Google Voice was one of the earliest applications in the VoIP space and a massively disruptive force in the field of voice communications. It introduced a new level of adaptability to communication services, allowing users to easily forward their calls to their cellphone or an inbox where it could all be managed from the desktop. Google Voice allowed business to cut the cord and go mobile. It integrated into Gmail and allowed call forwarding, messaging, voicemail and voicemail transcription. No receptionist or office required.
But most importantly, Google Voice was a free alternative to prohibitively expensive and complex phone systems. Small businesses, startups and entrepreneurs were able to gain access to a sophisticated suite of IP-based communication tools that gave them greater mobility, scale and flexibility, delivered on a simplified interface that was easy to use. Compared with old PBX systems, which had grown more complex without delivering any meaningful functionality, Google Voice responded to the way people were using technology and disrupted the idea of a phone system as a fixed system hardwired into a location.
Is Google Voice a viable alternative for small business?
But, despite the many innovations Google Voice introduced, it was never really a serious option for businesses who needed a professional business phone solution. Call quality can be unreliable, and there is no customer support. Numbers are rapidly recycled, and there is no customization. Google Voice users are at the whim of the platform, which is constantly changing. While it allowed a business to receive a large number of calls, the call forwarding has limited flexibility, and does not work well for teams. In addition, users have to be signed into Gmail to take calls. Routing and transferring calls is not an option.
But what about Google Voice for business?
There really isn’t a Google Voice for business, although an enterprise solution geared towards call centers may be in the works. For small and midsized companies with teams and distributed workers, Google Voice may not be an ideal solution, particularly if having conversations and talking to customers is a big priority. Google Voice probably works best as an answering service for companies who transact most of their business through emails or on the web.
Virtual phone systems for startups
Start-ups and entrepreneurs have some unique needs and pain points that aren’t necessarily well addressed by enterprise grade solutions. Many of these systems are still designed around old styles of work, and don’t prioritize mobility. Start ups are essentially a zero infrastructure business model, and they don't have time to assemble and maintain complex and expensive systems.
Simplicity and usability come first
The more features a phone system has, the higher the price the provider has to charge until the system moves beyond the reasonable price range of a small business. The simple fact is, though, that small businesses don’t need all those extra features and shouldn't have to pay for them. While extra features may be appealing in the shopping phase, detract from usability during implementation.
Mobile first businesses with workers in the field, working from home or coworking spaces, and traveling in and out of regions need solutions that are simple to deploy and just work.
Software based and virtual phone systems are an obvious solution for mobile, agile businesses. However, not all cloud-based and VoIP systems are created equal. Some software-based systems are notoriously difficult to use and install, and others come with rigid contracts and terms that detract from the benefits of a more flexible product.
What are the essentials of a small business phone system?
Choosing the right communication infrastructure for your agile business can be challenging. Growing business often feel stranded between old legacy business phone systems solution that are cumbersome and expensive vs. a confusing swirl of low-cost solutions that seem to work well enough for the moment but can run into problems as companies grow and scale.
At Spoke Phone, we were inspired by the simplicity of Gmail and how it transformed email into a simple experience that required no configuration, maintenance or hassle.
We wondered why a business phone system couldn’t be so simple.
Put Google Voice on hold and do more with Spoke Phone
We wanted to create a powerful voice communication infrastructure that did a few things well and focused on features that add real value to startups and other agile businesses:
- Allows a business presence and dial in numbers to be deployed across a network of mobile phones.
- Provides a real time interface that shows who is available, and which calls were answered or missed.
- Routes calls between teams members and allows conferencing and warm transfers
- Provides great call quality and stable connections even when connectivity is volatile
- Allows employees to take and make calls under a business phone number, so their personal numbers are never exposed and call data is secure
The difference between Google Voice and Spoke Phone
Spoke Phone was built specifically to help small businesses grow at their own rate. You don't have to invest thousands of dollars just to get a professional phone system. Agile companies need the liquidity and flexibility of OpEx over CapEx. And you don’t have to compromise with half-solutions that don’t fully address your needs. You can secure all the most important features of a on-premise PBX or a hosted VoIP provider, without spending all of your development funds.
Spoke Phone gives you the option to add a host of local numbers anywhere in the world, the freedom to transfer calls to team members, and the data to find out who called when and whether anyone on your team followed up. Your AI assistant will be able to answer the phone when you can't and respond to the caller in their own language or dialect. We’re also building smart productivity features to help team members on the go save and share important call details.
Keeping up with and managing call traffic across a network of personal devices is all but impossible without some kind of architecture, and Google Voice is one kind of infrastructure. It’s still designed to be deployed from a desktop, though, and isn’t always easy to manage on mobile. A lost or degraded wifi signal will result in a disruption in service. While users can share the same inbox, there is no way to personalize the experience.
Affordable vs cheap
Spoke Phone was built specifically to help small businesses grow at their own rate. You don't have to invest thousands of dollars just to get a professional phone system. Agile companies need the liquidity and flexibility of OpEx over CapEx.
Our solution is affordable and flexible and designed to grow with you.
Want to learn more about Spoke Phone and whether or not our solution can power your next phase of expansion or growth? We're ready to talk to you now!