Visual Voicemail

Visual Voicemail transcribes all of your voicemails into easily readable messages that give you the information you need from unheard voicemail messages without needing to listen to them.

Voicemail is a must-have for pretty much every business since it’s inevitable that you’ll miss a call here and there. But retrieving those voicemail messages isn’t always easy. Why? Well, when you’re busy or in meetings all day, you don’t always have time to check your voicemail and listen to every message. That’s where visual voicemail comes in.

Sounds pretty futuristic and technical, but you might be surprised to learn that it’s been around for a while and was first introduced to Apple iPhones... In 2007.

In this article, we’ll show you how this handy feature works and walk you through everything you need to know. If you haven’t heard of it before, it just might be your next favorite productivity tool. If you or your team is always on the phone, this could be a simple way to improve your performance.

But first, what exactly is it?

What is visual voicemail?

Technically speaking, visual voicemail is a telephony feature that brings voicemail into the 21st century—by allowing you to read your voicemail messages on a visual interface.

Your messages are transcribed so you can click to read each one from your voicemail inbox, along with helpful information about the caller and duration. Its purpose? To help you save time, prioritize your responses, and have more flexibility over managing your voicemail messages.

One of the biggest benefits of using visual voicemail is, of course, for those fast talkers who speak so quickly that there’s no way you can jot down important information in their voicemail message (which means you’d have to go back and listen to it again) and when people leave their number in a voicemail for you to call them back. Unless you have a knack for remembering phone numbers the first time you hear them, having a transcription is helpful.

Dialpad offers a PIN-less voicemail message system so you don’t have to put in any codes or wade through the same prompt menus repeatedly to access your voicemails. (Plus you don’t have to listen to every single message to get to the one you want.)

Essentially, visual voicemail lets you:

  • Receive and read voicemails—in any order you want

  • Quickly scan through handy transcriptions of messages as you scroll

  • Save, archive, and delete messages with a single click

  • Forward transcriptions of voice messages over email

How does visual voicemail work?

Traditionally, you used to receive voicemail notifications alerting you that a caller had left you a message. You then had to dial into your voicemail inbox, enter your voicemail password or PIN, and listen to all your messages in reverse chronological order (the most recent ones first).

Visual voicemail, on the other hand, is typically accessed through a web or mobile app from your phone provider or a third party phone system. This allows you to access your voice messages on a visual interface, or special voicemail screen in the app. For example, here’s how it looks in Dialpad:


This interface typically shows you a list of messages that you can read (rather than requiring you to dial in to listen to all of them). You should also be able to choose to read the transcription or listen to the audio file.

If you’re using Dialpad, voicemail transcription is automatic and instant. Whenever someone leaves you a voicemail, Dialpad will automatically translate it into handy written text for you. It’ll save all your voicemail messages to your inbox under the “Voicemails” tab.

To see your entire log of voicemails including the audio files that contain the actual voice recording, just go to your “Voicemail” tab in your Dialpad account. You can also download the transcripts into an easily shareable email format. (You know, for those extra long voicemails that contain a ton of info.)

4 features to look for in a visual voicemail app

Visual voicemail apps usually come with a few basic features—but not all of them do. Let’s take a look at what you should double check for as you’re narrowing down your options.

1. Accurate voicemail transcription

Transcribing audio voicemails into text is pretty much a must-have for any visual voicemail tool. But not all voice recognition technology is the same. Every app has different transcription technology, and hands down the most important thing is accuracy. If there’s only one thing you need out of a tool like this, it’s accuracy. Otherwise what’s the point, right?

Dialpad’s AI-powered Voice Intelligence (Vi) technology is built from the ground up by our own team, and it transcribes—in real time—even more accurately than Google.

With some tools, transcription works alongside “voicemail to email.” As the name suggests, that means that both audio and transcribed versions of the voicemail file get emailed to you. In Dialpad, for instance, you can choose to get email notifications for new voicemails if you want:



All you have to do is go to your Settings > Call Handling & Voicemail and check the box for Receive Email Notifications for New Voicemails. That’s it! You’ll then receive an email every time a new voicemail pings into your inbox.

👉 Dialpad tip: Having an accurate voicemail transcription feature is nice because you don’t have to dial in, listen to messages, and re-listen because you couldn’t quite make out what the caller was saying the first time.

