Are you getting forwarded calls from an unwanted Google number?

Yesterday, a client had an interesting dilemma. They somehow have their two extensions listed as the forwarding number for Google Voice numbers, that unfortunately used to belong to a fast-food restaurant and a dime store chain. Their office manager was overwhelmed with a dozen or more calls a day for these old numbers, still listed in the online yellow pages. Here’s how we solved the problem.


Hi *****, ***** and *****,

As you may be aware, we are receiving bogus phone calls from Google numbers being redirected to our 2 phone lines. Confused callers have reported dialing the following two numbers, which today lead to a dress store and a disconnected message:

  • ***-***-****
  • ***-***-****

Based on Google’s recommendation for dealing with this type of issue under “Stop getting forwarded calls” on https://support.google.com/voice/answer/115089?hl=en&ref_topic=1708123,
I am making the following recommendation: Let’s take back our numbers!

“Stop getting forwarded calls: If you verified your personal number in error or as part of a scam, your number could be linked to someone else’s Google Voice account. To stop getting forwarded calls, reclaim your phone number by adding it as a linked number to a new or existing Google Voice account.”

***** and *****, ***** has chosen you two to help with this problem. Here’s the step-by-step:

  • Login to voice.google.com with your ***** email
  • Click “Get a Voice number” in the left menu
  • Click “I want a new number”
  • Important: on “Add a forwarding phone”
    *****, type in ***-***-**** and ***** is ***-***-****
  • Under Phone Type, choose Work
  • Next Step: Reclaim a verified phone
  • Choose “Call me now” and have ***** type in the two-digit code
  • Name and message recordings are optional
  • Under “Choose your number” in the “Area, zip code or city” field, type “*****”
  • Pick a ***** number, click “Continue”
  • You will see a “congratulations” modal and a number reminder
  • Congrats, we are now in control of the Google numbers that correspond to our lines

As an aside, these numbers will show as your number if you ever use your computer to make a google voice or hangouts call, which I highly recommend. Anytime you need to call someone and you don’t necessarily want them to have your cell or can’t access a Precocity line, log in to voice.google.com where you can call or text from the number associated with your precocity email account.

Last, simply reply all to this message with your new number. That way if ***** continues to receive calls, she can call your two lines to check the integrity of our phone system. Let me know if you have any issues, as it is possible that you may receive the occasional voicemail or text in the form of an email from google voice. Please let me know as soon as both numbers have been changed so ***** and I can call to confirm. We will also repeat these steps if we find another ***** line.

We will continue to find unique ways to combat phone spam, thanks for your help today. By the way, based on the instructions I just gave you, I can now be reached on my personal Gmail voice line (forwarding to my cell) of 972-638-RICH.

Thanks,
Rich


The client notified me later that they had now received a call from a caller looking for a national retail chain office, but had called the actual number. We found an online misprint of a matching area code and phone number that explains that and will continue to investigate and work on ways to reduce misguided callers.

When asked what else the client could do, I added that wrong numbers are a cost of doing business if your company answers its phone, which I strongly encourage. One low-tech solution I recommended is Ruby Receptionists, who cost about $1-2/minute but can professionally and nicely answer all your calls and forward legitimate customers onto your main line.

I’ll close with an anecdote I shared with the client: Is there a way to stop them from calling? 

Not really, not without burning the number. It’s a cost of doing business. When I was growing up, my phone number was 1 digit off from the local cable company. People would call in the middle of the night if their “movie” wasn’t working. You can imagine how a call like that might go at 3am.

richwillia.ms
@rchwms
972-638-RICH


As of today, “Filthy Rich” Wiliams can be reached at 972-638-RICH. Rich is a user experience developer and problem solver with an MBA in Marketing and a psychology background. He’s still scarred from the 3am phone calls as a teenager. Rich Williams uses high-tech and low-tech solutions to solve problems. His team developed the app a major retailer CEO uses to check sales numbers every morning and Capital One’s Auto Navigator and Home Mortgages and Refinancing user interfaces. And he took back one client’s phone numbers from scammers. Call (214) 945-3382 or email rchwms@gmail.com for answers to your high tech and low tech questions.

