Lifechanger – Voicemail Transcription

I guess it’s true that there is no such thing as bad press. I first heard of Simulscribe in Mike Arrington’s scathing indictment of Simulscribe’s CEO as a "spammer".

Not much later, Brad Feld told me he was using the service. Then I googled it and saw that Greg Clayman had written a favorable review of Simulscribe on his blog last fall.

A classic case of "I hear it once, I file it away in my brain. I hear it twice, I pay attention. I hear it three times, I get it".

So I got Simulscribe this week. To be honest, I couldn’t figure out how to use the service based on the welcome email. So I emailed back that the instructions didn’t work for me on my blackberry. I thought that would be the last I heard from Simulscribe. But to my pleasure, I got a call on my blackberry from a guy who told me how to change my "forward" "busy" and "unreachable" numbers on the blackberry and I was good to go.

Enough about how I got to this service. THIS IS A LIFE CHANGER. What Simulscribe does is reroute your voice mails to their service which is a traditional voice mail service, with the exception that it TRANSCRIBES the voice mail and emails it to you along with the wav file so you can play the original voice mail.

I can’t tell you how powerful transcription is. You really have to see it to believe it. I was in a board meeting yesterday morning. The Gotham Gal called me. I had the blackberry on vibrate so I saw the call, but couldn’t step out to take it. Within a minute (yes, less than 60 seconds), I had an email saying she wanted to know if she should call Time Warner Cable. I texted her back to say that I’d take care of it. That was awesome. Didn’t miss a beat in the board meeting either.

Back in the Flatiron days, we had outlook integration with our office voicemail. All voicemails would be emailed to us as an mp3 file. I loved that feature and never checked my voicemail other than via email. Now I’ve got that back, plus transcription. I am in heaven.

So I am now going to forward all my various voice mail services (home, office, cell) to one voicemail box and get all my voicemail messages via email on my blackberry and laptop. This is a life changer for sure.

There is at least one other company that provides a similar service called Spinvox. To be honest, I never thought of trying them out. Two positive recommendations from two people I completely trust is all I need to go with a vendor.

I’ve been showing my Simulscribe transcribed voice mails to everyone and Nick said to me yesterday at lunch that they might be using outsourced labor in addition to speech recognition in order to get that level of quality. Maybe they are. But I don’t really care. The service rocks.

The price is $9.95 per month for 25 messages and then $0.25 per message after that. I get 2 to 4 voicemail messages a day on my blackberry so this will cost me $25/month for my blackberry and another $10 to $15/month when I add office and home to it. $40/month for voicemail sure does seem expensive, but I bet the price comes down quickly as others enter this market.

UPDATE: Jason Devitt’s take on voicemail transcription services. Well worth reading if you are into mobile and voice stuff.

For now, I am happy to pay it. You don’t get life changers like this every day.