Grasshopper Phone System Integrations and Alternatives
The Grasshopper Phone System works atop existing mobile and landlines, but what else does it integrate with? How does it fit into other systems? What are alternatives?
In this section, we explain not only how Grasshopper integrates with existing technologies, but also how it works as an alternative to larger, hardware systems and multiple cell phones.
Search giant Google has its own virtual phone service, and it’s called Google Voice. Google Voice is available to anyone who has a Google account. It gives users a local number that can be forwarded to another number.
Note: There is a lot of speculation in the VoIP and cloud phone sphere that Google Voice will be shut down. Google originally planned to discontinue the service on May 15, 2014, but it has yet to happen. It’s rumored that when Voice comes to an end, some of its functionality will be folded into Hangouts.
What features does Google Voice have?
Google Voice has voicemail, voicemail transcription, call screening, call blocking, call history, conference with Hangouts, greetings, international calling, and SMS to email.
How is Grasshopper different than Google Voice?
Google Voice is for individual consumers. Google Voice is for any individual consumer, while Grasshopper is designed for small businesses and entrepreneurs.
Grasshopper has many more features than Google Voice. It has unlimited extensions, multiple numbers, customer greetings, human voicemail transcription, auto attendant and more.
- Toll Free numbers.
Grasshopper offers toll free numbers beginning with 800, 888, 877, 866, and 855, allowing customers to call your business easily. We also offer local numbers. Google Voice only gives a local number.
- Own your number.
When you sign up for Grasshopper, you own the rights to your toll free or local number. If you decide to change service providers you can take the phone number with you. For a business, this is extremely important as the majority of marketing materials (business cards, website, etc) contain a business phone number. With Google Voice, the number is not yours. If you wish to change numbers, there is a fee.
- Customer support.
If something isn’t working correctly what do you do? Grasshopper offers free 24/7 support and can always be reached via Twitter or Facebook. Google Voice currently offers support via their forums.
How much does Google Voice cost?
Google Voice offers free local numbers to any U.S resident. Domestic and outbound calls to the US (including Alaska and Hawaii) and Canada are currently free of charge while international calls are billed according to a schedule posted on the Google Voice website.
There is a fee to change your Google Voice number however Google Voice recently announced the ability to port numbers for $20. Porting is currently limited to cell phone numbers.
Using Grasshopper with Google Voice
If you want to take advantage of Google Voice but need the features that Grasshopper offers, you can have your Grasshopper number forwarded to your Google Voice account. The services can be used together.
Using Skype With Grasshopper
First let us just say, we love Skype! It’s a great tool and we want to help you understand how you can use it with Grasshopper to create a powerful (and inexpensive) professional image for your business.
Skype and Grasshopper can be used together in perfect harmony. You can combine your Grasshopper and Skype systems for both inbound and outbound calling.
To use Skype for inbound calling, you simply forward your Grasshopper number to your SkypeIn or online number.
- A SkypeIn number runs around $2.99 a month. Check out their rates & subscription page for more info.
- Note: If you want to call out directly from Skype, you will not be able to show the outbound number as your Grasshopper number since you have to confirm your number with an SMS message.
The nice thing about Skype is it that when used with Grasshopper, it can help your business stay connected and sound professional at a low cost. Wins for all.
What’s the difference between Skype and Grasshopper?
- Inbound vs Outbound Calling
Skype is great for outbound calling while Grasshopper focuses on inbound calls. Skype can help a company save money on outbound calls, especially on international calls. Grasshopper focuses on giving businesses the ability to sound professional when taking inbound calls from prospective or current customers.
While Skype is internet-based (VOIP), Grasshopper is based on actual phone networks. VoIP requires you to have a strong internet connection to use the phone service.
- Phone numbers
Skype currently offers SkypeIn numbers, allowing you to get inbound calls through Skype. SkypeIn numbers are local numbers and include voicemail and call forwarding. Grasshopper allows you to have toll free or local numbers for your business and includes features like auto-attendant, voicemail extensions, after-hours settings and more.
Your Cell Phone
When people start businesses, often they opt to use their personal cell phones. This can work at first, but quickly gets complicated. What if you add an employee and want calls to go to them? What if you get confused between business and personal calls? What would you even record for a voicemail message? How would you answer the phone?
Here are the benefits of using Grasshopper instead of your cell phone:
- A business phone number (local or toll free) that’s just for professional use.
- Enhanced privacy—no giving out your personal number.
- Main greeting and voicemail messages that are customized for your business.
- Ability to add extensions as you hire and add employees.
- You’ll always be prepared. Know who is calling from with Grasshopper’s Call and Announce feature
Grasshopper works atop your existing cell phone or land line, so that you can do business with the cell phone you already have. If you hire employees, you can simply add extensions to their cell phones. That way, everyone can use what they’ve already got.
Grasshopper Mobile Apps
If you have a smartphone, simply download our iOS and Android mobile app and make calls from wherever you are. Our apps are free with your account. Our apps allow you to keep your mobile phone number private and appear as though you’re always in the office. You can call clients and customers using your smartphone, but show your Grasshopper caller ID. If you have multiple Grasshopper numbers, you can choose which ones people see.
From your smartphone, you can:
- Make calls showing your Grasshopper caller ID
- Check voicemails, faxes and call history
- Set up push notifications for missed calls and messages
- Sign & email faxes and PDFs
- Easily call extensions on your Grasshopper account
Many cable providers offer business landlines. These systems are great, but only if you’re in the office all the time, which isn’t the case for most small business owners and entrepreneurs.
If you rely on a landline, you’re chained to your desk. With Grasshopper, you can forward calls to your landline when you’re in the office, and your cell phone when you’re not. You can set up your system in ways that work for you.
Grasshopper allows freedom and flexibility that landline office phones can’t. Thankfully, if you like using a landline, you can do so with Grasshopper. You can easily forward any Grasshopper calls to a landline system.
Let’s face it—landlines are going out of style. Yes, they are functional in many circumstances, but we’ve been given a taste of freedom with our personal cell phones, a freedom that’s difficult to give up.
A Larger System with Hardware
Grasshopper is a great option if you’re not sure whether or not you need the functionality of office phone hardware. Traditional phone systems (where every employee has a standard phone on their desk) are expensive. Plus, they’re inflexible.
A virtual phone system is easy to use—you don’t need any equipment besides cell phones. All your employees can bring their cell phones to work and do business from their own devices.
Grasshopper may not be your best option if you’ve already splurged on a hardware system and are looking for a provider. We work best on top of existing systems, such as an existing cell plan or land line.
Don’t tangle yourself in wires if you don’t have to—opt for a virtual phone system instead.
Alternative to Multiple Cell Phones
Traditional phone systems don’t make sense for everyone. So, business owners provide their employees with “work only” cell phones. This makes sense in theory, but it’s inconvenient for employees and expensive for businesses. It’s also hard to keep track of everyone’s number.
Rather than buying expensive smartphones and plans for each employee, why not take advantage of the phones they’re already using?
Here’s how Grasshopper allows employees to user their existing cell phones for business calls:
- Each employee gets a personal extension, which rings their cell phone when needed.
- Employees can transfer calls to each other as needed.
- Employees can do business wherever they are (in the car, at a project site, at home), connected by one business number.
Multiple cell phones are disjointed, while Grasshopper unifies employees under one number.