With all the advances in technology over the years, it’s a common practice to question the previous latest/greatest advance and wonder if it’s obsolete. A few years back, people asked if e-mail was still relevant. I think it’s safe to say although its usage has changed, e-mail is still alive and well, thank you very much. Now, many are wondering the same about voice mail.
Is voicemail obsolete?
This thought did not arise from a vacuum. A CRM.com survey reveals that small- to mid-sized business report 75 percent call abandonment. That means three out of four callers will hang up on the outgoing message rather than leave a voicemail. A Forbes survey a few years back reported 80 percent call abandonment.
Certainly part of that number is that we live in an immediate gratification society. If we do not get an actual person on the line, we get frustrated and hang up. Another part stems from past experience: Will I get a return phone call in a timely fashion?
Whether it’s for business or in their personal lives, many callers don’t think so. That’s reinforced by the attitude on the other end of the line. A survey by Nuance Communications reveals that 27 percent of those surveyed reported that when they get a voicemail, they feel burdened by the process of retrieving and listening to it. Additionally, 19 percent said they actually get annoyed when they receive a voicemail.
While the numbers may bear out that voicemail isn’t terribly popular overall, obsolete is a whole other story. Particularly with such advances in technology as:
• IP PBX or ITSP (internet telephony service provider) where voicemail messages are sent as e-mail attachments
• Voice-to-text technology that provides a transcript of the voicemail message as a text.
Both of these technologies make it easier to get the voicemail message–no numbers to call or passwords to key in. It also makes it more convenient to store and sort through (e-mails are easily archived and stored). We are certainly more used to reviewing e-mail messages than listening to one voicemail after another to find what we’re looking for. Additionally, these technologies work very well for people who work outside the office to retrieve messages and, in theory, respond.
Truth be told, voicemail may also provide a tremendous opportunity for businesses looking to earn a reputation for responsiveness. Particularly as older generations still prefer to leave a voicemail. Given that people age 50 and older still control a strong majority of the U.S. wealth-more than 70 percent according to an article in AdAge magazine–scrapping voicemail would not be wise. If anything, having a reliable voicemail system with a commitment to timely response-e.g. within one business day-can be a true difference-maker for many businesses.
To summarize, voicemail is not obsolete. But you can certainly make a case it’s under- or inappropriately utilized.
Is your voicemail best serving your customer and staff? AdamsComm can review your current systems at no cost or obligation to you. Please drop us a line to initiate a free evaluation.