Popularity isn’t always a sign of a smooth-functioning internet phone service.
Take Google Voice for instance. It’s one of the most well-known options on the market, and yet users often report multiple issues per month. If you rely on the platform to manage all your business phone calls and text messages, Google Voice not working can reflect poorly on your brand.
As a professional or a small business owner, you need to be aware of all the roadblocks you may face (and if they can even be solved) before you choose your phone service. While you may be drawn in by how Google Voice works free for individuals, the service could end up costing you if it creates poor client experiences and inefficiencies within your team.
So what Google Voice issues do users face? And since Google doesn’t even offer customer support, how can you address them? We’ll help you troubleshoot nine common problems on the app, then explain how switching to a Google Voice alternative like OpenPhone can be a one-step remedy for all your GV woes.
9 common Google Voice issues
Google Voice doesn’t have a flawless track record when it comes to VoIP calls — far from it. Just entering “Google Voice not working” on a Google search brings up a number of complaints, questions, and articles about known (and sometimes unresolved) problems.
If you’re currently using Google Voice and are having issues with crucial business phone features, you’re not the only one.
We’ve identified nine common issues with the internet phone service below.
1. Unable to access Google Voice account
At minimum, your Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service should be one you can access. But if you’re running into errors with Google Voice, this could be an internet connection issue. Or, you may need to go into your Google Play Store or App Store to update to the latest version of the Voice app.
You can also run into issues if you are trying to have more than one Google Voice number on your phone.
Otherwise, there is a pesky situation in which you or your team members may not be able to access Voice through your Google accounts.
If you’re using Google Voice for Google Workspace, admins actually need to assign each user a Google Voice license before assigning phone numbers (and each number can only be assigned once). When admins forget to turn on Google Voice for each individual account or accidentally re-assign a phone number, this could cause issues that team members can’t fix on their own.
Though it’s a fairly easy fix — licenses and phone numbers can be managed through the “Users” section of the Google Admin console — getting started with Google Voice for business can be a huge hassle.
2. No ringing for incoming calls
You’ve made it into Google Voice. So, why aren’t you actually getting alerted when you have incoming calls or SMS messages? A long list of missed calls or voicemails is never a good sign for customer satisfaction.
Open the app settings to see if you’ve toggled on “Do not disturb” mode (and turn it back off if so).
If not, tap on the “Calls” section of your settings to see if you’ve accidentally turned off call answering on the web, Android device, or iPhone.
But even if all your settings are perfect on the browser, Google Voice will still instantly mute audio after you stop interacting with the platform for a while — even if you’re just on the next tab over! The only fix is to jump back on the tab and click around for around 10 seconds.
Google Voice won’t reliably work in the background. On busy workdays, when you’re completely focused on tasks outside your business phone app, you may forget to tap into the platform and end up missing a slew of calls.
3. Can’t make international calls
Got a global team or international clientele? You need an internet phone service that lets you seamlessly make international calls. With Google Voice, there are a few issues you can run into.
First, free accounts cannot make any calls or texts outside of the US While you can purchase calling credits (not possible via the app for iPhone users), you’re only allowed to have $70 max in your account.
If you update to Voice for Google Workspace, you may pay as much as $20 per user per month and still only be able to send texts within the US. That’s on top of the other texting limits for Google Voice.
Google Voice also states that users may have issues with international calls on their phone if another app conflicts with the service. However, it doesn’t specify what apps can cause these issues, so it’ll take some trial and error to figure out which app is at fault — if another app is even the issue.
You may also need to try restarting the Google Voice app in case it’s just a glitch.
4. Major sound quality issues with Google Voice
When you’re choosing your VoIP service, quality is key. Unfortunately, Google Voice doesn’t have a reputation for great sound quality. A slew of users report sounding muffled or distorted on calls — which is definitely bad for business. After repeating “your audio is breaking up” for the hundredth time, your clients may actually break up with your brand for good.
Assuming that you’re not facing any Wi-Fi or mobile data issues of your own, this is a Google Voice problem that users alone can’t fix.
But with no customer support for free users, getting help may not be as possible as you’d hope. With no one to ask, it’s hard to say if what you’re experiencing is an internet connection issue, a platform issue, or something else.
5. Google Voice loading slow on your browser
One perk of Google Voice is the ability to access your phone from any computer or mobile device. The problem is, users report issues when accessing the platform via a browser on voice.google.com.
“For the last month or so, the Google Voice website acts like I’m on dialup. Even when I type text messages, the characters take 1-2 seconds to echo to the screen.” (Reddit inquiry)
“Very slow to load into the browser.” (Review on GetApp)
There are a few potential causes that you can check:
- Poor internet connection
- Incompatible browser (must use Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Safari, or Mozilla Firefox)
- Browser not updated
You can also try a reboot if you experience Google Voice not working on your browser, or double check Google Voice’s system and browser requirements. However, if none of these are at fault and slow loading is a consistent issue, there’s unfortunately not much that can be done on your part.
Switching to a Google Voice alternative like OpenPhone may be your best bet.
