More Musings
Has voicemail jumped the shark?

In an era where we can communicate with each other 24 hours a day via, phone, text, IM, email, Twitter, etc. etc. etc., has voicemail become an antiquated and inefficient platform? Becky & Kelly have differing opinions on the matter and each Oggi Pro has outlined her point of view below.

The gloves are off and Becky and Kelly are prepared to let you decide – has voicemail jumped the shark? Read their thoughts then weigh in by taking our survey.

Becky’s Point Of View – Voicemail is still a viable form of communication

“Did you get my message?” “No, but I saw you called.” In my line of business I talk to a lot of people for many different reasons and leave a lot of voicemails and this exchange has become more and more frequent. Although for some, voicemail may be the latest technology to “jump the shark” I’m one of the few that isn’t anti-voicemail. Sure a text or Tweet will get the message across, but inside the office, old rules still apply.

Some people argue that voicemail is less efficient than other forms of communication but I respectfully disagree. While doing research for this blog there were several real life examples of voicemail efficiency.

  • It’s not uncommon for our receptionist to get a call “this number was on my caller ID” or “someone called me from this number but I don’t know who.” This causes some chaos for our receptionist who wants to help the caller get to the right person with little to no information, thus keeping them on hold while she tracks down the information. 95% of the time I leave messages when calls go unanswered. If the recipient had taken a moment to listen to their message they would know who called and why and avoided our on-hold music and likely would have saved them time in the end.
  • While doing research for this blog I received feedback from folks who think it takes too long to set up voicemail or it’s cumbersome to check your messages. The popularity of smart phones has made checking messages even easier. With a touch of your screen you can set up a 10 second outgoing message. Conversely you can also check your voicemail with a touch of the screen. Not listening to your messages or setting up your voicemail might work with your friends but you might miss out on a few things in the working world.
  • If someone calls me and doesn’t leave a message you can’t automatically assume they need to talk. Butt-dial. Need I say more? When someone leaves a message I know they want to chat and what they need to chat about.

My solemn promise to you: if I call just to say “Hi” I won’t leave a message but, if I leave a message there is a very specific reason – and it’s probably about an opportunity.

Kelly’s Point Of View – Leaving a voicemail is the 2015 communication equivalent of sending a fax

I confess…if you have left me a voicemail in the last year (or two. Okay, three.) there is a 97% chance I didn’t listen to it. Honestly, I might as well change my outgoing message to “Hi you’ve reached Kelly. Please hang up and send me a text or email.” because if you want a response that is the only way you are going to get it.

Most technologies only exist until something better comes along, and leaving a voicemail is the 2015 communication equivalent of sending a fax. Since the invention of caller ID, it was no longer necessary for callers to “leave a message at the beep” to indicate a desire or need to talk. Nowadays it’s pretty obvious that you need to chat when you show up in the Missed Call Log. And if you need to speak urgently, a quick “call me” text or calling more than once is a very clear indicator.

As far as leaving an actual message, any message you want to relay can easily be done via text/email and if your message is longer than that we probably actually need to have a conversation. It’s more efficient and effective to send a text/email that says “Give me a call. We need to chat about X.” vs. having a one-sided, long winded conversation with my inbox.

Kelly & Becky do agree on one thing

A voicemail from your child, husband, father/mother, grandmother etc. calling to say you miss us or that you love us, well…that’s just sweet. So feel free to leave us that voicemail. Just make sure to keep it brief.

Before we hang up
With four generations in the workforce, adaptability is a strength we should all work on. If your supervisor, colleague or a client prefers voicemail, email or text – whatever it is – it’s best to be accommodating.

For more information on this topic, check out these articles.
NY Times: At the tone leave a what?!

USA Today Digital Life: What happened to voice mail?

VB: Finally hanging up on voicemail

NY Times: You’ve Got Voice Mail, but Do You Care?