I am always looking for ways that the local church can engage and connect with the community they are a part of. A few years ago, Google acquired and revamped a service called Grand Central. We know this service as Google Voice. Let me share with you just two extremely practical, extremely easy, and extremely FREE ways your church can start using Google voice. You can read all about what the service does and its features at Google Voice’s about page.
Have you ever had really great customer service? Was it so great that you wanted to write a letter or do something that would draw recognition to those that took care of you? My family recently took a road trip down to Florida. Just as we came into Chattanooga, during rush hour, our breaks started giving out. We were two exits away from going into the hills.
We limped our little Ford Escape to the conveniently located Ford dealership so we could at least take a look. Long story short, due to a previous break job, we needed new breaks and rotors. All of this happened just a half hour before closing on a Friday evening. Their “best break guy” offered to stay late to get us on our way. Less than an hour, we were on our way!
This was the sort of experience that I want to write a letter about. Does your church engage the community in a way that they want to “write a letter about”? Hopefully you are. When you do, and they are blessed, you can provide an easy way for them to give their feedback with Google Voice.
One of the features of the service allows you to add a “widget” to your website. A widget is simply a little interactive module on your website. The one to the left is active. Fee free to try it out. A happy outreach event visitor can click on this widget to make a call. On your end, you can have all calls coming through this widget go directly to your online voice mail system. There you can listen to the message, read a transcription, or even download the audio file to play later for the committee that organized the outreach event. The built in caller ID then gives you the opportunity to follow up with the caller and personally invite their whole family. Connection made.
In the church I grew up in, Oak Hills Church, the board of elders would pass around a pager every week. Whomever carried the pager, was on call for prayer or other needs. This is a great way to always make sure there is trusted leadership available throughout the week but not have that burden fall on one person.
One of the main features of Google Voice is having one phone number that will forward calls to other specified phones, like a home, cell phone, office, or an elder on call. Each week, the on-call line can be forwarded to whomever is on-call. When someone has a crisis happening, it’s important for them to know that when they make the call, it will be received and acted on in the right way. Need served.
Has your church used Google Voice or anything like it? How have you used it? Share your ideas in the comments section.