How to Leverage Google Voice for Your Computer Repair Business

google-voice

Many computer repair technicians fall into the same boat: they run a small business from their home office and primarily provide onsite service. When I used to be the sole person servicing customers, life was easy and a single phone number without any fancy features was more than ample.

However, adding workers behind your name and expanding a mobile workforce can be difficult without some sort of centralized phone system to handle call routing. The question remained: how do I take advantage of features that only in-house complex phone systems generally provide? I had a shoestring budget, didn’t want to install any complex hardware, and I had a soft-spot for cloud software. To my surprise, Google Voice saved the day.

It has been about two years since I founded the computer repair company FireLogic, and now manage a team of 5 people which includes a mixture of part-time and full-time workers. My customers are oblivious to what runs our advanced phone system. Little do they know that a totally free piece of cloud software is what connects them to our cell phones on a dime. If you’re on the prowl for a highly-customizable, free virtual phone system, Google Voice may be your answer.
Here’s how my company FireLogic leverages the power of Google Voice:

Pre-planned phone ring schedules

One of the most powerful features that Voice offers mobile computer repair companies is ring schedules for the phones of all your workers. Mind you, this is even useful for a sole tech that doesn’t wish to be bugged with client calls at 1am in the morning. The setup for Voice in this regard is very simple: merely add in all of your techs’ phone numbers that should accept calls from the company number, and then set a custom schedule for each tech depending on when he is supposed to be “on call.”

It works tremendously well and gives you the power to route calls like a traditional company in a non-traditional way. Customers don’t know the different as they believe they are hitting the main company line each time they call, and your techs can be out in the field making money instead of sitting around a stagnant office. A win-win for both sides of the equation.

Unlimited texting to & from client cell phones

If there is one thing customers consistently compliment me on, it is that I am one of the only companies in my area to offer texting to customers. Why is this such a big deal? Think about how our client base is rapidly changing: even soccer moms are texting day in and day out.

Why shouldn’t computer repair companies be forced to keep up with the trends? I think it’s a natural evolution of how we do business, and the post-2010 era has introduced a clear need for offering customers the ability to text in requests. A traditional phone system cannot match this feature in comparison to Google Voice. While I choose not to do so, you can even have all of your techs receiving and sending texts from clients. There is no lack of liability in terms of historical records, as Voice stores all text message history indefinitely in your account.

Contact grouping for call management & routing

Have you ever wanted existing clients to get a different voicemail message from the long, drawn out one your new callers may hear? Google Voice proudly offers this functionality along with a bevy of other options related to contact grouping.

Calling Groups are extremely powerful in Voice as a way to create distinctive routing rules, separate voicemail messages, and also control if particular groups need to have their calls screened before they are answered. This may be useful if, perhaps, you want to tell Voice to allow all known current customers directly through to techs’ phones but new “unknown” callers have to get screened by announcing their name first before the call is answered. It’s a useful way to keep out abusive users that try to hide behind masked telephone numbers.

Voicemails-as-text in your inbox & indefinite historical records

How do we check messages on a traditional phone system? We either have to call in to a mailbox and listen to the message, trying to copy down the details as the user spits them out. Google Voice solved this problem and offers a multitude of options for how you can receive voicemail messages. One of the most useful features of how Voice handles voicemail is by sending you transcriptions over email as well as keeping these messages stored indefinitely inside the online interface.

The emails contain an embedded version of the voicemail which can be played back on the fly, downloaded as an MP3, or forwarded to anyone of your choosing. The online interface offers similar functionality with expanded options on archiving messages, adding notes to voicemails, and also editing the transcriptions manually to correct mistakes.

The golden question everyone always asks me: how much does it cost? Whether or not it will stay this way is anyone’s guess, but for the foreseeable future Google Voice is completely free. There is no restriction on businesses using the system and Google actually encourages it openly. And the features I discussed are merely the ones I employ for my needs; there are dozens of other neat things you can do in Voice such as making calls right on your headset within Gmail, easily searching through your entire call/text/voicemail history through the web interface, and even call blocking former clients or vendors.

My company has greatly benefited from Google Voice, and I think your computer repair business could utilize the service in just as useful of a manner. Feel free to give it a try through either your personal or Apps-powered Google account today. If you currently employ Voice, let us know in the comments area below how it fits your business needs (or doesn’t).



