It has many features similar to the Google Voice call management system such as online voicemail and the ability to route calls to multiple phones. But it also has more sophisticated call management features that are useful for businesses. Here are a few that stand out.
- Multiple users & extensions: Each employee can have their own extension and login at “yourcompany.phonebooth.com” to manage their account and voicemail. When a caller dials an extension, they will be routed to up two of that user’s phones (such as home and mobile) before going to their voice mailbox.
- Auto Attendants: An auto attendant allows you create a menu of options for your callers (press “1″ for Emily, “2″ for Sophie, etc.). You can even include the option to dial-by-name. If you’d like to get fancy, you can set up multiple auto attendants to create a tiered arrangement of options. How many menus you can have before annoying your callers is another question.
- Call Groups: Just like “hunt groups” for traditional phone systems, you can define a set of users/extensions that a call will route to in a particular order or simultaneously. You might set up a group for a particular department like customer service or sales.
- “Contact Us Plus” Widget: A more elegant version of the the Google Voice “Call Me” widget, this feature provides a customer friendly “click-to-call” box on your website. It tucks neatly into the side of your website so it occupies practically no space. When opened, it displays your main business number along with individual extensions – with even their gravatars and social media links.
Like Google Voice, Phonebooth Free doesn’t provide actual phone service. That is, you still need your own phone lines – whether they are land-lines, cell phones, or VOIP. The free version gives you up to 50 users & extensions, one local phone number, and unlimited call groups and auto attendants. The primary limitations are 200 inbound minutes per month (6 cents each additional) and 50 voice transcriptions per month (your voicemail messages converted to emails).
You can upgrade at any time to Phonebooth’s “On Demand” service starting at $20 per month per user. Their paid version includes VOIP phone service, unlimited usage minutes, 2 phone numbers (with the option to add more) along with other features such as conferencing and call logs. Not all area codes are available yet, but they are continually adding more.
The Phonebooth call management system offers an easy to use online interface, including a friendly “Stepper” feature that walks you through the setup of the various features.
Google Voice still has the advantages of unlimited minutes, conference calling, and voice transcriptions (marginal accuracy notwithstanding). However, Google Voice is designed for the individual user, whereas Phonebooth Free is clearly geared for businesses.
The service is only a few months old, so there are still many features in development. Despite its few limitations, Phonebooth Free is a compelling alternative to Google Voice for small business users.
You can sign up for your Phonebooth Free account and let us know what you think of the service and whether it helped you better manage your business.