Voicemail to Email: How It Works

Written by Kevin Bartley

The voicemail to email cloud phone system feature can make you and your team more responsive, flexible, and available to customers and prospects.

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Voicemail to email is a business phone system feature that records a voicemail as an audio file (commonly .mpg or .wav format) and sends it to an email address. The recipient is then able to download the file right from their email and play it using a media player on their smartphone or PC. Voicemail to email is a popular offering among hosted VoIP and cloud phone system providers.

How Voicemail to Email Works

Voicemail emails typically include the time and date of the message as well as caller ID information.

Depending on your personal preference and what your provider allows, there are a number of different ways this feature can work:

  • Receive email with recording attached: A notification email with the new voicemail message attached as a .wav or .mp3 file is sent to your inbox. The message will also be saved in your voicemail box so that you can access it again later.

  • Receive email with recording attached, no saved recording: A notification email with the new voicemail message attached is sent to your inbox. After the email is sent, the voicemail message file is automatically deleted from your voicemail box.

  • Receive email only (no attachment): A notification email is sent to your inbox indicating that a new message is waiting in your voicemail box.

Some providers, like OnSIP, allow you to listen to and delete recordings using a web-based interface in addition to the traditional dial-in phone method.

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Voicemail to Email Benefits

1. Faster Retrieval

The average American worker spends 4.1 hours per day checking work emails. That means in an eight-hour workday, every other minute at work is spent on email. With such an email-centric workplace, voicemail to email makes it easier for you and your team to see new voicemail messages. Some providers also offer text message notifications when a new voicemail comes in.

The alternative is waiting for your office desktop phone to light up with a voicemail notification. Most people miss this notification, at least initially. Employees who use their desk phones consistently might see the notification, but they still have to be sitting near their phone to call their voicemail boxes, enter their PINs, and navigate through the maze of recordings to hear the message. That's why voicemail to email makes it easier to both receive and listen to voicemail recordings.

2. Improved Responsiveness

The faster you receive a voicemail message, the faster you can respond to its contents. This rapidity can greatly improve the response time of your team as they contact customers and prospects.

According to BT Business, 85 percent of callers who can’t reach a company on the first try won't call back, and 75 percent won't leave voicemails. Callers who actually leave voicemails are indicating some level of seriousness about your service.

However, waiting too long to call back can kill the caller's enthusiasm. If a caller leaves a voicemail, your team should respond within 10 to 15 minutes. Voicemail to email allows your team members to see the new voicemail within a matter of minutes.

In some cases, you may need to put your phone to do not disturb (DND). In this case, phone calls will automatically be sent to your voicemail box if you do not have call forwarding set up to an external number. With voicemail to email, you can be notified immediately of new messages. Even if you are unable to return the call on the phone right away, you might be able to send a quick email to the caller to acknowledge that you have received her message and will respond in full later.

Listen to voicemails from a mobile device

3. Mobile Listening

Voicemail to email opens up your voicemail box's mobility. The feature allows you to listen to recordings while waiting in traffic, brewing coffee, or nursing a cold. With voicemail to email, your voicemail recordings go wherever your email can go. Your voicemails can be accessed on smartphones, PCs, and tablets.

The feature is a fundamental tool for remote working. The mobile agility of voicemail to email gives your team members a closer connection to your business. If a presentation slide needs to be changed at the last minute with specific instructions, voicemail to email can become a handy tool.

4. Recordkeeping

Voicemail to email is a useful archival tool. Voicemail attachments can be stored in an email folder, or you can download the files to your computer, smartphone, or tablet. If you work in a field that requires archiving or simply want to keep detailed records, the voicemail to email feature can automatically create a comprehensive archive of your recordings.

Most providers include the time and date of the voicemail message, as well as caller ID information, in the file name. This makes the recordings easier to sort and filter. Typically, a voicemail recording takes up no more than a few megabytes of space. Third-party platforms such as DropBox allow you to send voicemail recordings directly to a cloud storage account via a custom email address.

For more extensive documentation, you can set up call recording, which records your phone calls in addition to your voicemails and saves them to a cloud storage service.

Voicemail to Email: A Free Tool for Your Business

If you manage a calling operation or business that receives voicemails from customers, you may want to consider turning on voicemail to email for your agents. This feature can make you and your team more responsive, flexible, and available to customers and prospects. Voicemail to email is typically a free feature included with voicemail boxes on most VoIP phone systems.

Voicemail to email leads to more responsive team members

Visual Voicemail

Smartphones have popularized visual voicemail, an interface that allows you to manage your messages. This is a separate feature from voicemail to email, but it has many of the same time-saving benefits. The key difference is that visual voicemail typically refers to a voicemail application installed on your cell phone or PC, or running in your browser, that allows you to access, play, and delete voicemail. With voicemail to email, your "interface" for managing voicemail is your email inbox and your media player of choice.

Voicemail Transcription

Another common voicemail feature is voicemail transcription, a service that transcribes your voicemail into text (using human-listening or machine-listening). This feature is sometimes coupled with voicemail to email, allowing you to receive both text and audio versions of your voicemail file in your email. It is also sometimes bundled with visual voicemail, allowing you to read your voicemail directly in your visual voicemail application.