Voicemail is for the dead – discuss

by Trefor Davies on Friday, 1 March, 2013

I had a meeting with some guys yesterday afternoon to discuss their use of Microsoft Lync in different businesses. More of that anon but one thing that stuck in my mind was a quote by Paul Hardy of Informa:

“Voicemail is for the dead”

He is right. Why use voicemail then you have so many other direct means of communication. My daughter hates voicemail because it means she has to call up to retrieve it. We have been trained never to leave her voicemails. Instead I usually resort to sending an sms or more likely an IM on Facebook. She usually then replies with her availability. I do find it funny that I have to schedule telephone calls with my daughter buy hey, we all have busy lives:)

We don’t let our customer care teams at Timico have voicemail – customers need to speak to someone, not a mailbox.

As I write I have remembered I need to change my own mobile voicemail from the “vacation alert” it currently has. I am no longer on holiday you see :) . Might think about switching it off…

Whaddaya think?

{ 12 comments }

Jon Farmer March 1, 2013 at 12:56 pm

You are using a pretty rubbish voicemail system if you *HAVE* to dial up to receive it.

The British do have a particularly hard time with leaving voice messages in my opinion. How often do they wait for the tone and then hang up leaving a useless message.

Interesting systems that allow you to communicate via short voice messages are starting to gain traction on the Internet via mobiles. So it’s not the concept that is a fault but the poor implementation.

Denesh March 1, 2013 at 1:40 pm

Dialling up to retrieve voicemail is dead, however having a voicemail redirected is not dead.

If people call my personal mobile then if they are in my contacts database they can leave a message. That message not inly appears in my voicemail app but also gets emailed to me. It also gets transcribed. A transcribed message can be IMed or SMSed too.

Anyone who calls that is not in my contact database or if they call from a withheld number are told not to bother leaving a message and to try again later or send me an email ;)

Stephen Mason March 1, 2013 at 2:31 pm

I think it’s an interesting question, coming from the CTO of a company that sells one of the best voicemail applications for sme’s on the market (along with ourselves!)

Voicemail is a key component of “Unified Communications” and is there to make life easier. Anybody can call me on one number, get me at my desk, on my mobile, or at home, and on the odd occasion I’m not around, leave me a message. I can listen to, respond, replay, forward (and delete) the message on my mobile, home phone, desk phone, laptop, IPad or IPhone (etc etc etc). if I want to get really “Unified”, it can also read my emails to me (useful when you are driving), allow me to integrate into all sorts of database applications, act as night service, auto attendant and even help me to identify myself!!

Not dead…..dormant!

Aled Treharne March 1, 2013 at 5:47 pm

I’m with John here, there’s plenty of ways to get that message that don’t require calling someone. In particular, I hate having multiple voicemail systems – it’s why with the converged mobile platform we use, I turn voicemail off on my mobile. I’m slowly working up to taking my mobile numbers off my business card at all.

Andy Ellis March 3, 2013 at 1:50 am

I agree with Jon Farmer – it is a bit of an archaic messaging service if you have to call to retrieve the messages.

I must admit voice messaging loses that immediateness of contact. I rarely leave voice mail, I simply call back when they will be available. But in complete contrast SMS is no problem, it strangely seems to feel more immediate and personal. I’m not sure whether psychologically vocally speaking to a machine feels impersonal – where SMS messaging always feels personal, even if the language become abbreviated and slightly distorted.

I additionally use a call centre for certain calls, they simply take the callers details and then email and SMS me the message and details to call back. Strange how this text written messaging ‘feels’ more accessible. Quite a shift, perhaps, in society as a whole.

tref March 4, 2013 at 3:24 pm

Our voicemail is pretty flexible & can be delivered in a number of ways. As well as stimulating the discussion I do think that the way ahead is via presence based services though where you can send an IM

PhilT March 4, 2013 at 5:22 pm

I prefer having to dial into voicemail to listen to messages over the infernal Vodafone system that rings you repeatedly like a harasser on speed. A text to inform me of the waiting message and who left it would be useful.

pctech March 4, 2013 at 9:08 pm

Not if you are in a telephone based support role like me its definitely not dead.

My traditional work desk phone has recently been replaced with a VoIP model that works with Lync and a call handling system.

For security reasons which I perfectly understand Lync does not allow me to add contacts outside the organisation I work for nor can I run Skype as that’s blocked on the firewall too, fair enough.

The phone has voicemail and an external number but as its part of a call handling system its pointless me giving it out to anyone as I’m either on a call with a customer or away from desk having my lunch for example.

Now most will send me an SMS but there are a couple that insist on phoning and I can’t very well ask a customer to hold while I answer my personal mobile can I and if I did I think my boss might have a few things to say.

I’m thinking of acquiring a Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 so I might start using Whatsapp messenger

Gary Hough March 5, 2013 at 11:54 am

Voicemail should be used as one option in a multitude of options that you can make available to your colleagues, customers, family, friends etc.

Voicemail is useful in screening (Some might insert the word avoidance here) cold callers or where you might be up to your eyes in something far more important at that time (No not Facebook 8 ball pool) that means you cannot immediately talk to the caller at that specific moment.

Voicemail isn’t dead at all in my opinion but you do need to apply some sense to it’s use and the contact options you set up for those who need to communicate with you.

tref March 5, 2013 at 3:33 pm

We certainly have started to use the answer machine at home to screen Indian Call centres. I think everyone should have an autoattendant – call centre scammers press 1, mother in law press 2 etc. Few people call the home phone for genuine reasons nowadays other than the aged parents. Everyone has a mobile.

Somerset March 5, 2013 at 7:15 pm

So genuine reasons are not rare earth metal markets, fine wine or carbon credits?

tref March 6, 2013 at 8:52 am

Nope.not when you are registered with the TPS

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