The End of Voicemail?

By Jim Machi

The concept of the end of voicemail is not new and has been around for years. I read a blog recently about “the millennials” killing all kinds of stuff, including doorbells (of all things!) and voicemail. Now let’s not go blaming everything on millennials. I don’t think millennials killed voice mail.

Voicemail is still important for customer-facing parts of a business. While there are other communication methods, voice and thus voicemail for this part of a business is still important.

So voicemail has not been killed. But it has declined for sure, and it’s really other technology that did this, not a millennial. Better technology. Better technology in the way of faster and more efficient communication methods.

Let’s examine why I don’t use voicemail nearly as much anymore. I think, in this respect, I am typical:

  1. People can contact me using email, and that’s easier for me to get to and respond to them, remotely anyway.
  2. People can contact me using our instant message system. Even if I’m in a meeting or on a conference call and can’t “talk”, I can respond to an instant message.
  3. I’ve noticed now that even if I’m not online, and the “green dot” isn’t on, people send me a note to respond to this way. Kind of like a voicemail except on instant message. So once I come online, then I can respond. Again, easier and faster than a voicemail.
  4. Text messaging. Definitely this is taking off for my colleagues at work. This is when I know it’s important. Again, can handle this on a conference call or when in a meeting.
  5. Direct messages to my Twitter account. I got a few of these last week, for example.

So, for sure, it’s declined, led by technology. But it’s not dead, and it’s critical for customer-facing parts of the business.

Related Posts

There Are 2 Comments

  • Peter P says:

    Voicemail started “dieing” when people began to realise that it can more than double the time required to get things done.

    You get a VM, you listen to it, once if they are crystal clear, realistically, multiple times to understand or contextualize or take notes, then you have to ring the person back and listen to their original message all over again – ‘live’, before you can action something.

    If there is no VM, they will text/email and have an “open response time” in mind. When a missed call and subsequent VM is left, they tend to have a “finite response time” in mind, which can make them irate if an extended period elapses before you can get back, not everyone, but enough of the impatient types to make you switch it off.

    It was good when it was “good”, but honestly, it was always horrid.

  • Mac McCarver says:

    Very good insight, Peter. Thank you! Many organizations continue to utilize VM however. Luckily, with the powerfully customizable call rules and sophisticated softphone apps available with modern Unified Communications platforms like Switchvox, important calls need not ever wait for a response to voicemail. And for those that do, visual voicemail and voicemail-to-email at least make the process a little painful by improving voicemail management.

    Colleagues on a shared UC system should definitely seek alternatives like checking status before calling and considering sending an instant message or email instead, even if just to lock in a time to call.

Add to the Discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

About the Author

Jim Machi

Jim Machi is the Vice President of Marketing for Sangoma. He is responsible for developing and executing the global marketing plan, including digital strategy, partner marketing, content generation, lead generation activities, and launch planning.  Prior to Sangoma, Jim spent time at Dialogic and Intel in various roles, including business unit general manager and SVP of product management and marketing. Jim has a BSEE from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA in finance from NYU.

See All of Jim's Articles