2. Multilingualism

Having multilingual capabilities in your visual voicemail isn’t just a bonus—it’s a must-have if you do business internationally. If you have customers, prospects, and partners in non-English-speaking countries, you’ll probably need audio-to-text transcriptions in other languages.

(Otherwise, you’d need some kind of translation service to break down those language barriers.)

Dialpad’s visual voicemail works in eighty different languages, making it ideal for conducting business worldwide.

3. Easy access across all devices

You’re probably not at your computer or desk all day, right? If so, you’d need to be able to access your visual voicemail messages across all devices, which means the tool should have a mobile app for both Android and iOS. Dialpad has both.

With Dialpad, the visual voicemail inbox or interface on your phone or mobile device will sync automatically with the voicemail server, meaning you can check your latest messages even when you’re not in the office:



Oh, and one of the biggest perks of Dialpad is that it’s a true browser-based platform. That means you can do literally everything in a web browser, just the same as you can in an app—including checking voicemails:



4. A user-friendly visual interface

We put this one last because for some folks this is important, and less so for others. But ideally, your visual voicemail should have a user-friendly interface that allows anyone to easily manage their messages, no matter how tech-savvy they are.

A voicemail application isn’t the most complicated thing in the world, whether it’s installed on your cell phone, PC, or running in your browser. And it shouldn’t be difficult to access. If you’re trying out different tools and find it difficult to read, listen to, and delete voice messages, you should probably keep looking.

We’ve designed Dialpad to make this process as easy as possible—your voicemails even automatically get sent to your email address in both transcribed and audio format. And if you want to use your voicemail inbox instead, the visual interface is as simple and cleanly laid out as your music or media player.

Want to forward your voicemail? You can easily do that from here too:



Okay. Now let’s look at how to set up visual voicemail. (It takes just a few steps. Super easy.)

How to set up and manage your visual voicemail

If you use Dialpad, setting up and managing your voicemail takes only two or three steps (plus you still have the option of recording a greeting for callers).

Once you have a Dialpad account, you can record your personalized voicemail greeting by opening the app or visiting Dialpad.com and navigating to Settings > Call Handling & Voicemail.

To check your voicemail messages, go to Inbox > Voicemails in the Dialpad app or window.

Here, you can read the transcripts for your voicemails or press the play button to listen to the audio messages. You’ll also be able to see Caller ID and the time and length of messages to help you decide which messages are the most important.

The drop-down menu next to a message allows you to:

  • Mark as read

  • Flag

  • Delete

  • Download

  • Forward as an email

👉 Dialpad tip: If you need any help or troubleshooting, you can always contact a member of our helpful customer service team or visit our Help Center for information, tips, and resources.

Dialpad plans featuring visual voicemail

Visual voicemail is available on all of Dialpad’s plans: Standard, Pro, and Enterprise, at no extra cost. As we mentioned earlier, you can use this feature through the web portal or mobile phone app.

Keep reading to learn about other things you can do with a modern business phone system like Dialpad.

Standard

Our Standard plan is best for small businesses with one office and one license. As well as featuring our visual voicemail service and voicemail transcription, our Standard plan includes features like:

  • Unlimited calling, SMS and MMS

  • Transfer, hold, and mute call controls

  • Custom voicemail greeting

  • G Suite and Microsoft Office 365 integrations

  • Fax (add-on)

  • Custom off-hours routing

Pro

Our Pro plan is the most popular one for growing businesses and covers up to 10 office locations. It has a minimum of three licenses and includes everything that our Standard plan does, with the following additional features:

  • 24/7 phone support

  • Local phone number support in 50+ countries

  • Salesforce integration

  • API and webhooks for additional customizations

Enterprise

Our Enterprise plan is designed for larger organizations with unlimited office locations. It requires a minimum of 100 licenses, and includes all the features of the Pro plan above along with the extra features like:

  • Okta integration

  • Service level agreements (SLA)

Benefits of visual voicemails: Why use them?

There are many reasons for using visual voicemail, and most people will actually find a feature like this useful if they’re often on the phone. Let’s check them out.

It lets you go through your voicemail messages more quickly

Being able to retrieve voice messages quickly has obvious time-saving advantages. If we’re being honest, traditional voicemail systems make the process more complicated (and time-consuming) than it needs to be.

