By Lars Lofgren
We find ourselves in unique times. Outsourcing manpower and remote workforces have become the very lifeline for businesses to continue uninterrupted operations.
Amidst all this chaos, conference calls have quickly become the need of the hour.
As well as for client meetings, you can use conference calling to stay in contact with your team members and ensure the smooth functioning of the daily activities of your business. Whether your employees are from abroad or around the country, there are plenty of amazing free and paid conference call services for you to try out.
In this guide, though, we’ll focus on an excellent cloud-based phone solution called Google Voice.
Read on as we show you how to set up Google Voice conference calls for professional and personal use, alike.
What is Google Voice Conference Calling?
A conference call is an audio or video call involving multiple participants. You can hold and attend conference calls on Google Voice.
People can join the meeting by dialing a number, which will connect them to a conference bridge. This bridge consists of virtual rooms where multiple people can host or join meetings.
Google Voice uses Google Hangouts to complete conference calls, though it doesn’t require you to have a separate, dedicated conference line in either app to host or join the calls. So when you make a conference call via Google Voice, you’ll have a dedicated space within your account with anytime-anywhere access to host a conference call.
3 Tools to Improve Google Voice Conference Calling
Now that we’ve discussed the meaning of a conference call, let’s take a look at what you need to easily make the call.
Google Voice Account
If you’re one of the very few people who doesn’t have a Google account, make sure you get one right away.
Before setting up a conference call, you have to be signed in to your Google account. Once that’s done, you can proceed to make a Google Voice number for you.
Don’t have a Google Voice account? I got you. Simply follow the steps below:
On the other hand, on clicking For Business, you’ll be redirected to a page with a Get Started button.
Once you click on the button, you’ll see three different pricing plans: Starter, Standard, and Premier. Select one that seems the most appropriate for your business requirements.
You can then sign up using your Google email address.
Any Device to Make the Google Voice Calls
You can use iOS and Android devices for Google Voice conferencing calling. It can be either a mobile phone, computer, or tablet.
A Stable Internet Connection
Although it’s not a tool per se, having a reliable internet connection to make and attend calls via Google Voice is incredibly important.
You see, Google Voice itself is cloud-based, which essentially means all its functions are held over the cloud, a.k.a over the internet. It’s why even you need the internet to use Google Voice.
I also recommend getting a strong internet connection to make sure your conference runs smoothly. This goes for everyone joining the call because if any participant has a weak connection, it’ll result in audio and visual lags, which, in turn, will affect the call quality.
The Basics of Google Voice Conference Calling
Let’s now dive into the core components of making a conference call through Google Voice.
No Holds Barred Conference Calling and SMS
With subscription plans starting at just $10 per user per month, Google Voice is one of the most cost-effective conference calling solutions you can get your hands on.
If you compare this price to the standard cell phone or landline packages, you’ll find Google Voice to be way cheaper. Plus, you don’t have to worry about any minute restrictions or overcharges either! It’s included in the base rate.
You can make unlimited free calls to the United States from any country, as well as from the US to Canada. Unlimited free SMS messaging is another benefit available to United States citizens.
As mentioned previously, you have to use Google Voice with Google Meets or Google Hangouts as the service doesn’t offer video chat and conference calling as standard features.
Incoming Calls Screening and Filtering
You can filter incoming calls through Google Voice—just like you set up filters and rules when emailing.
The filtering feature can be particularly useful to manage the incoming calls more efficiently, which, in turn, will allow you to boost productivity.
Whether it’s an old colleague you’d rather not talk to, receiving solicitation calls from spammers, or simply warding off unwanted numbers, Google Voice lets you send your calls to voicemail as well as block them altogether. You can also have a special voicemail message assigned to a specific number if you want.
The call screening feature is where a caller introduces themselves before the call is put through you. This way, you’ll have a better idea about who you’re going to talk to before actually picking up the phone.
Effortless Compatibility With Any Device
You get a free phone number from Google Voice that gives you unrestricted access from any device.
You can use your Google Voice number to make and receive calls through iOS, Android, or web applications, ensuring everyone on your team can stay connected from anywhere.
Bear in mind that you don’t get a desktop application for Google Voice, unlike other VoIP phone providers. Aside from the mobile apps, everything else is web-based.
Google Voice offers some fantastic scalable plans.
The Starter plan, for instance, is best for teams of up to 10 members where you’ll be limited to 10 domestic locations. However, if you upgrade to the $20 per user per month Standard plan, you’ll get unlimited users and unlimited domestic locations.
In addition to this, you get several other useful features like ring groups, eDiscovery for calls, SMS, and voicemail records, and multi-level auto attendants, to name a few.
The Premier package, starting at $30 for use of a month, is more suitable for people who operate internationally. This plan supports unlimited international locations in addition to the unlimited users and unlimited domestic locations offered in the Standard plan.
You can select a plan that suits your business requirements best, irrespective of how big or small your team is.
5 Tricks for Google Voice Conference Calling
You can use a few tricks and tips to optimize your conference calling experience on Google Voice. While there are many others, here are my top five:
Make Sure Everyone Knows About the Conference Call
Conference calls often take longer, which is why everyone needs to clear their schedules before hopping on a call. It’s also why you must ensure everyone knows about the conference call beforehand.
Moreover, participants will know when to call your Google number and at what time as well. When you’re on a call, you can press 5 to add every subsequent call.
You can create a Google Calendar invite, where you add Google Voice Conference Calling as an event before sending out invites to your guests. Or you can send a message or email telling them about your intent to hold a conference call.
The choice is yours.
Customize Day-to-Day Workflows
Google Voice can be great for customizing daily workflows around scheduled conference calls. It has an admin control center that lets you customize number assignments, porting, auto attendance, call forwarding, and reeling from a single location.
You can assign one of your Google Voice numbers to different users with just a few clicks.
Remember, the platform isn’t compatible with third-party software outside of the Google family. So don’t expect integrations with a CRM, helpdesk, or other apps.
Link More Phone Numbers
Google Voice users can use any other phone number to make and receive calls and texts. While you can link up to six different phone numbers, you can’t link numbers that have already been linked to a different Google Voice account.
Here’s how you can link a new phone number in Google Voice:
And that’s it! You’ve now linked a new number to Google Voice.
Detect and Deflect Spam
Nobody likes spam calls—not me, not you.
However, they’ve become an everyday occurrence with an increasing number of scammers and spammers using spam to get your personal information. Not only does spam expose your team to potential scams, but it also kills productivity.
Luckily, you don’t have to worry about spam when making conference calls through Google Voice.
The service utilizes artificial intelligence technology to automatically filter spam calls. You can also view your spam calls, texts, and voicemails from another section of your Google Voice app.
Think of it as your Gmail junk folder.
Record Calls for Future Use
Google Voice has a useful call recording feature that works with a single click.
All you have to do is press the number 4 on your dial pad once all the participants are on call. An automated announcement will play for all call participants, explaining that the call is being recorded.
If you want to stop the recording, press the number 4 again. You can also directly end the call to stop the recording.
All the call recordings can then be accessed and played back in your voicemail tab. This can be useful for future reference where you can go back to it in case you forget an important point that was discussed during the conference call.
Note: The call recording feature is only available for personal use and not for business use or workspace accounts.