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The Benefits of Visual Voicemail: Seeing is the New Hearing

Voicemail as we know it has been around for a while, and it’s probably about time the whole thing got a facelift.

Sure, it’s been great for gauging different people’s take on ‘a short message’ or for providing those we’ve been trying to avoid with a less obtrusive way of pestering us—even for receiving an important communication here and there—but let’s admit it, retrieving those messages could become a hassle.

First you had to dial-in and enter a silly pin number that, for some dang reason, never seemed to stick in your head. Next, assuming you’ve managed past the four-digit gateway, you had to plough through five minutes of your mother-in-law’s daily quibbling before getting to your client’s urgent message—asking you to call back no later than 4pm and it’s now 4:05, thanks to your extended family...

If you hung up and spent a few moments counting your blessings (or simply counting to ten), and later wanted to revisit that last message, you had to go through the entire process all over again.

While this might be better than the mini-cassettes of old—it’s like telling yourself now that you should be content with a good breadknife when they’ve already invented sliced-bread.

So what’s sliced-bread for voicemail? Visual Voicemail.

Visual voicemail lets you view your VM messages in a visual sequence listed by the caller’s name, just like viewing contacts in your call-log or songs in a playlist. This gives you the freedom to selectively prioritize which messages you’re going to listen to, when, and in what order (yep, dance around Wilma all you want or simply press delete—she’ll never even know!). What’s more, there’s no need to dial in—you simply tap the voicemail icon on your smartphone (or web browser if you're using a PC) and find all your messages magically listed right there.

If that’s not enough, additional features let you forward messages, reply via SMS/MMS, and even have them transcribed to text using voice recognition technology. While this last is presently estimated at about 40% accuracy, it’s still a great auxiliary for capturing quick notes or running a search using key-words (never before possible), and will continue to improve as the technology keeps advancing.

Visual voicemail is available on most platforms, such as Android, iOS, and Win 7, and can be purchased as a value added service from your cellular provider. But if you’re already shopping around for a hosted PBX solution, it’s also included for free with Synclio’s virtual PBX, so you might as well hit two birds with one stone and keep those few extra bucks in your pocket, right where they belong.

(Note: no animals were harmed during writing of this article)

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posted by Maty Grosman @ 6:09 PM