Your Cell Phone Provider's Voicemail is Obsolete
Voicemail has taken another big leap forward from the standard services offered by your cell phone provider. Whether you're on Verizon, AT&T, Cingular, or any of the others, there's a better way to get your messages.
A free service called YouMail will take over your cell phone email service and do some very interesting things with it. It's not just a matter of more convenience for you, but also a client services and marketing value.
Your Cell Messages End up in Your Email Inbox
When a caller leaves you a voicemail on your cell number, the message is sent as an attachment to any email address you choose. Of course you can also check your voicemail from the phone as before, but this gives you an archival service of value. You can save the email, with the original voice message intact, onto your hard drive. I use this to file messages that are related to transactions. You never know when you might need to know exactly what someone said in their message.
You Can Forward the Voicemail to Someone Else
You get a call from your client that gives instructions as to some extra staking of the property line they'd like done by the surveyor. You can always call the surveyor and reiterate the verbal message, and it will probably work well, even if they have to write a notebook full to get all the instructions right.
Or you can forward the voicemail from the client directly to the surveyor. There's no middle person to mess up the information transfer, and the surveyor can play it over and over to get the instructions right without you having to say them multiple times on a phone call.
Check and Record Messages Online at Youmail.com
You have a login page on Youmail to manage your account and messages. You can always go there to retrieve one from the past, or just play them from the site rather than from the emails.
You can also use your own microphone and recording software to record your messages that callers will hear. You then upload them to Youmail servers. If you don't have that capability, no problem, as you can record your answering messages with a phone or you can use a microphone on your computer and record directly to the service online.
A Message for Every Occasion or Special People
The really amazing thing about this service is the ability to record multiple answering messages and have the right one play for the caller based on who they are. That's right, the Caller ID tells the service who it is, and if there's a special message for that number, it plays. Otherwise, you have a default message for everyone else.
This could really be a WOW factor with a special client who's requiring hand-holding in a transaction. They'll feel like the most important caller on your list when they hear their own personalized answering message.
What's it Cost and For How Long?
When I asked if the free service would stay free, the company said that it would, but with possibly some enhancements for a fee. The current limit is a generous 400 contacts that can receive special messages, and the time limit for a caller to talk is 2 & 1/2 minutes.
It might definitely be worth a few bucks a month to get that message time longer, say more like ten minutes. And, if you're using groups of people to hear certain special messages when you don't answer, I guess you could hit the 400 contact limit at some point also.
Convenience Works Both Ways
Many times we select a technology tool based only on how it serves our needs and requirements. After all, getting our phone messages is quite important. We want to get them all and be able to easily manage them.
It's a good thing when we can also choose a tech service that will accomplish what we need and provide better service to our clients as well. Even if it's just a boost to their egos by having a special message when they can't reach you, it's still customer service at a higher level.
But there's one more value to this capability that hasn't yet been mentioned. How many of us would like to provide another number, perhaps even our home number, but only for certain callers? Just create a message something like "Hi, this is Jim and I'm really sorry I missed your call. This message is only for those that I wish to reach me at any time, so please feel free to call me now on my home phone number at 555-555-5555." Not bad for special customer service, while protecting your home time as well.