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How The Pros Use Google Voice: 10 Google Voice Tips and Tricks

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One of the coolest things about Google Voice is how people actually use it. Once you get the basics of Google Voice down, the actual uses are far reaching. We tracked down some Google Voice Pros to find out how they use Google voice to be more productive, as a lifehack or just to connect with others.

Whether you are using it for work, or play, here are a few Google Voice tricks to maximize your time and communication. For more ways to use Google Voice, and how to use Google Voice, check out our Google Voice University series.

Getting Work Done With a Lost Phone: Mike Saxton, a Sci-Fi Author, shares how using Google Voice allowed him to keep working even when he lost his phone.

“I actually have a great use for Google Voice. It is the number that I give out to everyone, instead of my cell number. When I lost my phone, I was worried that I would miss important messages but since I have it set to send an email when I get a voicemail or text message, I was able to respond via the web interface (or call back with a land line) until I found my phone. Considering cell phone problems always seem to rise when you’re waiting for a phone call, this is a great back up to make sure that you get your messages with ease.”

Free Voicemail and Number for Potential Clients and Employers: Mark S. Meritt of Red Hook,  NY uses Google Voice to keep his real home phone number private and have free high quality voicemail. He also has a second Google Voice number in a different area code in case his business expands.

“I use Google Voice, but not at all for its supposed main purpose of having one number to give out. It does several other great things for me. I’m self-employed, and I wanted both voicemail and a separate number so I wouldn’t have to publicize my home number. With GV set to Do Not Disturb at all times, nothing rings through, and I get just what I want, for free.”

For Custom Greetings for Family and Clients: Tonya R. Taylor owner of Your Savvy Online Business Builder, uses Google Voice’s customizable voicemail settings, which we show you how to use, to tailor her voice mail messages to the caller.

“I can create custom greetings for a specific person, groups of people and a general greeting for random callers. I can create as many greetings as I have contacts they all work at the same time. For example: when my Grandmother calls the message says “Hello Grandmother I can’t get to the phone right now I will call you back as soon as I can, Love you!”. When I receive a business call they hear “You have reached Rising Star Ideas, LLC we can’t take your call at this time please leave your name and number someone will call you back shortly.”

To Get Rid of Telemarketers: Another tip from Tonya R. Taylor, is to use the call blocking feature of Google Voice, which you can learn about here, to stop telemarketing calls.

“Tired of those pesky telemarketers? Me too! Here’s a way you can get rid of them easily and for good. Simply block their number. The next time they call this is what they will hear “Where sorry you have reached a number that has been disconnected or no longer in service, please check the number and try your call again.” Surely they will take your number off their list.”

Allow Guests to Buzz In to Your Apartment: Tyler King of San Francisco, CA a software developer, uses Google Voice to allow people to buzz themselves into his apartment when he is on the road with a bit of Google Voice magic.

“I live in a big apartment complex which requires an RFID badge to get in. The problem is that I only get one badge, but I have a lot of people come by when I’m out of town (sub letters, people taking care of my pet, etc). Since I can’t give these people a badge to get inside, instead I set up a Google Voice number and listed that number in the “buzz-in” directory at the front door. Anytime I know someone will need access to my apartment, I forward my Google Voice number to their cell phone. Then they can use the apartment’s directory to call their own cell phone and let themselves in”

Record Questions for a Podcast: Peggy Duncan, a Personal Productivity Expert from Atlanta, GA, uses Google Voice to take calls from readers which she can easily put into a podcast.

“I have 2 GV numbers. The secondary one is used to record questions from my readers. They call the number and ask their question. I download the MP3 of their voicemail and incorporate it into a podcast I’m creating using Camtasia. Works perfectly.”

To Ring Everyone in The Office and Track Leads: Sam DeBoard, a Realtor in Seattle, uses Google Voice at the office to manage incoming calls from prospective clients by ringing all the office phones and uses Google Voice as a customer contact system.

“Our business, SeattleHome.com, uses Google Voice to organize all of our inbound client calls. We have multiple agents receiving calls from our inbound web site/Google voice number at the same time. They’re all set to a distinct ring on our cell phones, so that we all know it’s an incoming web lead. It doesn’t matter if one person is busy, because there will always be one of us available to answer and make sure we don’t miss a new client. Our assistant can also follow up at the end of the day and have a tracked record of incoming leads, received calls, and any missed calls. This way we have an organized customer contact system by just logging into our Google voice account.”

As a Dedicated Number for Adoring Fans and potential dates: Anand Bhatt, a Grammy recognized rock star, uses Google Voice to keep in touch with his female fans. A rep for Bhatt shared the following use with Notebooks.com.

“Celebrity Rock Star Anand Bhatt keeps a Google voice number solely for girls – that way they can’t get his real number and stalk and harass him! Also, he can respond to them easily regardless of what country he is at the time.”

Google Voice as an In Case of Emergency Contact (ICE) Number: Matt Podowitz, a safety expert in Atlanta, GA and co-founder of Safe Atlanta For Everyone, advises Notebooks.com readers to use a dedicated Google Voice number as the ICE number in their cell phones.

“CREATE A FAMILY “EMERGENCY ALERT” Set up a Google Voice number that is set to ring every adult family members home, office and mobile phone simultaneously, and that is known to every member of the family (including elderly or infirm family members and children old enough to understand when to use it). In the event of a bonafide emergency (medical emergency, car accident, criminal encounter, etc.) and *after* calling 911 if appropriate, a family member can dial the Emergency Alert number and communicate the details of the emergency to the first adult family member to pick up. This maximizes the possibility that an adult family member will get the call and answer it because it is coming from the family Emergency Alert number and gets another adult family member involved in dealing with the emergency as quickly as possible.”

Recording Phone Calls for interviews, directions and more: Josh Smith, Notebooks.com, Personally I use Google Voice to record calls of all kinds.

Most often I will use Google Voice to record an interview that way I have the correct quote later on without scrambling to write the entire conversation down. I also use Google Voice to save directions and to do information when I get a call from one of my many bosses. If I am dealing with a customer service representative and I want to make sure that I have a record of the call, I’ll also use Google Voice. The only downside is that you can only record incoming calls with Google Voice.

These real world uses of Google Voice are part of Google Voice University, a series designed to get anyone up and running with Google Voice. We’ve already covered How to get started with Google Voice and How to be Google Voice Power user; stay tuned for more Google Voice guides and how tos.

Josh Smith is a longtime mobile tech user, currently using a Droid as his primary smartphone. Josh is also an editor at Notebooks.com where he reviews notebooks and other mobile tech. Follow Josh on Twitter @Josh_Smith or email him Josh@Notebooks.com.

5 Comments

  1. David

    February 10, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    Hi Josh, I just started using Google Voice and really appreciate your article.

  2. erkme73

    July 6, 2011 at 8:01 am

    I realize this is nearly two-years old, but I just stumbled on it – and cannot get it to work. I followed the directions, and now have a local html file that when I open it, gives me the “call me” widget.

    However, when enter a name/number, my phone does not ring. I suspect, GV is actually calling the number I listed, and is trying to connect them to me.

    I was hoping I could use this to initiate calls to XYZ people, then start recording. Maybe I’m missing something?

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