It was only a few short years ago, after voice mail was developed in the late 1970’s, that it rapidly became an indispensable business tool. But in the past few years, its use has been deteriorating. Voicemail is dying. It’s unavoidable that the technologies of the 20th century will be pushed aside by those of the 21st. As we can see in our daily lives, communication will reflect the trends of a society that is more and more tethered to their digital devices.
Many people are familiar with the fact that Coca-Cola as well as JPMorgan Chase & Co. have said goodbye to voicemail last year. Other big companies are expected to follow the trend. If you talk to these companies they will tell you employees waste too much time fiddling with their phones to get voice messages. The main reason to get rid of voice mail you ask? It’s archaic – and it’s time to increase productivity.
We have all been there, meeting after meeting at work, not leaving you time to get to the voice messages left on your desk phone. But thanks to your smartphone you are able to check your email, as well as text messages in between meetings (and lets be honest, during your meetings too – we have all become a little better at ‘under the table texting’). Those who left you voice messages could be waiting a couple of days for you to get caught up with the whirlwind of information from meetings the day’s prior. This isn’t some rare occurrence that happens in the workplace either; this scenario is all too familiar for most of us.
30% of voice messages go unheard for three days or longer according to data from uReach Technologies. What’s more surprising is that 20% of users who took the time to set up their voicemail rarely bothers to check it. Many believe this to be a generational difference, which looks to be true. A study conducted by the Opinion Research Corporation for U.S. wireless provider Sprint found that 91% of people under the age of 30 respond to texts with in an hour…that is a far cry from not even having your voice message heard for three whole days! As texting, emailing and social media platforms become more prevalent it only stands to reason that voicemail would become less popular.
Many argue that voicemail continues to be inconvenient not only for the person receiving the message, but also for the person leaving the message. I am sure you have noticed that if you leave a voice message, you probably won’t hear back from them as quickly as you would have had you had sent a text message or even an email. It is safe to say that voicemail has become the least efficient way to get in touch with someone in the era of smartphones, email push notifications and as mentioned before, texting.
Companies need to embrace and move past this out-of-date form of communication. No one can argue the necessity of the voice message in the 1980’s – but we need to be moving forward and embrace the many new technologies that are out there to help us work and communicate more efficiently and effectively.