Three Reasons Why You Need To Use Google Voice
With the recent demise of Google Wave (which I conceptually loved but, admittedly, didn’t use) I want to champion a Google tool that I do use…preemptively addressing any ‘app-house-cleaning’ whispers within Google. That tool is Google Voice – a fairly powerful Web-based phone management system that includes the assignment of your own, local phone number (you may also recognize by its pre-acquisition name: GrandCentral).
While I have read a few articles on conceptual uses of Google Voice – phone number consolidation, customized voicemails, etc. – I have yet to find an article that provides some tangible, real-world, sign-up-now examples. Even one of my respected solution sources, LifeHacker, seemed to be neutral toward Google Voice.
Fearing for the safety of my beloved application, I have – in the true spirit of marketing-motivated ‘top’ lists (e.g. ‘top three things you need to know about social media’, ‘top 10 things wrong with your website, etc.) – compiled a list of three specific uses for Google Voice that you can implement.
After this read, you should be compelled to sign up today and start using Google Voice (and, yes, yes, start sharing more of your personal data with Google…you’ll be fine, take off the tinfoil hat).
1. Google Voice and Your Luggage Tag
If you are like me, and a bit of a narcissistic airline traveler, you must still assert your authority over your luggage as it is gently laid on an airport conveyer belt [sarcasm]. We usually do so by attaching a flimsy, personally indentifying paper tag to our bags…you are mine and I am yours. I include my phone number on my tag, as recommended by the U.S. Department of Transportation:
The bags you check should be labeled – inside and out – with your name and phone number. Add the name and phone number of a person to contact at your destination if it’s practical to do so. Almost all of the bags that are misplaced by airlines do turn up sooner or later. With proper labeling, the bag and its owner can usually be reunited within a few hours.
As comforting as the above statement is (‘sooner or later’…hurrah!), the reality is that lost baggage is the number two complaint for airline passengers; behind issues with ticketing and boarding but, interestingly, ahead of complaints regarding delays and cancellations. In fact, according a report by the U.S. Department of Transportation, 165,246 pieces of luggage were lost in October 2009 (over 5,000 pieces per day).
With so much lost luggage, where has your highly protected mobile, home, direct-line phone number been spending its time? Perhaps it’s with the Arizona couple that stole over 1,000 pieces of luggage; data mining might have been more profitable than the contents of all those bags.
Using a Google Voice phone number on your luggage would make you more available while adding an additional layer of ‘protection’ for your personal information.
2. Google Voice and Your Career Search
In previous posts, I have detailed my concepts on bringing more intelligence to a career search by tracking hyperlinks in resumes and monitoring your social media profiles. I believe Google Voice can be used in a similar, powerful application for your job search.
Two features and their potential application:
Assigned Phone Number – use your Google-assigned phone number on applications, resumes, online profiles, etc. as your primary phone number. By exclusively using this phone number in your job search, you can actively monitor and manage your candidacy. In just one example, you could quickly identify and prioritize calls when you see an incoming number from a Google Voice-forwarded phone call. Your early awareness would help ensure the right phone demeanor, attitude, and readiness.
Caller-Customized Voice Mail – Google Voice allows you to record and play different voice mail messages based on the caller (when it can be identified). Combining this functionality with the ‘inbound’ phone numbers of perspective employers you can bring unique visibility to your candidacy. Using Google Voice you could – where appropriate for the corporate culture, hiring manager, or position – greet callers with a customized voice mail that thanks them for their call and concisely reinforces your candidacy.
Today’s competitive job market demands differentiating attentiveness, creativity, and relevancy…use Google Voice to assert yourself and your candidacy.
3. Google Voice For Small Business Marketing
Larger enterprises often have wonderful telephony systems that can track calls sourced from various sales and marketing campaigns. With this data, organizations are able to quantify performance and measure success of various offline and online tactics. This same concept can be emulated by small and very-small businesses with a Google Voice phone number.
Google Voice could be used to track your small business campaigns:
- Track phone-based inquiries from your website; listing your Google Voice number or using the Google Voice ‘call me’ feature.
- Identify prospects calling from a print mail piece (e.g. coupon flier, ad, etc.).
- List your Google Voice number on your business card for tracking referrals (i.e. distributing ‘referral’ business card to current customers), activity from networking events, etc.
- Place your Google Voice number on your work vehicle and track how many calls are generated from placement on business assets (could also be rental equipment, service tags, etc.).
- Use a Google Voice number as a ‘preferred customer’ line that identifies callers and greets those that cannot be answered by name/special reference in voice mail.
These concepts, and others, can bring Big Business sophistication and intelligence to every small business entrepreneur.
Oh, I have others… (but I know you’re tired of scrolling)
I know there are many other powerful, liberating, and inventive uses for Google Voice. Dating and the ‘single scene’ (talk about screening and filtering)? How about the freedom to use a phone number in your Craigslist ad (be available and protected)?
Have others? Post some comments, share the knowledge, and let’s preemptively save Google Voice.