What is voicemail transcription?

Business voicemail transcription, often called 'visual voicemail' is a voicemail-to-text feature that allows users to read voicemail messages as text messages via email. Manual transcription is time-consuming and costly, but now with VoIP phone systems and ASR (automatic speech recognition), voicemail transcription services have become affordable and accessible to smaller businesses.

Employing business voicemail transcription in a phone system has several obvious advantages, such as being more convenient, easier to share, and a significant time-saver. But it also presents a new communication opportunity for businesses. Send quick messages and memos to colleagues on the fly and give them an easily referenceable written record.

Business voicemail transcription is an excellent telephony feature that makes listening to voicemail as easy as reading an SMS (text message)!

A woman struggling to hear a voicemail message

How does visual voicemail work?

While visual voicemail uses advanced technology, it couldn't be more straightforward for a user. A phone call comes in, and the caller listens to your voicemail greeting as usual, then ASR technology transcribes the audio message and sends it to an email address of your choice. Some providers may offer the service at no extra cost, provide dedicated mobile apps, or a user interface through a web portal.

The iPhone was the first phone to have voicemail transcription in 2007. However, the technology was hit and miss. With the improvement of text-to-speech technologies, such as Google's class-leading neural network, visual voicemail is more accurate than ever.

To use a voicemail transcription service, you need a business phone number that can accept incoming calls and a voicemail box.

A flow chart showing how voicemail transcription works.

Benefits of business voicemail transcription

Text messaging has been around for a long time. Text is a great way to communicate, that's why we have email and other messaging services. It's about time that voicemail gained those conveniences! Below are some of the biggest benefits of having voicemail messages turned into text transcriptions.

A man happily reading a transcribed voicemail message

Save time by reading your voicemail messages

Reading is 150% faster than speaking, according to a visual science study conducted by the IReST group; therefore, receiving voicemails as emails or texts can save considerable time in small and large businesses. We've all had that agonising wait through multiple irrelevant voicemails whilst desperately waiting to get to that critical message at the end or had to listen to a message on repeat merely to catch a tiny fraction of its contents.

The process of calling traditional voicemail, listening to that protracted greeting message, dialling multiple-choice answers, and having no control over the order in which they are played, is clunky, time-wasting and unnecessary. Being able to quickly go through messages and choose which ones you prioritise is game-changing, something users now wonder how they went without it.

Improved record keeping

Mishearing a message can lead to lost business or worse. We'll get to this a bit more in the use cases, but a fairly good example would be in a care home setting, where doctors call and leave messages for the care workers advising them of changes to a patient's medication. Having worked with a couple of care homes, I know that staff often find it hard to note down the precise contents of the call and, given that it's so important, often have to have someone else listen to the same thing again. Voicemail transcription captures messages accurately, reducing risk and speeding things up.

Access a voicemail message from any device

Whether on your home computer, using a mobile phone or tablet, browsing voicemails is as easy as looking through your email inbox. You are no longer tethered to your business phone, so there is no need to wait until you get back to the office to read that vital message.

Increased privacy

Shielding a screen is more straightforward than blocking someone from hearing you. If a voicemail contains private or sensitive information, someone close by could hear it, especially in a quiet environment or when you are sitting next to a stranger on a train. With voicemail transcription, it's possible to be more discreet.

Easier to share with colleagues

Voicemail transcription can be a lifesaver when it comes to relaying information accurately. Just highlight the parts you need and forward it to a colleague; it's as easy as copying and pasting! Not to mention, it's much easier to email a transcribed voicemail to other recipients than it is to try and manually write down all the details from a conversation.

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Use cases of voicemail transcription

Voicemail transcription can fundamentally improve how we communicate with colleagues and employees. Below are a few example use cases.

Accurately recording critical patient information in a care setting

Care homes are places where recording information accurately is vital. Accuracy is crucial when treating patients with complex medical conditions who may require coordinated treatment between multiple healthcare providers or need to be transferred to another facility for treatment. Transcription can help to ensure that all pertinent information is relayed between the relevant parties and can help to avoid potential errors in care.

Distributing voicemails to a team of people

Voicemail transcription makes it easy to forward voicemails to as many people as required. Sometimes a voicemail is relevant to multiple members of a team. If there needs to be a lot of back and forth discussion, it's useful for everyone to be able to read and reference the voicemail. Team members work multiple shifts with different business hours. Similar to call transfers, someone else can handle voicemail messages when other team members are absent, keeping callers happy and increasing sales conversions.

Conforming to industry-specific regulations and procedures

In some scenarios, businesses, such as banks and other financial institutions, insurance companies, healthcare providers, and law firms will be required to record telecommunications, including voicemail. Imagine going through hundreds of recordings to find the one with the required information. A written transcript makes searching an archive of such recordings much more efficient. Now, with voicemail to text transcription, a user can search an entire database of voicemail transcriptions simply by typing a keyword into a search bar.

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Summary

What is it?

In summary, a voicemail transcription service converts voicemail messages into text form and sends them to an email address of your choice.

How does it work?

A voicemail message is stored in a voicemail box on a phone system which communicates with a third-party transcription service. Voice to text makes voicemail as simple as reading an sms.

When you receive a call, the caller will hear a greeting and then be prompted to leave a message which will still appear in your voicemail inbox.

What are the benefits?

Voicemail transcriptions are usually very accurate.

Different phone numbers can assign transcriptions to specific emails.

With voicemail to text services, you can quickly and easily get your messages transcribed so that you can focus on other tasks. In addition, many services also offer call recording transcription, which can be extremely useful for businesses that need to record their phone calls.

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Frequently Asked Questions