Every business owner is conscious of the ways he or she allows clients to get in touch with them. They should assess what tools they have available to them and make a call (so to speak) about which tools to use. They should be interested to find the best way to handle their business communications.
I’ve watched the Skype vs Google Voice debate for the last few years. They’re two services that look quite similar on the surface, and have caused divides of opinion for quite some time now.
Before we get into the fray though, let’s touch upon what each of these services actually are.
Skype is an international VOIP service based in Europe, that has earned its fame for the free Skype-to-Skype call services it offers for desktop and notebook computers. It’s free to sign up, and you’re presented with a buddy list not unlike the ones found with other services such as AIM, Yahoo Messenger and iChat. You can tap on a Skype buddy’s name and use voice, video or instant messaging to communicate. Skype charges additional fees if you would like to have a phone number, call forwarding, voicemail services, etc.
There are several other free and low-cost services that are viable alternatives to Skype, but none of them really come close to the same level of proliferation. Skype is available all over the world and has a very large user base, perhaps the most important attribute for an app-based voice service.
Google’s Voice is Google’s attempt to change a few things about how phone calls should work. They give you a phone number, and it can be configured to call all of your phones, instead of requiring people to call each of your numbers one-by-one in an attempt to get hold of you. Furthermore, it adds voicemail transcriptions, free SMS facilities, and a mobile app to interface with your configuration when you’re on the go. Unfortunately, Google Voice is only available in the US.
That’s what’s on the table here. (I know there’s a number of other services in this field and for those of you who are interested in those, you can bundle them up in Skype’s side of the ring for the duration of this article.)
Which is better?
So. Which is better? They both do phone services, both have SMS, voicemail, phone numbers, all that jazz. Which comes out on top?
Here’s the answer: They cannot be compared. Eh? Allow me to explain.
For the last few days I’ve had this very questions in the back of my mind. I’m in the position where I need to be thinking about getting another phone line for our business, and like any wise business owner, I weighed up the options available to us. Skype is a service that I use on a daily basis for business for calling other Skype-savvy clients. I could expand this with a subscription and get me a phone number to increase my Skypeyness. Google manages our mail, and is centric to our SEO efforts for our clients. Google has a phoney-voicey thing to offer too. I like ‘em both. How to choose?
Then it dawned on me, while walking through our house eating one of Mrs. Fairhead Creative’s delicious chocolate cookies. “They don’t do the same thing.”
Skype offers the ability to extend their VOIP service to a phone line, so that one’s VOIP reach breaks out of the VOIP world and into the Phone world too.
Google Voice takes whatever existing phone services you use, and gives them all a single number as a front-of-house that will then call all the other numbers.
Google Voice and Skype can work together.
Solution for your business
If you’re in the US, you use Skype regularly, and want it to become part of your phone world too, then pick up an Online Number and get rolling. If you have a Skype subscription, Online Numbers are discounted 50%, and call forwarding is free. You can then pick up a Google Voice number and attach the Skype Online Number to that number, so it will ring in the times of day you’d like to accept calls, and it won’t when you don’t. You can add your cell phone number too, and get called wherever you are.
If you’re outside the US and want a similar setup, Google Voice is not an option. But you can get yourself that Skype Online Number, and turn on Call Forwarding so that when you’re away from Skype, it can still call your cell phone. The only difference is that only one or the other will ring, in this instance.
Both solutions work great, and both will open up more options for your business calling.
I’d love to hear your thoughts, and whether or not you can think of any other ways the two services can work together!
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