Under the default setting, SimulScribe informs all callers that their message will be transcribed by their service.
As I described in the second postscript note in yesterday's post, SimulScribe charges AN EXTRA nickel per message on top of the $0.25 per voice-mail if the subscriber chooses to turn that default tag line off.
I found that half of the callers leaving messages for me yesterday CHANGED their behavior while leaving a message. For example. one caller felt obliged to talk really slowly so that the service could transcribe the message properly, taking to heart the part of the default tag-line that encouraged callers to "speak slowly".
Two other callers left briefer messages than they normally would, including a more subdued tone in their voice.
To put it another way, the awareness of the technology CHANGED user behavior.
It made people more self-conscious much like folks get when they make a video call vs. a regular phone call for the first few times.
"...here's the future: people will start talking to the transcriber, as in they know you transcribe all your vm and don't get it directly so they will dictate their message to the transcriber, as in ""sh*t, don't write that down, i didn't mean to say that. ok write this, starting over, write this. are you ready? this is my message...." etc. :)
Posted by: Dick Costolo, Mar 2, 2007 8:22:24 PM"
For now, I've opted to take the tag line out. It means a higher expense for me, but hopefully callers act as they normally would leaving a message.
It's a situation where offering to opt out of the tag-line for NO CHARGE would be a bad, short-term decision for SimulScribe. Not only would they lose the extra revenue, but they also lose the "viral marketing" to new, potential subscribers with every voice-mail.
I mentioned in yesterday's post that Research in Motion with it's Blackberry service faced a similar decision in their early years. Every Blackberry message sent has a default "sent via my Blackberry" message as a tag-line at the end of every email sent.
But RIMM didn't make users pay extra to change the default setting. Rather, they won anyway, because user inertia meant that most users didn't bother taking the tag-line out. Besides, it also had the added user advantage of providing an easy excuse for the various typos and grammatical liberties taken with an on the go wireless email device with it's teeny keyboard.
It remains to be seen if SimulScribe would gain additional user goodwill NOT charging extra to take out the default-tag-line.
I know this user is likely to change to a competitor offering that option down the road, assuming other features of the service remain competitive.
The only other suggestion I would have for SimulScribe so far, is to have the ability to record my own voice-mail greeting as on normal voice-mail systems.
Currently, the only option seems to be to have a very computer-sounding voice spit out my phone number digit by digit to every caller, followed by a beep. Not very warm and fuzzy experience.
P.S. While I'm nit-picking SimulScribe for something that's in the weeds, I thought I'd praise them for something else well.
It's the only service than when you sign up, does not ask you to input your City and State in the online form, just after you've already typed in your ZIP CODE.
It's smart enough to know that it can figure out that info from that data, and they shouldn't make the user's life a tad bit easier on this front.
Very nice touch, SimulScribe! Good attention to detail.
While I'm on this mini-rant, why do most online sign-up sheets have these eternally and infernally long drop-down menus to pick your State, and Country?
It's the moment of insanity, nine times out of ten, that can make one wish they lived in Afghanistan and not the United States.