What is Visual Voicemail and Do You Need It? [Explainer Guide]
Updated: Feb 23
Do you find yourself receiving lots of calls throughout the day but end up missing many? Or, are you fed up with the amount of time you waste trying to keep up with your voicemails? If this sounds like you then it might be time to try visual voicemail. In this blog post, we’re going to explain to you what visual voicemail is and why you need it.
What is Visual Voicemail?
Visual voicemail is exactly what it sounds like – it allows users to view their voicemails on a screen. These services work by transcribing the audio from your voice messages into a written form. This allows you to quickly read and prioritise voice messages without having to spend minutes or even hours listening to every single one. You don't even need to dial a number to find out who left the call, how long the message lasted, or what the content of the message was. Also, instead of listening in chronological order, as is the case with regular voicemail, you can read visual voicemail in any order.
Once a message has been selected, users are taken to the message screen where they can pause, play or delete the message. This means you can choose which voicemails you want to listen to and which ones you want to skip over. Visual voicemail apps also often feature a slider that shows how long the message is and where the message playback currently sits. Instead of calling your inbox, listening to slow, droning instructions, and voicemail one after the other, visual voicemail allows you to scroll through a digital inbox and replay your messages at will. It is easy to see how much time can be saved, especially for those who receive a lot of voice messages on a daily basis.
Visual Voicemail and Smartphones
Before the likes of Vxt came along, voicemail was not at all user-friendly. Often time consuming and cumbersome, voicemail was especially challenging for those in a hurry. However, since its inception in 2007, visual voicemail has taken many forms and increased the productivity of hundreds of thousands around the globe. Without the smartphone, it's hard to imagine how visual voicemail would have been set up and if it would be used today. The iPhone was the first device to provide visual voicemail, however other devices quickly followed suit. It’s safe to say visual voicemail likely owes a large part of its success to the rise of smartphones.
Visual Voicemail Vs Traditional Voicemail: What’s Better?
In the past, traditional voicemail users would have options spoken down the line and the phone’s dial pad would need to be pressed to select an option. You might even remember, or still need to use this tiresome process; “press 1 to listen again, press 2 to skip, press 3 to delete, and press 4 to save” (or something to that effect). It’s easy to see how this takes up a lot of time. Traditional voicemail is slow, inconvenient, and inefficient, but a billion voicemail messages are left every single day all around the world. There’s got to be a better way.
Here are a few ways visual voicemail beats traditional voicemail:
Quickly scroll through your messages to find a specific one
Most traditional voicemail systems will have you listen to every message in your inbox starting from the oldest. This can take a long time and you also don’t know if you need to listen to a whole message until the voicemail has played out in its entirety. Instead of missing important messages, prioritise your voicemail right away with visual voicemail.
Read your voicemails and understand them without having to spend time listening
Being able to read and quickly understand the content of a message in seconds is extremely helpful when you're on the go. You don’t have to read the whole thing to understand the content of the message either. Also, when you’re listening you have to spend more time on the phone, compared to if you read the message. Also if you’re listening and miss some key information and have to replay a message then you’re forced to start the process all over again.
Manually or automatically forward messages to an email or text inbox
Being able to quickly forward a message means you can show someone a voicemail instead of taking the time to explain it. Also sharing your voicemail means you can save your important voicemails to somewhere more convenient. This is also a great method for those looking to keep and share voicemail for business or schooling purposes. Visual voicemail allows you to share your voice messages with coworkers or classmates, or upload them to a computer for yourself and others to access.
Why Do You Need Visual Voicemail?
If the reasons listed above haven’t convinced you, then maybe consider how visual voicemail is being used by many leading businesses and organisations around the world. It’s also used by hundreds of thousands of small businesses looking to improve their customer service and productivity. Countless individuals are also switching to visual voicemail to take the hassle out of voicemails, helping them save time and focus on more important things in their life.
Over the past few years, journalists have reported again and again that voicemail is dead or dying but it is still used widely today, especially in business. Why? Humans can speak faster than we can type. We can also read almost twice as fast as we can speak or listen and that’s what makes visual voicemail so great. Visual voicemail with speech recognition software means you can check your voicemail messages as quickly as an email.
With so many visual voicemail solutions on the market, it can be hard to decide which to try, so we published our list summarising some of the best. Luckily for some, there are a few mobile service providers who provide simple visual voicemail to all of their customers. For others, there are many third-party providers out there like Vxt who provide more advanced visual voicemail apps to anyone with phones on compatible services. Visual voicemail apps like Vxt typically provide other helpful features like voicemail to email transcription, personalised greetings, Web browser mode and integrations with a range of CRM. If you haven’t tried it out yet, download Vxt for free on iPhone or Android and see for yourself how much time you can save with visual voicemail.