Derrick Wlodarz

About the Author

Derrick Wlodarz
More articles by me...
Derrick Wlodarz is an IT Specialist that owns Park Ridge, IL (USA) based technology consulting & service company FireLogic, with over 8+ years of IT experience in the private and public sectors. He holds numerous technical credentials from Microsoft, Google, and CompTIA and specializes in consulting customers on growing hot technologies such as Office 365, Google Apps, cloud hosted VoIP, among others. Derrick is an active member of CompTIA's Subject Matter Expert Technical Advisory Council that shapes the future of CompTIA exams across the world. You can reach him directly at derrick@wlodarz.net.

Comments (14)

  • Jonah says:

    I only have wto reservations about Google voice.
    I have read some complaints concerning reliability, people trying to call and not getting through, I would hate to be in a situation where I had hundred of flyers/business cards /ads out there with a Google phone number and then starting to discover people were trying to reach me and getting number not found errors or ringing but never being picked up problems.

    The other consideration is wanting incoming calls to be toll free, if I wanted to do remote repair sessions for locations in other towns or states even, it would be helpful to have a toll free number for those customers, and some of the toll free alternatives cost as little as $15 a month.

    • Justin says:

      Clients don’t call me at one am because the landline is in a different room and the cell stays off!

      Google Voice is great. It prevents a phone company from holding my number hostage. Since I’ve had Google Voice it’s kept me more in touch with my friends and customers.

    • Justin says:

      You can point your toll-free number at your google voice number.

  • Tom says:

    I’ve been using GV since the GrandCentral days, and have never had any complaints from customers trying to get a hold of me. I’ve even went through the porting process without issue.

    Nice article. I like that I can text with customers from my desktop with a GV plugin. The integration on Android is only OK IMHO.

  • Chuq says:

    I have been using google voice for about 3 years along with magicjack and it has been very beneficial. Saves minutes on my cell, keeps from having to give out a personal cell number, can choose when I want calls etc. Also, you can record the calls which is handy if you are driving or busy and cannot write down information.
    I use 2 magicjacks and have my google voice roll the calls over to both lines which makes it nice for the customers calling, they don’t go to voicemail, and escentially I can have 4 calls at one time due to call waiting.
    No monthly bills keeps the overhead down!

  • Tony Scarpelli says:

    I’m looking for a way to record all incoming calls, that I can review each evening when I am out of the store. Does this allow me to do this?

    I’d also like a list of all phone numbers which called my main number each day so that I can track who comes in and who doesn’t, as well as see which calls that do not come in are followed up by employees.

    Thanks

    • JR Batson says:

      Tony,

      Google Voice does both of these. under your account you can check call history, and have all voicemails copied to an email address. It really is a great tool for someone who doesn’t want to spend a lot of money on a phoine system.

  • Carlos says:

    Most of my customers contact me first by text, I think in part because if they are at work, they can’t call asking for help for their personal computer problems, so text is very handy, and in many cases new customers tell me that they texted other techs, and I was the only one that responded

    Also for on site visits, I prefer when customers text me their address, then I can just coopy/paste to google maps ( I handle my texting from my laptop, a plus with google voice), and I get to keep record of the conversations. The repeat callers are classified in groups ( and I have a group called “only calls for free tech support” and those get a greeting that prompt them to leave their number, and the time they want to book an appointment :)..and they never do )
    I hope it never become a paid service, unless that means more features.

  • Wayne says:

    Is this still a USA only thing?

  • TechLady says:

    I finally got brave enough to use my Google Voice number on all my business stuff–paperwork, business cards, website, etc. I’m so glad I did. Having my cell number out there was not ideal for a lot of reasons and it had none of the awesome features Google Voice does.

  • TechPro57 says:

    I have had some issues with Google Voice not texting me an alert to my cell phone when I set it up to do so.

    I believe this to be a known issue. It can happen because the cell company won’t let the text go through because it “seems” to be coming to them from a “spammer” (Google).

  • Neon says:

    The information in your website is incredible.Anything about google is very intersting you provide Very good and unique information to us. It is very well written. I am looking forward for your more posts in the future.

  • Micky says:

    I have had some issues with the call only ringing once on my cell and then dropping the call. Also the text feature is great but spotty on its accuracy. You can get the general message but it still needs work to be able to correctly get the message right. Overall I love the product but there are still a few things they need to work out.