Now that it is integrated with G Suite, there is a lot of buzz these days about using Google Voice as a business telecommunications solution. Unfortunately, some businesses that have headed in that direction have found the experience frustrating, costly, and regrettable. Here are 10 key reasons why:
1. No Business Caller ID
Every business knows that caller ID is an absolute must-have feature. In fact, it shouldn’t even be called a “feature” at all. It’s a basic staple that simply can’t not be an option. This is not 1992 anymore.
There are three major problems with Google Voice caller ID:
- The first problem is that when you make outgoing calls through the Google Voice app, your business’s phone number doesn’t appear. Instead, your Google Voice number does.
- The second problem is that Google Voice might not display your business name (CNAM). Instead, what may show up is a generic city name — or it might be blank.
- The third problem is that if you make calls from your smartphone instead of the Google Voice app, then your personal number will be displayed — not your business number. In addition to this being a significant privacy and security risk, the optics are terrible and it makes a business look unprofessional and amateur.
2. No Technical Support
If you run into challenges with Google Voice — or just need some clarification or guidance on how to configure and optimize different features — then you will NOT be able to contact Google directly. There is no support phone number or email address. The only options you have are a messy “crowdsourcing” platform (that is riddled with frustrated customers), and online documentation that could take you hours to wade through, and still may not solve your problem. As one Reddit user warned:
“I had some huge issues porting in that took forever to get resolved by Google. Their support seems to be slow and relies on a ‘try again next week and see if the problem resolves itself’ attitude. As far as business usage, I would absolutely NOT recommend it. Even at a low volume of calls, I’m betting you miss 1-2 business calls per day that get sent mysteriously straight to voicemail”.
3. Porting Limitations
Porting is the process of transferring a phone number from one service provider to another. Google Voice does not support porting for any of the following types of numbers:
- Toll-free numbers.
- Vanity numbers.
- Numbers from unmanaged accounts to managed Voice for G Suite accounts.
- Numbers between different G Suite domains.
- Numbers not within the Google Voice coverage area, even if in a supported country/region.
- Numbers from multiple service providers (unless separate port requests are filed).
It’s up to each business to manually submit port requests and to ensure that all information is complete and accurate. Depending on the volume of numbers and service providers, this could take several hours. Google will not do any of this. You’re basically on your own.
4. SMS Problems
Some businesses are facing major headaches when trying to use Google Voice for SMS (i.e. text messaging). Here is a comment from a frustrated user posting in the Google Voice crowdsourcing platform:
“I can not send messages on Google Voice. I have waited 24+ hrs between text and still getting message “Message Failed To Send”. I can receive calls and text from other people, but just can’t reply. I have tried to call the 855# for help, but didn’t get any wheres with that. I thought it was due to a massive amount of text and group texts, as I use this Google Voice for my work number as I am a manager of 98 employees and they have to text me their time sheets weekly. I have deleted a massive amount of texts, and still not working. I need help!!!!”
5. Feature Limitations
Google Voice does not support advanced calling features such as hunt groups (i.e. automatically calling different numbers in succession in order to minimize the chances of a call being unanswered). They also do not allow toll-free numbers or vanity numbers.
6. Blocked Calls
There are reports that certain phone numbers cannot call a Google Voice number — and vice versa. Granted, this is less common now than when Google Voice first arrived on the scene, but it is still a problem.
7. Quality Issues
The quality of calls made through Google Voice can be hit-or-miss. Sometimes, the quality is fine. Other times, the quality is poor and the audio is “scratchy” or there is latency. What’s more, there is no way to determine when quality will be good or bad. All that you can do is hope that you get lucky.
8. Privacy Concerns
9. Voicemail Confusion
For incoming calls, Google Voice imposes a delay — around 5 seconds — between when the phone stops ringing, and voicemail picks up. This causes confusion for many callers who don’t know if their call has been dropped, or if it has been picked up and the party on the other end cannot hear them (or vice versa).
10. No Implementation Help
If you want to meet face-to-face with someone who works for Google Voice, then forget about it. There is zero local presence. You can’t meet them, and they aren’t going to come and meet you on-site to manage the implementation and user onboarding process. Google is expecting you to be self-service. If you have a problem…. Good luck finding anyone local to help you. Even the few Google partners do not want to help you because they only make a few cents for selling the Google Voice services. Google has plenty of blogs for the self-help individual that is willing to search for the problem and possible solutions offered by the general community of users.
The Bottom Line
We believe that Google Voice might be a fairly good solution for PERSONAL calling (although bear in mind that for individual users, there is no emergency/E911 calling option). Yes, there are lots of limitations, drawbacks, and bugs, but it’s free — and for some people, that offsets all of the problems.
However, for the 10 reasons described above, we do not think that Google Voice is a legitimate business telecommunications system. And we are certainly not alone in this view. Here is what a Reddit user responded when asked “Would you recommend Google Voice for Business?”