The call answering professionals: Over 23 years of virtual receptionist experience

Why does everyone hate voicemail and how is it bad for business?

By Nick East

August 26, 2020

Nobody enjoys listening to voicemails. Okay, maybe that sweet one from nan wishing you a happy birthday sparks some joy. But for the most part, people dread seeing the blinking light on their answering machine or a reminder on their mobile. Leaving a voicemail can also feel awkward – it puts the caller on the spot, which normally leads to a rambling message that doesn’t always get to the point. Voicemail is a remnant from a time when more efficient forms of instant communication didn’t exist. Are we ready to come together and do away with voicemails once and for all!?

Who do we have to thank for this ‘love to hate’ technology?

The father of voicemail was Gordon Matthews, an inventor and engineer who held an impressive 36 patents. While visiting a client, Matthews was inspired to create a new system of taking messages after visiting a client. During his visit, he noticed rubbish bins across the office overflowing with message slips, little bits of paper used by receptions to pass messages of missed calls to their bosses. Matthews thought businesses could save time and money by having their customers leave voice recordings. He sold his first voice mail system to 3M which required,

“…64 telephone lines, 114 Intel 8086 microprocessors and four refrigerator-sized 200-megabyte hard drives. It cost 3M $500,000.”
LA Times

Taking inflation into account, the first voicemail system cost 3M $3.3 million!

Voicemail played a vital role for businesses. It allowed customers to leave messages in a verbal format which was a more natural way to convey a message. Voicemail also allowed customers to convey tone which can be difficult to capture on paper. Finally, it relieved receptionists from relaying messages to their bosses constantly. Plus, no more unsightly wastebaskets overflowing with slips of paper!

Explaining the hate behind voicemails

Leaving a voicemail is no longer the most efficient method of getting you message across. Voicemails tend to include trailing thoughts and unnecessary information leading to time wasted for both the caller and the recipient. There’s a chance you’ll have already spoken to or received written communication from the caller, making the voicemail they left moot. Millennials, who make up almost a quarter of the world’s population, deem voicemail unimportant and thus don’t pick up voicemail messages very often. In 2012, Vonage reported a 14% drop in customers listening to their voicemails. One can only imagine how much more it’s dropped as texting and messaging has dramatically increased.

“To listen to your message again, press one. To save your message, press two. To forward your message, press three. To delete your entire inbox and never receive a voicemail again, hang up and run for the woods.”

Voicemail is also bad for business

Listening to your voicemail takes up precious time. The number of steps necessary to check your voicemail (dialing in, entering your password, navigating through the trickling voice options, then finally reaching the message) are cumbersome. Maintaining a voicemail system is also costly. J.P. Morgan spent $3.2 million maintaining their voicemail boxes for its 135,000 employees. You can save time and money by sending a text, message, email, or even a voice note. These methods, however, are missing that crucial human touch. This is where using a telephone answering service can come in handy.

Do away with voicemail! Get in touch with us.

At Verbatim, we don’t have much use for voicemail because someone is always available to answer the phone! Even if you have Samuel L. Jackson record your outgoing message, customers prefer to have their call answered by an actual human being. In fact, they usually do business with whoever answers the telephone call first. Our team can manage your diary, handle sales calls, take down messages (more efficiently than voicemail, mind you), for as long as you need – even 24/7 answering. Don’t waste another second. Give us a call today.


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