When someone is called as bishop they suddenly become very popular. Part of this popularity is the perpetual ringing of the phone. Of course each bishop has an executive secretary that will set up appointments and help organize the busy schedule. But that won’t stop the phone from ringing. People feel like their issue is important enough to streamline communication to the bishop. From someone having a bad day to someone looking for a rent check as soon as yesterday. I have known bishops that have simply plugged in their answering machine and stopped answering the phone. But then the bishop has to find time to sit down, listen to each message, and then figure out how to get the information to the the Executive Secretary to fit it in the schedule.
Luckily you are a leader a decade into the 21st century. Technology can make life easier. The technology I am referring to is Google Voice, and every Bishop needs it. In short Google Voice is a free service provided by Google that lets you handle phone calls more effectively. You pick a number to use and then adjust your settings to make your life much easier.
Here is how it will change your life:
The Phone Stops Ringing
Typically the phone rings and you yell to your wife, “Let the machine get it!” This is no more. Simply adjust the Google Voice settings so no phones ring when a call comes in. It will take the caller directly to voice mail. The voice message is then emailed to you or you can get the message through your phone or even through a smart phone app.
Block the Unwanted
Ever get a call and wonder, “Who is this person and how did they get my number?” Well it will probably happen time and again. Makes you wonder if your phone number is written on a bathroom wall somewhere with the message, “Call this guy and he will pay your rent.” If this is the case simply add the number to be blocked and the next time they call they will hear, “We’re sorry you have reached a number that has been disconnected.”
Delegate, Delegate, DELEGATE
Most of the phone calls the bishop gets can easily be delegated to someone else. Google Voice makes this easy. Simply email the message to your counselors or the executive secretary. “Hey Brother Sekritary, this message is from Sister Nessomhelp can you call her back and set up an appointment?” Very slick!
Then I guess it is worth a try
To learn about other features of Google Voice click HERE.
So how do you set it up? Simply go to www.google.com/voice and sign on to your Google account (or set up a Google account first). This is where it gets fun because you get to pick your number. It will ask you for your area code and/or a word, phrase or number. Your number could be (801) 555-BISH or 801-2RE-PENT (Depending on availability of course). Once you select a number you are ready to adjust your settings and improve your efficiency.
I'm an Elder's Quorum President and I really, really like using Google Voice. My home phone has a message that says if you're trying to reach the Elders Quorum President to call the other number, which is my Google Voice number. I can jump into the call while the voice mail is being recorded, screen my calls, send voice messages to my counselors or the Bishop, record calls if needed (just press 6) and I even get transcripts of the voicemails as a text message. This is would invaluable if I was Bishop, for sure.
As the Executive Secretary to our ward's Bishop, I use Google Voice to the fullest: visual voicemail, call forwarding, SMS via email or a Google Voice desktop app. It's also been great using Gizmo5 and Google Voice to answer or make calls on my computer at work.
What's been the biggest timesaver is the visual voicemail. If I'm unavailable when a call comes in, I can triage it quickly by reading the transcript.
My wife and I just bought a house and decided to not get a land line phone. We use our Google Voice line as the number we give everyone. When a call comes in it rings both our cell phones. If one of us answers it and it is for the other person we can press * and it will ring the other phone. We love it.
Thanks for all your comments! Sounds like Google Voice is helping all of you even though none are Bishops… yet 😉
I too use this as an Executive Secretary to the Bishop. It is great because I don't have to bother my wife with all the phone calls coming in and people can leave messages that only I (and google will hear ;).
I am trying to export the directory so I can make phone calls quicker but the CSV file doesn't import properly. I also want to be able to click in the directory number and call from google voice but right now it tries to use MS Communicator which I don't have set up. If there was anyway to redirect it to google voice that would be very nice.
I didn't realize the * think to another phone that is very cool. I have been using it for over a year now since January when it first started and have loved the free long distance calling. All this stuff for free the toll is going to come I am sure when google owns us.
The other great thing about Google Voice is that you can upload your ward directory and then assign members into groups. You then tell Google Voice to play a different message for each group. I have one Google Voice number, but depending on your caller id will determine what message you hear. GREAT FEATURE!!!!!!