Using free technology to simplify running your business (Part 1)

Using Google Voice as a free Visual Voice Mail and a phone answering service

So many people, business owners included, have such annoying voice mail systems or greetings! I use my mobile phone as my business line so I have done two things:

Separate Virtual Phone Number for the Public

I created a separate Google Voice account and phone number that I give to the general public. I have learned that I am much more efficient if I return phone calls twice each day, instead of interrupting my work each time the phone rings. My “public” phone number goes straight to voice mail and does not ring me. I receive a text when someone leaves a message and I can see the phone number and a transcript of the message, so at a glance I can see whether I need to respond immediately. This is also the phone number I put in my email signature and on my web site.

Visual Voice Mail and Improved Outgoing Message for Main Business Number

For my main mobile number that I use all the time, I set up Google Voice Lite, which is when you use your existing phone number but use Google for the voice mail service instead of your cell provider. It is a much better system and there is no lady at the end of the message saying, “To leave a message, wait for the tone. To leave a callback number, press 5. When you finish your message, press star or hang up.” No one, I repeat NO ONE, needs to hear that lady. She is so irritating. If you do anything to improve your customer experience, make sure people can leave you a message without navigating a big menu and without listening to that lady!

Google Voice is free and can be accessed at You cannot have two Google Voice numbers on the same Google account, so you need to set up a new gmail address if you want to use two Google Voice accounts, as I do. Additionally, you cannot associate two Google Voice accounts with the same real phone. That is why my “public” phone number can’t ever be enabled to ring my real mobile phone – because I have already associated my mobile phone with the account that uses Google Voice Lite voice mail.

I have gotten around this by downloading the Google Voice app on my iPhone, so I can view and listen to messages from my public number with the touch of a button.

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