Voicemail Transcriptions – Read, Search & Forward…

Want a good laugh? Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal ran an article poking fun at speech recognition accuracy (or lack thereof) of voicemail-to-text services. These are services that automatically convert your voicemail message into text. If you haven’t read it, check it out. It’s worth a chuckle.

Aside from the laugh-value, the Journal’s article got me thinking about why we continue to use technologies despite their imperfections. For example, dropped cell phone calls are a part of everyday life. However, we continue to make calls from our cell phones. The same applies to voicemail-to-text services. People who use voicemail-to-text services won’t give it up, even though it is sometimes inaccurate. But why?

The answer is that today’s voicemail-to-text services solve a huge problem. A few months ago, Yap ran a study to better understand consumer attitudes and behaviors towards voicemail. We discovered that Americans really hate voicemail. The top three stated reasons for dissatisfaction with voicemail are:

1. Listening to long and rambling messages.
2. Navigating touch-tone menus in order to access and delete messages.
3. Need to grab paper and pencil in order to take notes.

As it turns out, voicemail-to-text can solve all of these problems. Certainly, if accuracy is so poor, there really is no point in attempting to read a completely garbled message. But we find that accuracy levels from our deployments can range from about 85% to 90% (sometimes higher). That is, approximately 9 words out of 10 are accurately recognized. And users find that at those accuracy levels, there is tremendous value in the service.

The Wall Street Journal article went on to say that some of the causes for inaccuracies are due to poor phone connections and heavily accented speakers. The good news is that we are only getting started. As voicemail-to-text services like Yap gather more experience and real world data, accuracy will also improve for these conditions as well.

So, my suggestion is try a voicemail-to-text service. In addition to the occasional laugh, you’ll like it much better than listening to your voice messages.

Phone.com has thousands of customers using voicemail transcription service. for just $1.50 per month customers get unlimited transcriptions and save a lot of time that would have been wasted on listening to voicemails. To learn more please click here.

Special thanks to Marcello Typrin who is VP of Products at Yap, a leading, cloud-based speech recognition services company and a Phone.com partner for delivering HIGH QUALITY voicemail transcription service.