Tech Tip: Sending Voicemail to Email

#TechTip Setup your voicemail to forward messages as email attachments. Then you have a record of all messages.

I have had a lot of people interested in finding out more about this Tech Tip of mine.  First, lets start by getting one thing clear:  While it can be easy to set this up, its not a one step process and may invoice extra fees.

Many people in the corporate world may be familiar with this feature that logs all their voicemails as email messages.  Major phone systems have been able to do this for years, including systems from Cisco and others.  For small businesses and individuals, there may be a few steps you need to take.

Lets look at mobile phones first:

All of the wireless carriers will provide voicemail service with your phone.  The basic service just records your message, but sometimes the enhanced services will offer features like Voice to Text emails.  This feature will take your voice message, have a computer analyze the recording and turn it into a plain text file that is then emailed to you.  (Often with a voice attachment included)  Telus I know does this, and Rogers has their Visual Voicemail Plus service which offers something similar.  The enhanced services often cost extra, but you may have them bundled into a feature package.  If you are not sure if it is set up, or if you have it, give your wireless provider a call and find out what steps you need to take to set it up.

Although its not available in Canada (yet!), Google Voice offers a service where it will take your message, and send you an email and/or text with the transcript available, as well as the voice attachment.  The Google Voice App also will send the message direct to your phone for quick play over a data connection instead of having to call in.  Google Voice has been very slow in deploying outside of the US, but rumours are that they want to increase their presence and Canada is the most likely next target.  I have used Google Voice myself for quite a while now using some sneaky work arounds and have been quite impressed with it.

VoIP Service

Voice over internet service providers have a lot to offer the average customer.  More than I plan to write about today.  But Voicemail to email is definitely one of those benefits.  Really, the number of ways you could hook this up is too high to list here, but let me give you an example of how I have some of my phones hooked up for this:

1 Number calling:  By Providing everyone with a VoIP number and having them call me through a VoIP phone system, calls can come to my office phone, and wireless phone at the same time, and if I don’t answer either, it goes to the Phone system voicemail.  That service then texts me and emails me to let me know there is a message.  I just download the attachment and listen to the message.

Cell phone forwarding: If everyone already calls your cell number, then you can try the call forwarding trick.  Check with your provider if you have Call Forwarding on your account, and activate the “Call Forwarding – No Answer” or “Call Forwarding – Unavailable” feature.  This will let your phone ring for a period of time, and if there is no answer, automatically forward to a phone number you designate.  Set up a phone number with A VoIP provider (Either a phone system or directly with a VoIP provider) that offers voicemail service and Voicemail-to-Email.  Direct your calls to forward to that number if you don’t answer your cell.  Once the VoIP provider picks up the voicemail, it will convert your message into a file and email it to you.

There are a number of providers out there that can do this, so before you make a decision, find out if you just need voicemail, or want to have a VoIP phone line that goes with it as well.  As mentioned, there will be some additional costs these ways, but depending on how important it is, it may be worth it.  Typically costs for any service like this can range from a couple of bucks up to maybe $15/month.

VoIP is an ever changing environment, and with new entrants possibly coming into Canada (Again, I’m looking at you GOOGLE!!!!) then expect features to improve and costs to come down.

If this has still peaked your interest, contact me and I can put you in touch with some options.

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