I was sad to learn that Verizon Wireless decided to drop their “Premium Visual Voice Mail” option. This was effective July 8th, 2016.
While I won’t miss the $2.99/month charge, which was a bit pricey, I will certainly miss the feature on my HTC One M8 Android based phone. (iPhone has Visual Voice Mail built-in and it isn’t going away).
Who the heck uses voicemail anymore anyway? Welllll, I do! I have a business which requires that people be able to reach me in a multitude of ways, and sometimes they call my cell phone. And having only 20 voice mail slots is absolutely limiting. I have been in a meeting, or driving, and received 20 calls in a short period of time. It’s not common, but it has happened.
Then there is the inconvenience of having to dial *82, and listen to X number of voice mail messages. Usually, someone calls in the middle of listening to them, and you have to start all over again.
I decided to utilize Google’s VoIP product called Google Voice. Which is free, and has the features I need most.
The setup was easy. I already had the Google Voice account setup, with a phone number, so all I needed to do was to setup my greeting, and then determine what actions I wanted to take place.
I wanted voice mail to be sent in text message to my phone, transcribed from audio to text. Check – done.
I wanted the voice mail to be sent in email to my business email account as an attachment AND as transcribed text. Check – done.
Then, next, I wanted my cell phone to send any unanswered call to the Google Voice number. That is accomplished by using conditional call forward / call transfer and on Verizon is simply activated by dialing *71 + Google Voice number.
Now, when you call my cell and get voice mail, your message is going to get to me, even if I leave my phone in the car, or if it is dead. I’ll get it in email. Bonus, I no longer have to dial Verizon’s voicemail service, and therefore you will not receive a “This mailbox is full” message.
There are a multitude of apps and offerings, some free, some not, but this seems like one of the most secure options, without a recurring monthly charge.