More threads by Michael Charvet

Aug 8, 2012
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Hi, one of my clients is opening a new office and needs a new phone number for local listing purposes. He's reluctant to pay ongoing charges for a line that will be rarely used (all inbound calls are picked-up at another local office). All he really needs is a unique number that forwards to the main office. Is a Google Voice number fine for this purpose, or will that cause any undesirable downstream effects?
Getting a clean number is one potential issue. If you do decide to go with Google voice, make sure you do a search for the number first and make sure it wasn't associated with another business (or anything else) in the past. It'd be a good idea to get it live and point it to your phone for a week or two and see what the junk call volume is like, some numbers come pretty dirty. It's not a bad idea to use a proper tracking number though, if you're going to go that route. Callrail has some good tools for local businesses I know, though I haven't used them. (been a long time since I've worked with call tracking). Whatever you use, you're going to have to use it everywhere (treat it as a real phone number) but it can still be helpful to track what business came from the new location.

Why are they sending all calls to a central location though? There aren't a lot of circumstances where that's warranted. It's explicitly discouraged in Google's Guidelines:

Use a local phone number instead of central, call center helpline number whenever possible.
Hi Michael

If you're being a purist, you might consider local numbers are likely to have a slightly higher ranking preference as well.

Using a number that forwards to a central number implies the office may not be staffed, or that the listing may not be genuine.

Understand these are implications, not certainties. Without any more info it's unfair to say the client's listing is not good. Just raising the point from the perspective of how the behaviour could be perceived.
@james, @margaret

Thank you for your comments and reference to the Guidelines. The satellite office in this case is fully staffed and operational (I've been there). However, the owner wants calls to be answered at the main office simply because the staff that handles appointment-setting and billing issues is at that location. After some discussion, it was decided to assign a spare line at the main office as the number for the satellite office. Calls to the satellite office will be picked up directly at the main office. No forwarding, no voice tree, and no Google Voice. It think that will solve the issue.

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