The Hang Fire Books Blog

The rantings of a bookdealer in Brooklyn, New York.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Bookselling Tools: Google Voice as Business Line

I don't have an open shop and I conduct 99% of my business through email, so it doesn't make sense for me to pay for a dedicated business line.

Unfortunately this means that for the few customers who NEED to call--and for a pricey book or ambiguous description, I can't blame them--I either screen the unknown number and forget to play the message for days or I answer with my fuck-you-telemarketer voice, neither of which puts me on the best footing for a potential sale.

So when I heard about Google Voice I thought this could be a solution to my problem.

GVoice gives you a new Google-generated number (potentially matching your area code) which will forward calls to as many telephones as you choose to associate with it. It will also record voicemail as mp3, transcribe it to text (with hilarious results), and forward the message to your email.

In the settings you can tell GVoice to either display the number calling you (or the caller's name if they're in your phonebook) or your Google # for all incoming GVoice calls. I chose this second option and I added the number to my cell ID as "Hang Fire Books."

Now I know when a call is business and I can use my confidence inspiring, tweed-jacket, aged-whiskey voice rather than my paranoid shut-in voice.

There are many interesting setting and customizations--including the ability to filter phone calls like spam!--and I'm just beginning to experiment with it but I've gone ahead and added/made visible the number on all the bookselling platforms I use.

GVoice is still in the limited, invite only stage (Thanks Shawn!) but I'm sure it will soon spread like kudzu. If you try using it as a biz line, let me know of any tricks or kinks you find.

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