When the fine people at YouMail, Inc asked me to review their visual voicemail app I thought to myself…but I already have visual voicemail? Ever since getting my iPhone one of the greatest things about it was the visual voicemail. People call, leave messages, I get a notification they left me an email and I click on it and listen to what they said. Gone were the days of dialing in a phone number and entering a series of secret codes to listen to voicemails. It was there visually on my screen. So naturally I assumed I had “visual voicemail”. Well apparently the people who created the YouMail app felt they could do better. So I was curious to see what they came up with.
YouMail has a clean user interface that resembles any business style app you may have encountered on the iPhone before. Simple screens with lists, a menu button at the top that slides the screen to the right to show messages, hang ups, greetings, contacts, help, and settings menu items. Users can click on one of those to get to their represented screens. The messages and hang ups menu items show counters as well to give you an idea of any calls you may have missed. The messages screen shows a list of all messages and depending on the type of YouMail account the user has it will list items in different ways. I was granted trial access to a “premium” account so when someone called me I not only saw that I had a voicemail I also saw a brief snippet of the transcript of the voicemail. The free account users don’t get transcriptions. I will have a breakdown of each account type later in the review.
Inside the settings screen users can see a list of settings broken down by sub-headers like Account, Activation, Alerts, and Missed Call Handling. Each of these sub-headers have screens that go with them like for instance Activation has: Activate YouMail, Verify Activation, Return to Carriers Voicemail, and Check Voicemail. Another example “Alerts” has sub screens like email alerts and text alerts. You get the idea. It’s broke up nice to make it very self-explanatory. I like this and I’m sure users will appreciate it too.
Users who go into the greetings screen get to see a list of options such as default greeting, recorded greeting (custom recording you make), and pre-recorded greetings like Smart Greeting – Business, Standard Greeting – YouMail, Do Not Allow Blocked Callers, Mental Health Hotline, Number Out of Service, Overly Formal Greeting, Professional Greeting Male Voice, and Voicemail Hell. Some of these I believe are useful while others seem funny but not very useful. Like the Voicemail Hell is a very long and silly greeting that seems to be a joke more than a serious voicemail greeting. Funny for those that can use it but I’m not sure if all users will use it.
Features For Each Account Type
YouMail comes in three flavors. Free, Premium, and Business. Here is a breakdown of each of those subscription types and what features they have, taken straight from YouMail’s iTunes app page.
YouMail Free Features:
– Visual voicemail on your iPhone, iPad or desktop computer
– Smart Greeting: Voicemail greeting will address callers by name followed by your name
– Call Blocking: Block Calls from unwanted callers
– Basic Caller ID: See numbers that called or left messages
– Share Voicemail: Email, Facebook, Twitter
YouMail Premium – Includes all Free features plus:
– Voice to Text: Read Your Voicemails – YouMail transcribes your voicemails
– Visual Caller ID: Upload contact pics or synch with Facebook to see who’s calling
– Dedicated Voicemail Number: Voicemail number separate from Your Phone Number
– Unmask Blocked Callers: See those pesky callers who block or mask their numbers
– Privacy Guard: Block Unknown and Blocked callers
YouMail Business – Includes all Free & Premium features plus:
– Smart Business Greeting: Voicemail addresses callers name and states your business
– Live-Connect: Call Routing menu presented to caller with extensions
– Auto-Reply: Auto-respond to missed calls via Text message
– Auto-Forward: Auto-forward messages to other recipients
– Support: Premium support via email and phone
As you can see even the free version has some valuable services. Smart greeting, call blocking, and voicemail sharing is something worth checking it out for. Besides the app is free so what have you got to lose. Step it up to the premium version and you have voicemail transcription, a dedicated voicemail number, ability to unmask blocked calls, and privacy guard. These features will not only save you time they may save your sanity. No more annoying sales calls or blocked calls is good news! If your ready for the business features you can upgrade to business and add caller extensions, auto reply and auto forwarding.
Ultimately I think the people at YouMail have an uphill battle going on their hands. Every iPhone already comes with voicemail so it might be a hard sell to get people to pay for a feature they already get for free. However if business owners take a serious look at this app they may find it something that is sorely needed as part of their business. I also think that it could be a little easier to get someone setup. I’m not sure how they can do it but the process took me several tries and it was a bit “scary” at first. After all I’m switching from my free voicemail to something I’m not even sure will work at first. Until users get it working and see it for themselves it can be a little daunting. Because of this and the apps obvious value I give the YouMail application 4 stars out of 5. I liked it but I didn’t love it. I think some will get into it and others may not see the value. But the app is free to try out so why not try it out and see what you think. Don’t just take my word for it.