Voicemail can sometimes feel like more of a hassle than a useful tool. Any time you listen to voicemail, you're stuck waiting until the very end, so it's not possible to scan a voicemail message the way you would skim over a text-based message — something people have become accustomed to in the era of TL;DR ("too long; didn't read"). Sometimes you can't clearly hear what someone has said in a voicemail and you're left replaying the message over and over to figure it out. For a written record of the voicemail, you have to perform your own manual voicemail transcription. At some point, most people end up thinking, "There has to be a better way to do this."
Given all these constraints, people unsurprisingly tend to gravitate toward more flexible communication methods such as text messaging and email. After all, people multitask more often than at any point in the past, and time is of the essence. With the rise of communication platforms such as social media that allow colleagues to rapidly and easily share snippets of information with one another, you naturally expect such features in all communication channels you use — including voicemail.
This also coincides with a trend in business environments that use unified communications (UC) platforms for better workplace collaboration. UC integrates with the company email system, displaying voicemail messages in the user's inbox alongside emails that can — if the user wishes — display a preview to allow for better scanning. By default, voicemail offers no such capability. For that reason, office professionals are likely to wonder why they can have text previews of their emails but not their voicemails.
Businesses have started to offer voicemail transcription to better support employees' need to quickly scan and respond to their incoming communications. Through this feature, visual voicemail is automatically transcribed into text so listeners can read it at a glance and determine its contents. This can come in handy particularly if users are on the phone or a video conference, providing a sense of what the message is about so they can figure out how urgent it is without disrupting the conversation. The transcription feature is also convenient for employees who use mobile apps while traveling, since it allows them to quickly check their messages before they move on to their destination.
This is not unlike how emails, text messages, and enterprise messaging already work today. As with those channels, voicemail transcription allows a busy office professional to sort and prioritize incoming messages to more efficiently respond. In addition, this busy professional can also share those voicemail transcriptions with colleagues. Businesses are finding these capabilities facilitate more streamlined workplace communication, bringing the otherwise siloed and isolated voicemail function in line with how other channels are used. This makes voicemail more intuitive, usable, and compatible with employees' collaboration needs than it was in the past.
Voicemail transcription is particularly helpful for certain industries such as the legal profession, which is so focused on text and the written word. Busy lawyers trying to complete a legal document under a tight deadline could find this feature helpful, since it lets them copy and paste snippets from a voicemail message — such as a client's request for a couple of specific changes to a document — into the file they are working on before they send it.
A real estate professional showing a prospective buyer a new home might notice a message has come in, take a look, and text the colleague right back with an answer without interrupting the appointment. Or, a doctor talking with an assistant could see an important voicemail regarding a patient has come in and read it on the spot, deciding to interrupt the conversation and pursue follow-up action regarding their course of treatment.
Voicemail transcription responds to the way you communicate and collaborate today, integrating an otherwise inflexible mode of messaging into multitasking, multichannel lives with ease. Thanks to that enhancement, voicemail (which has been around in one form or another since the late '70s) has joined the information age. Businesses and their employees can enjoy greater efficiency and productivity thanks to convenient visual voicemail transcriptions, which let them stay up-to-date with workplace communications while keeping their day-to-day work flowing seamlessly.
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