Is Voicemail Still Relevant in Today’s World of Messaging?

Posted on: 2018-08-31 | Categories: VoIP Services

Voicemail – like other forms of communication – has changed quite a bit over the last few decades. After it first launched in the early 1980s, voicemail became indispensable. It’s essential for professional communication. How else were you supposed to know if someone called when you were out or away from your desk at work? Caller ID was a separate feature you had to pay for, so you needed voicemail messages to know who was calling and when they tried to contact you.

Alternatives to Voicemail

In 2018, the communication landscape is different. Even within an enterprise context, people have a lot of different channels to communicate and reach out to someone. The typical information you get from a voicemail – who called, at what time and from which number – is now easily displayed on a screen.

Antiquated voicemail systems don’t make it easy for users to retrieve their messages. You have to dial a specific number, listen to the prompts, listen to the actual message (which could be quite long), write any important data, and then respond to the message. Oh and don’t forget to delete the voicemail after you’re done. Otherwise, your inbox can get full! Why even bother with voicemail when you can text, message or even contact someone through Twitter or Facebook?

There are other disadvantages to voicemail systems as well. Most customers dislike being told to leave a message when what they want is to talk to a person, especially when they’re trying to contact your company about a service or product issue. Many people hang up and don’t bother to call again if voicemail is the only response they get. Voicemail is inefficient, impersonal, and quite frankly, out of date in a digital world.

Visual Voicemail and Transcription

But that doesn’t mean voicemail is going anywhere. Analysts have been predicting the death of voicemail for years now but businesses rely on them as always. While younger employees may prefer other means of communication like messaging, older workers consider voicemail to be more polite. With four generations currently working in the economy, voicemail is not dead. At least, not yet,

With the widespread switch to VoIP systems in the enterprise, service providers are introducing new twists to the traditional voicemail message in a bid to make it more useful. One such feature is visual voicemail. Many of us now check our emails more often than the voicemail system. Visual voicemail hooks up the old school voicemail system to the modern email inbox. Instead of you checking your voicemail every few hours, you can get a notification in your email. You can even get the recording as an mp3 file. You can now listen to your voicemails from any device and wherever you might be during the day.

Another new feature is voicemail transcription. It can be hard to glean details from a voicemail – whether it’s due to a noisy background or if the caller mumbles their way through the message. Automated transcription services can send you a text or email with the contents of the recorded message for later perusal. Users are now in charge of deciding how and when to respond to voicemail, instead of the other way round.

Advanced Capabilities

Now that providers offer a way to transform voice messages to text, organizations are exploring new ways to use that data. You can do a lot more with text than audio after all. For instance, a company could develop algorithms that analyze voicemail messages for keywords. Your team can prioritize urgent messages about a service outage or product issue ahead of others. You can reroute key clients to a manager or specialist instead of making them wait in line with everyone else.

Some companies are attaching transcripted messages to customer records in CRM systems. That means you have an extensive record of customer interactions in a single place. You know exactly how often a customer is sent to voicemail and can then find ways to reduce that number. Alternatively, salespeople can leave voicemail messages to themselves or team members after a sales pitch or client meeting. An integrated transcription service can then translate the voice into text and send an email directly to the CRM system.

Voicemail in the Future

Many people admit to not checking their voicemail very often but these systems are part and parcel of business communication. Voicemail is not instantaneous or perfect but sometimes, it’s the only way to communicate with your voice when you can’t reach someone.

While it might seem that voicemail is sure to die a slow death, advanced capabilities like visual voicemail show that it could live on in the business world. Just as other communication methods have evolved and adapted, voicemail will too. The growth of new technology doesn’t always mean the end of older systems.