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ONE SIMPLE TRICK to avoid turning your sparkling bass tone into mud when the rest of the band kicks in…

So I have a friend that plays lap steel in a number one song country band and he told me the strangest thing: During rehearsals for their world tour, the producer gave each member of the band a 7-band EQ and told them to pick a frequency that best represented their instrument and kill everything else. As the story goes, my buddy would get his world renowned tone, then activate the EQ and sound thin and hollow.

Get the perfect tone, then do what? Kill it? So the next step in this unbelievable exercise was to have everyone turn off their new friend/enemy and play the hit single as a pretty big group with violins and guitars and the like.

Nobody could hear themselves. It sounded like mud. Problem was, everybody in the band had world renowned tone.

Now, depress/activate the EQ and play same song. Band sounds full, everyone can hear themselves, the clarity and intent of each player is instantly present in the mix.

When the singer introduced the band and during solos, he was allowed to deactivate the restricting pedal and wow the folks with his full spectrum.

What gives?

Don’t you need a sound man for that? No.

Is it really that simple? Yes.

Robert Sledge revealed in an interview once that staying out of Ben Folds’ low end was the hardest and most enjoyable part of playing with the pianist. The trick is easy with a Big Muff and an Orange cab.

But what about the rest of us? What about the folk players and the power trios?

Here goes nothing. Perfect your solo tone, then rip it to shreds with the new 10-band EQ pedals available. I’ve got two examples.

My power trio guitarist and I bought MXR M108 Ten Band EQs and spent some time splitting up the ten bands 50/50. We proceded to put the pedals last in our chain, get everything perfect, then suck the life out of our tone. Big intro, guitar comes in wailing, bass and drums hit, click the pedals. Clarity. If he soloed with it on it sounded a little thin, but when we were both full playing rhythm, the proof was in the pudding.

The drummer from that band just texted me that those pedals were smoke and mirrors and wants to know the name of the lap steel friend. Haha.

So I have another interesting gig coming up with a Wallflowers-esque band and was already thinking competing with the rhythm electric and hammond was going to be a beast. Hence, Caline’s CP-24 10-Band EQ Pedal for less than $50 on eBay. I hope the guitar player and hammond guy can pick one of these up too and I look forward to experimenting with each of us maybe picking up four bands with a little overlap.

Another text from Antago-drummer.

Case in point. Smiley face EQ was a huge part of Nirvana’s sound, but what’s that have to do with this? When you kill the mids on a guitar and fill that void with highs from the bass and kill the bass mids that would otherwise conflict with the guitar’s lows, suddenly, we can all move around without stepping on any toes.

A word of advice. Most people don’t want to believe this works, but folks who focus hard on mixing and mastering have been using more advanced versions of this trick for centuries. I’m sure there are shared notes on upright basses, cellos and violins, but everyone can play together because they’re filling different parts of a spectrum.

Here’s a few articles on the subject:

http://diymusician.cdbaby.com/musician-tips/make-shows-shine-simple-eq-tricks/

http://www.cheatography.com/fredv/cheat-sheets/eq-tips/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smiley_face_curve

Caline’s CP-24 10-Band EQ Pedal

A Narrative on Usability

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Jonny asked me to make a film about usability so I created an MOV in 16:9 at 4K for MacBook Pro, a WMV at 1080i for his Dell, an MPEG4 in 4:3 for his iPhone, an AAC in 25cm diagonal for his iPad, an FLV in 8K for Facebook, a 600px squared MP4 for Instagram, an AVI to edit for his WordPress and a Super Hi-Vision raw UHDTV for his PHP website, LinkedIn.com/in/jonnymack. His broadband satellite cable DSL connection was down so I uploaded it to YouTube and it’s the first video in internet history to have been viewed more than a billion times.