It is about 45 days after moving my law office. The physical move was the easy part. All the furniture was transferred in a morning. Even moving all the furniture from one one side of the office to the other (flipping the office 180 degrees) took only an evening’s hard work.
Mail, on the other hand, took about 21 days to begin forwarding.
You may recall my prior post concerning porting my telephone number. Well, 45 days later and still no luck. Quite early on I decided I never wanted to deal with this problem again. I never again wanted to deal with the antiquated systems set up by the telephone companies for moving a telephone number.
The question became: how am I going to run my business without a phone?
Fortunately, my new landlord provides decent internet connectivity and Google recently released Google Phone to compliment its Google Voice offering. Google Phone lets me dial and receive calls from my Google phone number directly on my computer through the browser or have the numbers forwarded to another phone when I am not at my desk – for example: to my cell phone.
Sidenote: I have used Skype in the past and I still use it for interviews or when conferencing with other attorneys. However, I have had problems with echo and several clients complained about the sound quality when calling land lines.
After 45 days with Google Phone, I don’t see the need to go back to a land line. The audio quality is very good and any missed calls get transcribed by Google Voice and emailed to me.
The only problem has been the lack of a decent handset. I could use a headset, however I find them bulky and inconvenient. I neither want to wear a headset continously, nor do I want to keep putting on and taking a headset. I would use the iPhone headphones except my pre-unibody MacBook Pro does not have a unified headphone/microphone jack. So, instead, I have been using my laptops onboard speakers and mic — effectively using Google Voice as a speakerphone. This has worked, but my office has a quite a bit of echo, which reduces sound quality.
- Telephone calls go to Google Voice which sends the call to my desktop, and simultaneously to
- Line 2 which rings my iPhone via wifi VOIP.
I can either answer the phone through my browser (in speakerphone mode), or answer the phone though my iPhone via Line2 (without using cell minutes since Line2 uses VOIP). Line2 also has a number of other nice features such as better call handling than Skype on the iPhone (VOIP calls are not disconnected if someone calls your cell number). Line2’s service also degrades gracefully: if you cannot be reached over VOIP (wifi or 3G), Line2 calls you via the cell service. You can also select the priority of services Line2 should use to reach you (wifi, 3G or cell).
I have not used Line2 long enough to tell if it will be a permanent solution for me. Transferring calls to the iPhone seems to be hit or miss based on a few days testing.
If you are in a small office with a VOIP solution, let me know what has worked for you.
CC image credit: kozumel