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Grasshopper vs Google Voice: Phones for Small Business Owners

Emily Kane

Unless you want to be tied to your desk all day, you need a way for important calls to reach you on your mobile phone.

Years ago, the only way was to forward calls to your mobile phone on the way out of the office – but then you run into the hairy situations of not being able to easily distinguish between personal and business calls, forgetting to set the forward, or customers getting your personal voicemail greeting…

Nowadays, there are a host of options to solve this problem, but they are not all created equal. Two services that stand out as major contenders are Google Voice and Grasshopper. Both help to elegantly handle the problem of juggling multiple phones numbers and needing to be two places at once.

Both allow you to add multiple existing phone lines to your account, so that all phones ring when the number is called. Both allow you to access your voicemail online. Both give you voicemail transcripts. In many ways, they are quite comparable…

For business owners, Google Voice offers the distinct advantage of being free, but has few other advantages over Grasshopper, which caters exclusively to businesses (plans start at $26/month). For instance, Grasshopper allows for transferring to other extensions in the account, provides an auto-attendant, and company directory. These key features convey professionalism, and prevent customers from feeling like they are just calling some guy’s cell phone (they may be, but they don’t need to know that).

Grasshopper is the superior solution for the typical business owner, as shown by the versatility (and potential for expansion) in the features. However, plenty of people are achieving results with Google Voice, are already invested in such a system, and may have more trouble switching over than just using what already works for them. If you’re using Google Voice without trouble, keep at it! If, though, you’re frustrated with missing features, or wish you could handle more lines and multiple extensions, Grasshopper is a great option.

Google Voice certainly works. For example: if someone dialed your 800 number and extension, the call can ring to your cell and desk phone simultaneously. If you don’t pick up, it can transfer the caller to one of two voicemail greetings. If it is a personal contact, it sends them to a personal greeting. If it is a business call or any caller that is not a known contact, they get your business greeting. At your desk, you can choose to pick up the call on the cell or desk phone – no need to remember to forward, and no need to dial in to my work line to listen to voicemails.

If that’s all you need, problem solved!

For plenty of others (like many of our clients), a more agile solution is preferable, even if is a paid service. Grasshopper is one of the leading options out there, but we’d love to learn what you use, or what your experiences with other services has been like, and if you’re just getting into setting up forwarding your business calls, give Grasshopper a try!

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