Swapping Your Cell Phone and Google Voice Phone Numbers
Originally posted on 10/08/2018. Content is still relevant but updates are below.
When I first started this business, I used my phone number as both my personal and my business phone. This was fine at first, but when I started getting phone calls and text messages outside of business hours, especially at 3 AM, I realized I created a monster.
It’s really hard for me to see a text or call from someone and not respond. You probably know the feeling. But what do you do when you’re trying to keep boundaries between your personal life and business? It’s great customer service to take phone calls after hours when people are struggling with their tech, but I can’t be ON all the time.
Beyond this though, I’ve been struggling to keep up with phone calls and text messages for quite a while. Now that I have an assistant, I have been trying to think of a way to give her control of my phone, while still having access to it myself. I have 2-step verification codes going there and countless friends and family have that number. I didn’t want to abandon it.
My solution: Google Voice.
With Google Voice, you can make and receive calls from any number of devices. The phone will ring on every device you set it up on! This means my assistant can take calls and respond to texts if I’m not available. I can also set up an autoresponder for text messages. How great is that?
I’ve had a Google Voice number that I’ve had memorized for years and I haven’t done anything with it. But I decided to change that about a week ago. I would swap my Google Voice number that no one knows but me to AT&T. Then I would transfer my AT&T line to Google Voice.
Not very many people have a Google Voice number they would want to keep, which means you don’t have to do steps, 1 and 6. Just ask your carrier to add a line and you’re good to go!
HERE ARE THE STEPS I TOOK TO MAKE THE SWAP:
- I transferred my Google Voice number I wanted to keep to a secondary Gmail account so when I ported (transferred) my AT&T number to the account, I didn’t lose the one I wanted. When you port a line out, it’s cancelled. When you port a line in, you’re replacing what’s there.
- I ported my phone number from AT&T to Google Voice for $20. Instructions here. Once the port was complete (it took 10 minutes), I was able to make phone calls from my 13-year-old AT&T number on Google Voice on my iPhone using the Hangouts app.
- My phone line got canceled on AT&T so I called them to add a new phone line. I told them I wanted to add a line to my account and port my Google Voice number to AT&T.
- Once on the phone, the AT&T rep had me go here to unlock my Google Voice number for $3 (this is the one I wanted to keep that I’ve had for years and haven’t done anything with.)
- After I unlocked my Google Voice number, he asked me for the account number and password. The account number is your Google Voice number and the password is the password to access your voicemail. You can reset this from Settings at voice.google.com.
- A couple minutes later, my number was ported to my new AT&T line! Instead of waiting for them to send me a SIM card to put in my phone, I went to an AT&T store and they set me up with the new SIM with my new number.
- After all this, deregister your phone from iMessage. If you don’t, you’re going to have all kinds of people trying to text you and it’s not going to go through.
At the time of writing this post, it’s been a few days since I switched over and I’m still working through the kinks and figuring out the best workflow for my assistant and me. I will say that it’s way better already. I plan on eventually setting up an autoresponder to my texts message to help funnel all tech questions or schedule inquiries into email so that my assistant can see them all there.
After about a year of using Google Voice for my business line, I had to find something else. The call quality was too unreliable. This was before Google made Voice a core service for Google Workspace, so I'm sure it's more reliable now. I don't hear complaints about it from people I know who use it. The primary complaint is that the number Google gave them gets flagged as SAPM.
To fix this, report your phone number is legitimate to cell providers using these links:
I ended up switching to DialPad which has been better solution for us. We can send phone calls to voicemail and auto-respond to text messages after-hours. I can have multiple people log into the same account without exposing my entire Google account to other staff members. It's definitely an option worth looking into for virtual phone numbers.
I hope this helps you in your journey!
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