Economy

Companies Desperately Need to Get Rid Of Voicemail

September 13th 2014

By:
Lindsay Haskell

As text messaging, emails, and social media become more prevalent, it only stands to reason that other forms of communication, such as voicemail, would become less popular. In fact, Millennials appear to be avoiding voicemail altogether, with the phone company Vonage noting that voice mail deposits have decreased by 8% from October 2013 to April and declined 14% in the month of July compared to last year. So is this new trend just the way the world is headed due to technological advances, or is it a dangerous habit?

Reasons I Check My Voicemail

Some argue that Millennials' hatred of voicemail is indicative of their tendency to procrastinate getting back to someone and some companies have even hired consultants to help their employees with their voicemail messages. But rather than being proof that voicemail is essential in the modern workplace, this shows just how far behind the times some companies truly are. After all, what purpose does the voicemail really serve? Before such technological advancements as caller ID, text messaging and email, voicemail served an important purpose: to alert a person to who called and the purpose of that phone call. Now, however, this tactic just feels superfluous. 

In fact, voicemail proves inconvenient for both the person receiving the message and the person leaving the message. It's true - if you leave a voicemail message, you probably won't receive a response for some time longer than if you used text message of email. But this isn't due to procrastination, it's due to the sheer nature of voicemail. While a text message or email can be easily and quickly scanned through while completing other tasks, a voicemail requires your full attention and time. Thus, the caller is left waiting until someone has a break in their schedule to call into their voicemail and listen through the entirety of their message. This cumbersome approach pales in comparison to a short email that can easily identify the purpose of your call and even allows you to schedule a phone call so you both can avoid the tiresome voicemail-tag game altogether. Many phone companies have even capitalized on the impracticality of voicemail by offering voicemail-to-text services. 

While companies urge Millennials to learn the 'art of voicemail,' I would argue that companies need to learn to move past this obsolete form of communication. Sure, it was once an essential skill, but times have changed. And instead of pushing backwards, we need to be moving forward and embracing the new technologies that allow us to communicate more efficiently and effectively. So now I ask you...