First of all, you have to sign in or dial a number to call your voicemail. Then you need to listen to a long-winded multiple-choice menu. Next, you have to listen to all of your messages in reverse chronological order to get to the most important ones.

Why shouldn’t visual voicemail messages be as easily and quickly handled as SMS messages, emails, and other forms of visual messaging?

It makes you more productive

If you’re the type of person who gets lots of voicemails, then you’ll probably find it helpful to be able to visually scan your transcribed messages—this way, you can more quickly see which ones actually deserve your time and attention.

Which then allows you to prioritize which messages need addressing first, which lets you get back to people more efficiently. If your voicemail was from a cold call, then who cares—but if it’s from a potential client, then you do not want to be listening to all of them before you get to that crucial message from that future client.

If you’re in a business where the fastest person to respond wins, then visual voicemail is definitely a tool that helps you digest messages—and respond—more quickly. Whether it’s an opportunity to improve customer experience and satisfaction or close a deal more quickly, it just might give you the edge you need.

It makes voicemails more accessible

Traditional voicemail systems aren’t particularly accessible. Some even require you to access your voice messages on the actual physical desk phone that you use to make phone calls in the office.

Not exactly practical if you can’t make it into the office or if a caller left an important message on Saturday and you can’t get back to them until after the weekend.

Even if you can dial into your voicemail box with your cell phone, it isn’t always convenient to listen to messages on the go. Maybe you’re in an environment where playing an audio clip would be disruptive? Maybe you need to multitask? Simply looking at your phone screen to read messages is way easier, and as accessible as receiving a text message.

For example, imagine you’re in an important meeting, but you’re also expecting to receive some vital information on a phone call. In this case, you’d be able to glance at your phone (discreetly) and read that information as text—without disturbing anyone else in your meeting.

Visual voicemail can solve all these problems, simply by giving you access to your messages from practically anywhere with internet access. iPhone or Android, Samsung or Mac, you can access your voicemails from any device.

This degree of accessibility makes visual voicemail perfect for busy remote or hybrid teams.

It’s more shareable

Sure, getting a transcription in your voicemail inbox is great, but what if you need to share the information with other people?

That’s one of the benefits of using a business communications platform instead of just your cell phone for calling and messaging. There are certain things that you just can’t do with a cell phone alone. For example, Dialpad can email you both your audio voicemail and a transcription of it, which lets you not only read your messages in text form, but also forward them to the people who need to be kept in the loop.

(It’s equally easy to do this with multiple recipients, too.)

It helps with record-keeping

Trying to organize and store traditional voicemails for your records is tricky, to say the least. Impossible, even.

But visual voicemail has the added benefit of being a straightforward record-keeping aid.

For example, Dialpad will transcribe messages and email them to you, but it also gives you the option to set up a Google Drive folder to store them in, which essentially creates a detailed archive. This one is more around voicemails rather than visual voicemails, but being able to back up your voicemails right to your Google Drive can come in handy if that’s a big part of how you communicate:



From Google Drive, you can of course download the voicemails as MP3 files to save on your computer or USB drive.

To have your voicemails automatically save to Google Drive, just go to “Advanced Settings” in your Dialpad account and check off the “Save voicemails” box under “Cloud Backup.”

Visual voicemail: A better way to handle voicemail messages

If you want to eliminate the need to listen to incoming voicemails, visual voicemail is for you.

Not only does it make it easy to see all your messages in a convenient interface, it’s also easier, faster, and more flexible than the traditional way of doing it.

So, say goodbye to calling a phone number to listen to your messages.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Dialpad plans include Visual Voicemail?

Currently, Visual Voicemail is available on Dialpad Standard, Pro, and Enterprise plans.

How do I get Voicemail Transcription?

It happens automatically. Any time someone calls your Dialpad number and leaves you a message, Dialpad transcribes the message for you.

Where can I find my Voicemail Transcription?

The Voicemail Transcription will be available under the “Calls” section of your Inbox. Dialpad will also email you a copy of both the transcribed and audio version of the message.

Is Visual Voicemail available on mobile apps?

Yes—you’ll see Visual Voicemail on both iOS and Android mobile apps.