6. Google Voice number disappeared
We admit, this issue may sound a little weird. But it’s true: These days, even your Google Voice number can ghost you.
There are more ways this can happen than you think. It makes sense for VoIP services to revoke access if you fail to pay, but Google will even take back your phone number in the following instances:
- You don’t make a call, send a text, listen to your voicemail, or open the Voice app on an Apple or Android phone in six months. You’ll only have 45 days to reclaim the number before it’s gone for good.
- You port in a number but don’t pay a $20 fee to keep your Google-provided number as a secondary number within 90 days.
For business owners, the risk of losing a phone number is never ideal, even if it’s easily avoidable. This issue is pretty much unheard of with most legitimate paid internet phone services.
7. Can’t port phone number
Google Voice states that it’s able to port phone numbers, but users may actually run into a number of porting issues on the platform. For example, Voice does not support porting for Canadian or toll-free numbers. And you’ll get stuck if you don’t pay a $20 porting fee per number. The process doesn’t make it easy either, as users report:
“Porting a number is super hard, there is zero customer support.” (Review from G2)
“Shifting numbers you are already using was not very convenient for me.” (Review from GetApp)
A smooth transition of all your business phone numbers into Google Voice isn’t possible for every company, even when it should be.
8. Not receiving voicemail transcriptions
If you’re not getting voicemail transcriptions, you wouldn’t be the first. Some users report issues with both delivery and transcription quality. There could be a few reasons for this:
- You turned off “Get voicemail via email” in your settings.
- You’re looking for voicemail transcriptions via text (the Voice app permanently disabled this feature).
- Your caller’s audio quality was poor, and Google couldn’t decipher the message.
Even if your issue is resolved, keep in mind that Google Voice is still pretty limited when it comes to options for receiving voicemail transcriptions. Google Voice alternatives like OpenPhone support more integrations, allowing you to get transcripts on more convenient channels.
9. Unable to make voice calls on Hangouts
Did you choose Google Voice as your business phone service due to its integration with Hangouts? Google has bad news for you.
First, Hangouts will be going to the growing Google Graveyard this year (RIP). Second, some users are already unable to make Google Voice calls via Hangouts. This is a known issue that will not be fixed.
Using Google Voice means you’ll have to switch between two different platforms to message your team and manage phone calls. Or, if you want to use Google Voice for both your team and customer communications, things might get a little messy.
The platform doesn’t offer a great way to organize your inbox or contacts — largely because the Google Voice app wasn’t originally built for business use.
A Google Voice alternative that’s created with business needs in mind (like OpenPhone) can help you achieve much smoother communication management.
Google Voice not working for you? Switch to OpenPhone
Despite its popularity, Google Voice is riddled with issues that business owners can’t afford to deal with. Google Voice not working at a critical time — for example, during a phone call — can lead to your brand losing a sale and losing trust.
Luckily, Google Voice isn’t the only VoIP service around. In fact, VoIP providers like OpenPhone are specifically built for business use, which means you won’t just eliminate Google Voice issues. You’ll also get a number of features that Google’s phone app can’t provide.
Here’s how switching to OpenPhone can help you overcome Google Voice’s nine major issues for businesses.
1. Easy setup and access
Though Google Voice access issues can be pretty easily fixed, the VoIP service leaves your team members far too susceptible to lost or delayed access. Plus, setting up Voice for Google Workspace isn’t exactly intuitive.
Having to assign licenses before phone numbers is an unnecessary step — one that OpenPhone eliminates.
With OpenPhone, adding a team member is easy. Just invite team members via email, assign a number, and they can accept!
Unless you purposely head to the members section of your settings to remove team members, your employees will never get booted for something as trivial as lack of licensing when they already have an account.
Plus, since users can share phone numbers, there’s no risk of locking users out of their accounts when you double-assign a number.
2. Rings on every incoming call (when you want them)
As much as we’d love for you to, we know you’re not going to actively use OpenPhone (or any VoIP app) every second. If you’re not on a sales or customer support team, you may not jump on your business phone app at all unless you get a call or text. And OpenPhone won’t force you to.
OpenPhone won’t stop alerting you about incoming calls just because you’re not clicking around the platform, so you’ll never have to break focus just to interact and avoid missing calls.
If you choose OpenPhone, we really will put a ring on it.
Of course, you can always set business hours to avoid getting calls at the wrong times. Just let us know when you’re actually working, and we promise not to wake you in the middle of your sweet dreams.
3. Seamless international calls
OpenPhone offers free, unlimited calls, SMS, and MMS in the US and Canada with all plans starting at just $10 per user per month. It’s affordable, and all users can make international calls at very low rates.
4. Crystal-clear audio quality
Unlike Google Voice, which lets down users when it comes to sound quality, OpenPhone offers top-notch audio for both incoming and outgoing calls. Take it from our users:
“The call quality is terrific and the features offered are awesome as well. Also, over the last year, they have continued to make improvements that only make the app better.” (Review on G2)
“The design is clean and the call quality is impressive. Would recommend.” (Review on Product Hunt)
“I also experience high call quality using OpenPhone versus the competition.” (Review on G2)
If you do run into issues, you can run through OpenPhone’s transparent VoIP troubleshooting guide or contact the support team directly.
