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Voicemail to Email: How It Works

by Kevin Bartley

How to forward voicemail to email? This feature can make you and your team more responsive, flexible, and available to customers and prospects.

Voicemail to email is a business phone system feature that does what it says, taking a recorded voicemail and sending it to an email address. The recipient is then able to download the file from their email and play it using a media player on their smartphone or PC. Voicemail to email is a popular feature among hosted VoIP and cloud phone system providers.

How to Forward Voicemail to Email and How Voicemail to Email Works

In addition to the audio file, which is commonly sent in either an mpg or wav format, voicemail emails also usually include the time and date of the message as well as caller ID information.

There are a number of ways this feature can work, and you can choose what works best for you. Keep in mind that not all providers offer the same options. With that said, here are three:

  • Receive email with recording attached: An email with the 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: An 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): An email is sent to your inbox alerting you that a new message is waiting in your voicemail box. There is no voicemail message attached.

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.

Voicemail to Email Benefits

1. Faster Retrieval

In 2021, the average U.S. user spent around 5.35 hours per day checking personal and business emails. Now that you know how to forward voicemail to email, why not take advantage of this habit and send your voicemails to your email? This makes it easy to see voicemails and take action. Some providers also offer text message notifications when a new voicemail comes in.

The alternative is looking at that little voicemail notification light on your desktop phone or, if you’ve got a VoIP, logging into your web portal to manually check. Most people miss it, at least initially, and workdays can get so busy that even if you do see the light, you might get distracted by a co-worker who just sent, yes, an email that you need to respond to. Also, employees who don’t consistently use or pay attention to their desk phones might never even see the notification.

And if they do see it, they have to be sitting near their phone, then enter their PINs to access the voicemail box, then listen through all the other voicemail messages they may have.

Voicemail to email simplifies all that. You get the message, you listen to the message directly, you’re done.

2. Improved Responsiveness

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

According to BTT Comms, 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. This means that callers who actually leave voicemails have something serious to say to your business.

However, waiting too long to call back can drain the caller's enthusiasm. If a caller leaves a voicemail, your team should respond within 10 to 15 minutes. This productivity-boosting feature allows your team members to see the new voicemail within a matter of minutes.

During hectic times, you may need to put your phone on Do Not Disturb (DND) mode while you work. In DND, phone calls automatically go to your voicemail box if you don’t have call forwarding set up to an external number. Emailing your messages lets you see these voicemail messages immediately. Without it, you have to wait until you turn off DND and are flooded with all those missed calls and voicemails.

Even if you see the voicemail message immediately and can’t call back right away, you may be able to send a courteous email to the caller to let them know you got their message and will respond in full later.

3. Mobile Listening

This voicemail forwarding feature 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. Using this forwarding feature, your voicemail recordings go wherever your email goes—your smartphone, PC, and tablet.

The feature is a great tool for remote working. This agility gives your team members another way to collaborate quickly on a project. If your presentation slide needs a last-minute change, a voicemail with specific instructions may be faster than composing a long text or email.

4. Recordkeeping

The feature is also 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 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 message directly to a cloud storage account via a custom email address.

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

Send Voicemail Message Using Voicemail to Email

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

Visual Voicemail

The iPhone popularized visual voicemail, which allows you to easily see and manage your voicemail messages. You often get a transcription of the audio voicemail file. This is slightly different from emailing your voicemail messages, but it has many of the same time-saving benefits. The biggest difference is that visual voicemail usually refers to a voicemail application on a smartphone, PC, or web browser, that allows you to read, access, play, or delete voicemails. With voicemail to email, you access voicemails through your email inbox and media player.

How Does Voicemail Transcription Work?

Voicemail transcription is a service that transcribes messages into text. It is often done with machine-listening, an AI that transcribes the text for you almost instantly. This feature is sometimes coupled with voicemail to email, allowing you to get both text and audio versions of a voicemail message in your email. It can save you further time if you can’t immediately listen to a voicemail, providing a nice summary of what was said. At OnSIP, voicemail transcription is available if users sign up with paid transcription services from Phonetag or TalkScribe.

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