We’re all familiar with the phrase “Google is your friend.” It’s what we say when someone has a question that could easily be answered by a quick Google search — everything from up-to-the-second baseball scores, to Tom Keen’s real job on “The Blacklist” (BTW he’s a covert operative).
However, sometimes Google isn’t much of a friend. And for proof, all you need to do is ask businesses that have tried — and failed — to use Google Voice as their VoIP business phone system solution.
What is Google Voice?
Google Voice is Google’s cloud-based telephony platform that provides call forwarding, text, voicemail and voice services. Although Google Voice launched back in 2009, by their own admission Google has not made it a priority. That’s the nice way to put it. Here’s the not-so-nice (but frankly, more accurate) way according to one frustrated user on the Google Voice Help Forum:
“Google has neglected [Google Voice] into the ground. If there is anyone in control of it, they’re in some basement and don’t have the resources to even let you delete more than one voicemail or text at a time. There’s no integration with any service providers (which should ABSOLUTELY be easily available), and they have ZERO strategy to let you keep your one phone number for life. Google is incompetent and completely uninterested at bridging your mobile and desktop activities.”
The Problem with Google Voice
To be fair, as we see it the root problem with Google Voice isn’t with the product itself: it how it is being advertised and, unfortunately for businesses, how it is being used — or make that, misused.
Simply put, Google Voice wasn’t, isn’t, and predictably never will be a legitimate VoIP business phone system solution. At most, it can help individuals connect on a casual and informal basis, which is great (e.g. students calling home from college, etc.). But as for helping businesses drive customer experience, enhance collaboration and productivity, ensure compliance, lock-down security, and access advanced carrier-grade unified calling features…it’s one swing and a miss after another.
Here are 10 pitfalls that ensnare businesses that wander down the Google Voice path:
- They get calls from people who didn’t dial their Google Voice Number. This is happening on desktop clients and mobile apps (i.e. employees who have the Google Voice app installed on their smartphone are getting calls from folks who didn’t dial their number).
- When they answer a call, it hangs-up the call on one phone, but continues to ring on other lines.
- Calls drop in the middle of conversations. This has nothing to do with flaky public Wi-Fi connection — it’s happening to businesses with secure, fast Wi-Fi.
- They are getting random voicemails from callers, but the phone never rings in the first place!
- Google Voice is not a supported component of G-Suite. There is no service level guarantee, and absolutely no customer service from Google.
- Periodically, they (and every other affected Google Voice user) cannot use the system because it’s down.
- They cannot use business caller ID. Employees who make calls on their personally-owned smartphone put their privacy at risk, they may not have their call answered (i.e. a customer may know ACME Incorporated but have no idea who Joe Smith is), and frankly, it doesn’t look professional.
- Porting numbers is very limited. Businesses can only port a landline (or VoIP) number that they already have, and it will only accept mobile numbers.
- The sound and audio quality is often well below expectations (hey, you get what you pay for…).
- There is no emergency 911 calling, which is as important for businesses as it is for residential customers. Here is the disclaimer in Google’s own words: “You understand and agree that Google Voice is an enhanced call management application and that Google Voice is not capable of placing or receiving emergency services calls.”
We’re not suggesting that Google Voice is useless. It has its place. But the business environment isn’t one of them, because a VoIP phone system solution that causes all of the hassles, headaches, costs and lost opportunities described above isn’t a solution at all — it’s the problem!