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How Do I Choose the Best Voicemail Providers?

Maggie Worth
Maggie Worth

Voicemail is a service that allows callers to leave messages on automated lines and phone subscribers to remotely pick up those messages at a later time. Some voicemail providers may offer additional services, however. When choosing the best voicemail provider for your personal or business use, you will want to take a close look at these services to decide which you want and need. You will also want to evaluate the standard program offerings, the price of services and the reputation of the provider.

In many cases, residential customers are offered a voicemail plan through their phone service provider. This is also true of cellular providers. Businesses, particularly small ones, may also have this option, but are more likely to purchase independent voicemail plans. As with any service, you will want to check online reviews or personal references when evaluating voicemail providers.

Woman holding a disc
Woman holding a disc

One of the most important factors to consider when choosing between voicemail providers is the availability of services. Basic services generally include the ability to record a custom greeting that callers will hear and the ability to check your messages. Most providers allow you to check your mail from any phone, provided you have a pass code, but some require you to check messages from the line to which the initial call was made. A good provider will generally allow you to password-protect your inbox.

Additional services may be offered and can include the ability to set a temporary message as well as more complex functions, such as forwarding calls to an alternate device. Business customers are likely to have a much more extensive menu of options. Most business account voicemail providers offer options such as message flagging and automatic forwarding, for instance. They might additionally offer the option to auto-reply to a caller on the same system or to have messages sent to an email account.

The services and features you choose will affect the pricing you receive from voicemail providers. You'll want to be sure you understand which features are standard and which will incur additional fees. Business accounts will also need to consider the number of user accounts they will need because this generally affects provider pricing as well.

Voicemail providers may also be required to add fees collected by governmental or regulatory agencies. These can include taxes, line fees and other such charges. You'll want to ask which of these fees apply to you and consider the cost along with the expense of your service.

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Discussion Comments


@indemnifyme - That sounds quite frustrating. At least if the voicemail system was consistent one way or the other, you would know what was going on!

I actually use an Internet phone service myself, for my personal cell phone use. The service gave me a number, and I can have all my calls sent to my cell phone.

The coolest thing about it though, is all the choices I have regarding my voicemail. I can set it so that certain numbers go straight to voicemail. I can also set it up so that a transcript of the voicemail is delivered to my email. This is great if I need to see what the message said, but can't actually pick up and use my cell phone.


We use a voIp service at my office for our phone system. This includes our voicemail. I have to say, the particular company my boss chose leaves a lot to be desired.

We all have our own voicemail box, and then we have a voicemail box for the sales team. We've had a lot of weird issues with the sales team voicemail box. Sometimes, one person will listen to the message and it will disappear from the sales team mailbox. Other times, one person will listen to the message but it will stay in the mailbox for the rest of the team to hear too. It gets pretty confusing trying to figure out who is taking care of which message.

Anyway, there are a few other problems with our system, but I would say this is the biggest one.


My chiropractor works from an office in her home and relies on her voice mail service all the time.

She always carries her cell phone with her, but also has her calls from her land line transferred to her cell phone.

If she doesn't pick up her office phone after so many rings, it automatically goes to her cell phone.

Since she has a small practice and doesn't have a receptionist or any kind of office help, this is a perfect solution for her.

She can always know who is calling without leaving her patient. If it is a call that she does not need to take, they can leave a voice mail and she can return the call at her convenience.


We still have a land line phone, and with our phone service have free options that we can choose from. Voice mail is one of the options we have, along with call waiting.

What I like about this service is the option to listen to messages from any phone. This comes in handy if you are away from home and want to check for messages.

We don't use this service nearly as much as we used to because of our cell phones. I can see how it will be something we discontinue in the future and totally rely on using our cell phones.

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