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Friday, July 31, 2009

A Phone Number That Goes Wherever You Go

At our sister company, Downstream Exchange Company, we receive phone calls from clients that held onto flyers or business cards as far back as ten years ago. Downstream has not changed its phone number since its inception 30 years ago. Unfortunately, many times REALTORS® do not have the luxury of keeping their numbers for extended periods of time. If you change offices, your office phone number changes; if you relocate to a different city, your home office phone number changes. And if you change your cell phone company, you may or may not be able to hold onto your cell phone number.

Recently, I have been testing a solution that not only gives you a phone number that you can keep forever, it also allows you to redirect that number to any of your phones. In 2007, Google purchased a company called Grand Central. About 2 years later, it relaunched the Grand Central service as Google Voice. Previously, I have raved about other Google products, but this one is one of the best Google products I have used so far.

One Number to Reach You Everywhere
Google Voice will give you a phone number. You have a choice based on zip code or area code. This number will be your new permanent phone number. You can add multiple phone numbers to your account and your Google Voice number will forward calls to any of your current phones, be it a cell phone or land line. Your Google Voice number will always remain the same. Callers will always be able to reach you through your Google number no matter what your "real" phone number is.

Free Calls to Anywhere in the US
Unlike Skype, you are not required to make your calls through the computer. Also, Skype charges you to call real phone numbers. To make a free phone call to US numbers, you initiate the call on Google Voice. Google will call your designated phone and than the recipient.

Free Text Messaging That is Archived
You can send and receive text messages in your Google Voice account. Google groups the messages together like a conversation and archives them for easy accessibility.

Voicemail Transcribed
All voicemails are transcribed into text. Your voicemails are searchable and also can be emailed when you receive them.

Google Voice looks to be the future of communication that will be very useful for real estate professionals. The service is still in beta. I had to wait about 1 month to receive my invitation to use the service after I registered.

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