Google Voice Is Exactly What I Needed (KS Lesson #271)

9 January 2020 | 9 Comments

Every now and then, I get a phone call from a Stonemaier Games customer. This is particularly odd, because my company doesn’t have a phone number; rather, I have a personal cell phone, and I don’t use it for customer service.

As it turns out, if you run an ecommerce store (e.g., Shopify) or you use Stripe (as Kickstarter creators do by default), your phone number appears on each customer’s credit card statement. So if they have questions about their order or they see a charge they don’t recognize, they can call that number, even if you don’t offer customer service by phone.

This has been a problem for a while–not a big problem, mind you, as I’ve had some pleasant conversations with people who forgot they ordered something from Stonemaier Games (and customers have easy access to me in a variety of other ways, most notably email and social media), but a problem no less, given that it’s my personal cell phone number–but our Director of Communications has fortunately found a solution.

As the title suggests, Google Voice is the solution. Google Voice lets you create a phone number that forwards calls to your phone or–as we’ve done–written transcriptions of voicemails. I really like that feature.

We still don’t technically offer customer service by phone, and this isn’t a number we’ll post publicly (I’ve updated it in Shopify and Stripe), but at least now we have a formal way of hearing from customers who find the number on their credit card statements.

It’s a little thing, but it’s been helpful for us, so I thought I’d share it with you!

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9 Comments on “Google Voice Is Exactly What I Needed (KS Lesson #271)

  1. Another very cool feature is that Google Voice accepts SMS text messages. We have a Google Voice number set up that forwards SMS to our ticketing system (ZenDesk) so that if anyone gets a one-time password via SMS for a shared service it goes to a central account rather than to them personally; if they leave the company they don’t take their OTP access with them.

  2. I used google voice for a few years when it first came out ~10 years ago and it had all the features I wanted… except those features weren’t reliable. I don’t know where it went awry, but people would occasionally say my phone number didn’t work or my voicemails would disappear or other glitches like that. Phone calls were too important to me back then to have that happen so I felt I had to move away from using it.

    However, now the people I communicate with don’t really use phones and I only answer calls from numbers I recognize (~5% of all calls I receive) so maybe it’s time to go back to it. The service has likely stabilized in the the years since I stopped using it anyway.

  3. Jamey, check out a device called Obitalk that you can buy as a physical device to link your physical phone or fax machine to your Google Voice number. It’s basically free VOIP home phone service that you can use to use routing, answering, screening, etc, rules to. Really neat. In addition, Google Voice can ring your computer through Google Hangouts, etc. Good luck!

  4. You shared your number with me a couple of years ago at GENCON so that I could text some pics to you. I cant tell you how many times I have almost accidentally called you. My hands free dialing gets confused between you and my wife…who is also named Jamie.

  5. I’ve been a subscriber to Google Voice for years. Although I don’t have any need for it in regards to business, I’ve used the service for personal use for a long time.

    I recommend it and trying it to see if it fits your needs.

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