If you don't want to listen to instructions that seem antiquated even to people who grew up without answering machines, and pay for that dis-service, then you can forward your missed calls to Google Voice. After someone leaves you a message on Google Voice you can listen online, read the transcribed text via e-mail or receive it as a text message.
To make use of this service you don't need to change your phone number; you just need a free Google Voice account and service with a compatible carrier.
Most major carriers allow you to forward missed calls, including
- Cricket Wireless
- US Cellular
- Click on "Settings" in Google Voice.
- Click on "Activate Google voice mail on this phone" to see settings for your specific phone.
- Dial the correct numbers and save $20-$40 a year.
While you need an invite to use Google Voice, getting one is pretty easy. Your best bet is to ask members of your social networks like LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook. Odds are one of them will have an extra invite, but if not ask around at work or purchase an invite on eBay for as low as 99 cents.
In addition to enduring the time- and money-wasting practice of traditional voicemail checking, there are many other great reasons to use Google Voice like call routing, call forwarding and other advanced calling features.