone number. Most of our customers are on the go and love to get texts rather than read an email." - Review from Capterra
We are a small company with a small budget. I feel like this software and our needs are the perfect pairing. I wish I would have found them much earlier.” - Review from Capterra
OpenPhone has many features like Google Voice such as calling and messaging capabilities.
For the average small business, this tends to be a fairly pricey option.
OpenPhone’s plans start at $10 a month per user. This includes calls and texts but it lacks some key messaging features such as keyword autoresponders.
Their calls and texts are supposedly unlimited. But, with a closer look at their fair usage policy, their lowest tier is only allowed to send 1,000 messages a month and 1,000 minutes a month.
In fact, their policy explicitly states that: “OpenPhone Standard plan isn't meant to be used for mass texting, SMS marketing and drip campaigns.”
"I've tested many times and asked friends to send texts that do not go through. I've reached out to support who has been slow to respond and completely unhelpful.” - Review from Capterra
"I worked with one tech person at OpenPhone who was proactive, communicative, and really made me feel like my business was super important to them." - Review from Capterra
"Had problems initially porting my number due to my problems from my previous service." - Review from Capterra
Grasshopper is a simple platform that is similar to Google Voice. But, like Google Voice, its simplicity tends to create more problems than solutions.
Grasshopper charges a reasonable $29 a month for their lowest tier. They describe this plan as “perfect for the entrepreneur with a side gig.”
So, the more realistic plan for an established business would start at $49 a month.
“Beyond the calling, texting, and call log there are almost no features. No analytics, unique features, and overall a boring application.” - Review from Capterra
"I love that it offers the ability for phone and text conversations." - Review from Capterra
"The website's settings were hard to navigate and setting up the incoming call workflow was too cumbersome." - Review from Capterra
Telzio has a lot to offer with regard to automation for phones and texting. But, for features that will likely never get used their price makes it difficult to justify their platform.
Telzio’s pricing is, to say the least, complicated. You get charged by the exact number of messages and calls you would like to send/make.
The lowest possible price is $50 per month which does not include any text messaging capabilities. If you want to add 1,000 text messages the price will be raised to $77 a month.
“Paid 400% of my monthly fees in overages. They said well we sent you emails...which means they aren't willing to help. Cannot do business with a company that operates on a "gotcha" business model.” - Review from Capterra
“Wonderful customer service. Barely any issues and the issues that did arise were taken care of quickly.” - Review from Capterra
“It does not often work great if you start a call on Wifi and then need to switch to cellular data, most often it will lose the call.” - Review from Capterra
Nextiva is clearly geared towards large businesses with many people. Their pricing structure tends to push small businesses aside and won’t give them the functionality they need.
Nextiva starts their pricing at $30.95 a user when you have 1-4 people. Unfortunately, they don’t include text messaging on their lowest tier either.
“The phone system was with a lot of technical problems. Auto-attendant not working, CRM not working, SMS not working.” - Review from Capterra
"Using Nextiva we have reduced our phone bill, increased control over our phone system and added the ability to use the phone app.” - Review from Capterra
“We didn't even let users know they could log in--it's that bad. The cost of their service just cannot compete with the rest of the market.” - Review from Capterra
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