Ever since it was first launched in the early 1980’s, voicemail has been an indispensable feature of the business world. Whenever someone was away from their desk for any length of time, it was convenient and often extremely valuable to record a message from a caller who was trying to get in touch with you.
Not everyone had caller ID, because it was a separate feature which had to be paid for, so voicemail messages were priceless for letting you know who was trying to contact you, and what time of day they called. In modern times, communications are already far different than they were 30 years ago, and there are now numerous channels available for reaching out to connect with someone in the business world.
Old-style voicemail systems have become somewhat awkward these days, and they make it difficult for users to retrieve messages. First, you have to dial your voicemail number, and follow the directions of the prompts, and then listen to the actual message, while writing down anything important, before you finally respond to the message. You’ll also need to delete a voicemail message when you’re completely finished, so that it doesn’t clog up your voice mailbox.
There are some other disadvantages to using voicemail which are experienced by the caller. Many callers resent having to leave a message when they were hoping to contact a specific person, especially if they have some kind of urgent issue which they want resolved.
A fair number of these callers actually hang up without even bothering to leave a message, since all they could get for their trouble was the opportunity to leave a voicemail message. For these reasons and others, it seems as though voicemail has become somewhat out of date in the digital world, lacking efficiency as well as the personal quality that people prefer.
However, all that doesn’t mean that voicemail is officially dead, even though analysts have been predicting its death for several years now. Most younger employees definitely prefer other means of communication such as messaging, but a fairly large number of older employees still rely on voicemail because of its reliability and its effectiveness.
With the workplace still containing large numbers of older employees, you can bet that voicemail will still be around for a while yet. However, VoIP providers have recognized the staying power of voicemail, and have added some additional twists to voicemail messages, to help make them more useful to everyone involved.
One of the most notable of these additions is the potential for using visual voicemail. Since most people now check their email inbox more frequently than they do their voicemail system, visual voicemail has connected the traditional voicemail system to the modern email inbox. Thus, instead of checking your voicemail every few hours, you can be notified in your email inbox that you have a voicemail message waiting for you.
You can also listen to the entire text of that message in MP3 file format, which allows you to hear your voicemails from any device, and from any location you might happen to be during the day. Another twist added to voicemails in the modern office place is voicemail transcription. Sometimes you can’t hear a voicemail cleanly, or there may be other background noise which affects the quality of the voicemail itself.
You can take advantage of automated transcription services provided by your VoIP vendor, so you can receive an email with the contents of a recorded voicemail, which will allow you to check it out later on. The main thrust of these enhancements to traditional voicemail is that they now put users in charge of deciding when and how to respond to voicemail, rather than having it be the other way around.
Advanced Voicemail Capabilities
When providers found a way to transform voicemails to text, many companies began to get interested in finding new ways of using the data from those texts. This is only natural, since you can do a lot more with text than you can with audio. For instance, it’s very possible to develop algorithms which evaluate voicemail messages looking for specific keywords. When any of these keywords are detected, a message can be prioritized if it involves an urgent issue like a service outage.
Another useful idea would be to have urgent calls routed directly to managers, rather than forcing callers to wait in line along with the masses. Some companies are also attaching transcripts to CRM accounts for specific customers, which provides a very detailed transaction of customer interactions.
Voicemail of the Future
Even though many people currently don’t bother checking their voicemail very often, they’re still a big part of the business world, and they’re still found in most workplaces. Voicemail is certainly far from perfect, and it does lack the immediacy of some other communications methods, but it is one of the best ways of reaching someone who happens to be away from their desk.
Because VoIP vendors have added value to the traditional voicemail message, it is likely that voicemail will persist for some years into the future. In the same way that other methods of communication have changed and have been adapted over the years, it appears likely that voicemail will also change with the times. For the foreseeable future, voicemail therefore is likely to survive as a communication tool, simply because it is still capable of providing value to business personnel.