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Summary:

AnyMessages, an online service designed to replace those pink “While You Were Out” messages, allows coworkers to send an email or text with a caller’s message and contact information. The service is easy to set up and use, but still has some kinks to work out.

any-messages

The folks behind the AnyMessages service bill it as “an online replacement for the old carbon copy telephone message pad.” It’s a pretty useful idea: any authorized staff member can log in to a common account and send short messages about phone calls or other events to one or more recipients by email or SMS. I’d agree that it’s easy to set up and use, but it’s not a replacement for other telephone message systems yet.

It’s simple to set up the service. Just go to the website, register with an email address, then enter the names, email addresses and mobile numbers of your staff.

I was able to get my free account up and running in just a couple of minutes. And in my testing, I received emails sent by the service within a few seconds. You can specify messages as “urgent,” but it appears that this just changes the text of the email rather than the speed of delivery.

The free account is limited. With it, you can send up to 1,000 messages (it’s not clear whether this is total or per year) by email to up to 10 staff members. To get SMS support, one must purchase the paid plan for £50 per year (about $77 US) and buy a bundle of SMS messages, each of which costs between 7.5p to 10p (about 12 to 15 cents US), depending on the number of messages you buy. The paid plan also allows sending to up to 250 recipients, and gives you access to priority email support. AnyMessages offers a 30-day money-back guarantee on the paid plan.

AnyMessages is new, and has a few bugs to work out. Since you select recipients from a drop-down box that doesn’t support multi-select, I wasn’t able to send the same message to more than one staffer. And there is supposed to be a “secondary user login” with limited functionality that I assume would be used by temps or other people who shouldn’t see or edit the contact information of staff members, but I couldn’t find any information on how to set it up. There’s hardly any documentation (the tutorial listed on the site doesn’t yet work), but the service is fairly easy to figure out .

The service’s website says that more features are in the works, and invites users to send ideas. For me, AnyMessages won’t be useful until it has an automatic way to archive copies of sent messages, either by cc’ing all messages to a specified email address, and/or by having a searchable online archive of messages. Entering staff information for a small team is simple, but larger organizations will want to be able to import the data for their staff.

The pricing should also come down to make the service more attractive to North American users. For now, it’s probably easier and cheaper to send these kinds of messages by email. And most SMS-capable phones can receive emails via email addresses provided by the carriers. But once the service is fully ready, it will be nice to have the ability to send to any individual or group within your organization from one place.

How do you manage phone messages in your organization?

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  1. I have used PhoneSlips for about 20 years. It was originally a DOS program then allowed DOS/Windows networks. It is cheap and has replaced my manual message book. It is also a calendar, email, and file management system. It costs about $100 and $300 for a small network.

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