5. Fast-loading web app
If you’re using Google Voice because of its cross-platform compatibility, the good news is, you can still get this perk when you switch to OpenPhone — only you won’t have new wrinkles by the time the platform’s done loading on your browser.
With a solid uptime record for the website (along with all iOS, Android, and web apps), OpenPhone is a service you can rely on, and one that offers support if you do run into issues.
6. Phone numbers you won’t lose
“I lost my number. Can I have yours?” is a cheesy pickup line at best and a genuine question after a nightmarish Google Voice situation at worst. Your business phone service should never cancel your phone number just because you’re not using it — even with notice.
At OpenPhone, we know a consistent phone number is crucial for a good customer experience, and to avoid updating all your online business pages at once. We won’t retract your business number unless you purposely delete it from your account (or cancel your subscription). And to make sure you don’t do so on accident, we’ve even labeled this part of your settings the “Danger Zone” and require you to physically type “delete” before your number goes away. ⚠
7. Simple and free porting process
When Google Voice (or another internet phone service, for that matter) isn’t working out, we want to make all your worries go away. That’s why we make porting your phone number to OpenPhone as easy as possible.
If you want to port your number from Google Voice, for example, all you need to do is:
- Create an OpenPhone account.
- Unlock your Google Voice number. (Note: Google charges a one-time $3 fee to transfer your number away from Google Voice.)
- Submit your porting request through the OpenPhone app.
Switching from most other VoIP services is even simpler and only requires two steps: creating your OpenPhone account and filling out the form.
OpenPhone won’t charge you any porting fees. And to give you something else to celebrate, OpenPhone supports Canadian and toll-free numbers, too.
8. Reliable voicemail transcriptions
Your team members aren’t always in a place where they can take business calls. But even in the middle of a loud music festival, a voicemail transcription can help them determine the urgency of a call or remind them to call back later.
Missing voicemail transcriptions can lead to unhappy clients and missed opportunities.
Luckily, it’s not an issue with OpenPhone. Once you’re on your OpenPhone Admin Dashboard, it only takes a minute to get voicemail transcripts (and the voicemail audio) via Gmail, other email providers, and even Slack.
All users get voicemail transcriptions texted to them through the OpenPhone app.
Plus, since OpenPhone offers pristine sound quality, you may even get more reliable and accurate transcripts than on Google Voice.
9. Effective team communication tools
With Google Voice not working on Hangouts, you may be seeking out a platform that allows you to streamline your team and client communication — and do so well. Look no further than OpenPhone.
OpenPhone is built with a dedicated section for all your team members. You can easily keep track of your internal communications and reach out to the right person fast. Just tap their names to start conversations and collaborate!
Plus, you can organize your business contacts based on everything from company to role, so you can easily search for clients when it’s time to reach out.
Using OpenPhone is a lot less hectic than Google Voice. While Google Voice spreads your calls, text messages, and voicemail across three different inboxes, OpenPhone uses one unified inbox.
If you do want a dedicated team messaging platform, feel free to use Slack. OpenPhone allows you to see voicemails, texts, and missed calls on the platform when you integrate your account with Slack, so you’ll still get a fairly streamlined experience.
Want even more peace of mind? Instead of sending popular features to a graveyard like Google does every single year, OpenPhone is constantly adding new features to help you improve your internal and external communication — many of which are suggested by business owners like you!
A foolproof fix for Google Voice not working: Making a switch
Google Voice not working can be a costly issue if you’re using it as your business phone. When seeking a VoIP service for professional use, using a platform that’s built for reliable team and client communication can help you stay organized and efficient, without any downtime.
OpenPhone fits the bill. With international call capabilities, excellent sound quality, and more must-have features, OpenPhone can make your team manage calls and texts better than ever. And you won’t have to spend extra just to port phone numbers when you make the switch.
Want to test out the platform before you commit? Start your free trial of OpenPhone today.
A recent update to the Google Meet (formerly Hangouts) app removed support for third-party backups, which means your Google Voice messages and phone calls won’t sync up with your Hangouts app anymore.
First, check the “Do not disturb” toggle in your Google Voice settings. Next, confirm that the “Calls” section of your settings has all phone options turned on. Tap around within the “Calls” section for 10 seconds to make sure everything is working properly. Finally, confirm you are signed into Google Voice make sure that the “Calls” section has all phone options turned on by toggling each option. Tap around within the “Calls” section for 10 seconds to make sure everything is working properly.
In order to make international phone calls, you have to have a Google Voice number with the required plan. The basic free Google Voice account can only text and call domestically. In-person calls and texts are no problem, but international calling features require an upgraded subscription for at least $16/month per user. The other option is the more expensive Google Voice for G Suite (which also means making Android apps) which doesn’t mention anything about international options without additional purchases.