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ShareVision Blog

Conversations on technology for community service providers

Is Voicemail Obsolete?


How is your voicemail relationship fairing? I think mine is headed for a divorce! It would be fair to say voicemail and I are not getting along that well right now. She is often late with information, and is frustratingly slow to work with and refuses to pick up the kids. Yet I tell myself to be respectful as we are long time partners, and have a history together. But she has become so annoying to deal with.

As I sit at my desk every day at some point I notice the red light flashing indicating my need to dial in and retrieve a message from our voice message system. My unofficial data on this process is that by the time I do this and press two for this and four for that, the caller has usually also sent me an email, texted me, tweeted me, snap chatted me or called me on my cell. So by the time I actually retrieve the voice message I’ve often already responded and instead I spend my time on the voicemail system deleting messages while by-passing the myriad of additional options it offers me.  

Voicemail is obsolete and I’m thinking of breaking up with her for good. That’s right I said it.

I do remember fondly the glorious invention of voice mail, and how messages could be stored, forwarded, replayed and how you could change your personal message to the world each day, and oh the true convenience of “managing your phone”. I recall strategically timing my calls to someone and leaving a message when I KNEW perfectly well they would not be there to answer as it would be more efficient than having a conversation. It all seems so quaint and 1990’s now.

I might be on to something with the voice mail break up, as according to the following link Coca Cola cut off employee voicemail in December, apparently to increase staff efficiency.

Voicemail usage continues to drop all over the world. According to Vonage it is down 8% per year.

There may however, be solutions to increase efficiency with your voicemail. There are all-in-one services that transcribe voicemail to email for you and send to your inbox. 

Google voice says on their website:

“Google Voice has two helpful options for getting your messages, beyond logging into the Google Voice Web interface. The system can (with some degree of amusing semi-accuracy) transcribe your voicemails and email them to you. It can also email you SMS messages (in addition to passing your SMS messages on to your phone).”

Telus offers a voicemail to text option,

As does Bell Canada….for ahem a small additional fee.

The notion that we have to respond to any message by the medium it was received with, is part of what needs to change.

These tools might help you to maintain a healthy relationship with your voicemail system, as of course many clients, consumers, and stakeholders may well prefer to leave a voice message. A survey of what the preferred communication medium is for both your persons served and employees may assist in getting to know what works best, and how you can increase your employee’s efficiency in this regard.

Who knows - maybe you will fall in love with your voice messages all over again.


Topics: non-profit