What phone number to give out?
Many small cake businesses ask us about the propriety of giving out a non-business phone number to their clients. For example, “Is it OK to give customers your cell phone or even home phone number.” Those businesses who operate in a rented commercial kitchen or from home need to be accessible and professional. Some opt for setting up a separate business line or business only cell phone.
Google Voice makes it much easier for small business owners to be readily available to their clients no matter where they are, at home or on the go, without the additional expense of a new phone line. Think of it as a central phone system for your cake businesses.
Once you have an account, Google will handle all of your incoming calls and voicemails re-routing them to your existing phone lines. You’ll never miss another call and more importantly, you can screen your calls live. If you’re a small cake business working out of your home to save money or operating from a rented kitchen and a cell phone, this tool is very cool. As a growing, legitimate business, you don’t want to give out your home or cell number. With Google Voice you can give customers and suppliers your new Google Voice number instead.
How does it work?
First, Google Voice is still invite only. In order to participate, you need to request an invitation from Google. I am giving away an invite for one of my readers. (read below)
Once you get your invite, you identify your zip code and/or area code so that Google can populate a list of available numbers in your area. If possible, try and pick one that will be easy for your customers to remember or that will have some other business significance.
After selecting a number, you’ll be asked to select at least one existing phone number to connect with it. For example, you may want your Google Voice number to connect to your home phone number, or to your cell phone. To verify the numbers, Google Voice will send you a code that you’ll need to enter into the Google Voice Web site.
Once you’re verified, you Google Voice number will be synced to whatever other numbers you’ve connected to it. Any time someone calls your Google Voice number, the phone or phones you’ve tied to it, will ring. Caller ID can recognize that the call is ringing from your Google Voice number. Moreover, a voice prompt can alert you that the call is from your Google number.
Google Voice Summary
Google Voice is a must have for you small cake businesses who don’t want the additional expense of a second business line. Adopting a Google Voice number and then forwarding it to your home, will give you an added sense of security and credibility. It will allow you to answer work-related calls while you’re out of the kitchen/office.
Other features include call screening, mobile apps for many cellphones and Voicemail transcripts sent to your email. It is virtually impossible to miss a prospective customer’s contact if you check your email frequently.
Google Voice is a great application for small bakery business owners to help them manage voice communications. Whether you’re adding some credibility to your business with a professional number or just making it so your business line forwards to your cell phone, it’s a great tool to keep in touch with customers. If you’re interested, head over to the Google and request an invite.
Win A Google Voice Invite
For those of you with a blog, website, Twitter account or Facebook account, win an invite from me just by linking to our site: Cake-Business.com and posting a comment below. If you don’t have a website or any way to link to us, that’s OK too. Mention this post in another forum or website and you’ll also be entered. I will select a winner at random from the comments below on November 1, 2009. Good luck!