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Voice-to-text service
“Jott” This Down/Users/adamp/Desktop/Stuff for FAR/Magazine Assets/DEC08PACKAGED/images/techYou

A phone-in transcription service has simplified this broker’s life.

Joan Lorberbaum Moore’s mind is overrun with a million things to do. She used to write herself reminders—on sticky notes, scrap paper or even napkins. “I’m [always] on the run, so at the end of the day I’d be stuck with all these handwritten messages,” says Moore, broker-associate with Lang Realty in Boca Raton.

Last June, she read an article that highlighted add-on features for cell phones. Jott, a free voice transcription service that allows users simply to call a toll-free number, (866) JOTT-123, and leave voice-mail reminders for themselves, caught her interest.
“I thought, Gee, that’s neat; I’ll give it a try,” says Moore. 

She went straight to Jott’s Web site (jott.com) and set up a free Jott Basic account by providing her cell number and e-mail address. Now, when she wants to jot herself a reminder, she calls the toll-free number and leaves a voice message that’s transcribed and immediately sent to her e-mail address or text-messaged to her cell phone.

Here are the top ways Moore uses the service:

Record Quick Reminders
“I have Jott on speed dial,” says Moore. “If I’m at a stoplight and think of something, I’ll press the ‘J’ button and tell myself what I need to do. The other day a client wanted me to take another look at a listing. I didn’t want to forget, so I ‘Jotted’ her name and phone number and had it sent to myself as a text message. It’s like having a personal assistant.”

According to Moore, a typical conversation goes something like this: Jott: “Who do you want to Jott?” Moore: “Myself.” After a beep, she’s given 15 seconds to record her message. About five minutes later, the typed message appears (with an audio attachment of the
recording) in her e-mail inbox or, if she’d like, on her cell phone as a text message.

The company recently
rolled out Jott Pro ($12.95 per month) and Jott ($3.95 per month). Moore upgraded to the $3.95 plan because she wanted more features, such as Jott for Microsoft  Outlook.

Enhance Customer Service
“You can Jott a voice mail to anyone in your address book,” Moore says. One time she was showing property when she realized she needed to let her next appointment know she was running late. She didn’t have time to have a long discussion, so she had Jott text-message her estimated time of arrival. Of course, she could have just sent a text herself, but Moore finds it easier to hit the speed dial and leave a voice message.
Recipients needn’t be Jott subscribers to receive text messages or e-mails, and Moore can send Jott messages to several people at once.

Keep Track of Messages
Moore manages her Jott account online. Every evening, she logs in and reviews her messages. “I’ve set up both business category lists (items needing to be done relative to specific closings, customers and so forth) and personal lists. I Jott to both of those and sort by date and priority. I also use Gmail [Google Mail], where I set up a filter that places all my messages in specific folders in my e-mail
account.

Track Expenses
Thanks to a tool called Xpenser, Moore can even phone in her business-related receipts. Each time she incurs an expense, she places a quick call to Jott. “Let’s say I went out for lunch and paid cash. I’ll call Jott, and it will ask, ‘Who do you want to Jott?’ and I’ll say, ‘Xpenser.’ When I hear the beep, I’ll say ‘Twelve dollars and thirty eight cents for lunch at Pizza Hut,’ and I’ve instantly logged an expense. When I pay cash for gas, I call Jott and record it to my Xpenser account right away. It sure beats looking for a receipt in the depths of my handbag. And I have everything I need at the end of the year for taxes.” 

Store Ideas
Moore has a Twitter [a social networking and microblogging service] account and a blog. Although she could Jott directly to both of those, she prefers to Jott ideas to her e-mail address for future consideration. “I’ll typically Jott something about eating at a great restaurant, interesting things to do in the area or foreclosure and financial news. My blog posts tend to be long, so it’s easier for me to Jott ideas to my Gmail account.”

This column, designed to offer examples of how salespeople and brokers are using technology, won second place in the 2008 Best Column category from the Florida Magazine Association. Opinions expressed here don’t reflect an endorsement of the views by Florida Realtor® magazine or the Florida Association of Realtors®.