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posted by LaminatorX on Wednesday December 24 2014, @04:25AM   Printer-friendly
from the Televox dept.

Duane D. Stanford reports at Bloomberg that Coca-Cola's Atlanta Headquarters is the latest big campany to ditch its old-style voice mail, which requires users to push buttons to scroll through messages and listen to them one at a time. The change went into effect this month, and a standard outgoing message now throws up an electronic stiff arm, telling callers to try later or use “an alternative method” to contact the person. Techies have predicted the death of voice mail for years as smartphones co-opt much of the office work once performed by telephones and desktop computers. Younger employees who came of age texting while largely ignoring voice mail are bringing that habit into the workforce. “People north of 40 are schizophrenic about voice mail,” says Michael Schrage. “People under 35 scarcely ever use it.” Companies are increasingly combining telephone, e-mail, text and video systems into unified Internet-based systems that eliminate overlap. “Many people in many corporations simply don’t have the time or desire to spend 25 minutes plowing through a stack of 15 to 25 voice mails at the end or beginning of the day,” says Schrage, In 2012, Vonage reported its year-over-year voicemail volumes dropped 8%. More revealing, the number of people bothering to retrieve those messages plummeted 14%. More and more personal and corporate voicemail boxes now warn callers that their messages are rarely retrieved and that they’re better off sending emails or texts. "The truly productive have effectively abandoned voicemail, preferring to visually track who’s called them on their mobiles," concludes Schrage. "A communications medium that was once essential has become as clunky and irrelevant as Microsoft DOS and carbon paper."

 
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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by iamjacksusername on Wednesday December 24 2014, @04:39PM

    by iamjacksusername (1479) on Wednesday December 24 2014, @04:39PM (#128940)

    Voicemail is a legacy of a period when the only way to real time, or near-real time, communicate with somebody was via phone. Voicemail systems became quite affordable in the 80s for small to medium size businesses. Electronic messaging did not exist outside of giant multinationals or academic settings so voicemail or fax was it; if you wanted to speak to someone, and they were not immediately available, voicemail served as a way to initiate a general discussion on a topic. Now, electronic messaging should be used for all other functions that do no require synchronous, real-time communication.

    As others have mentioned, phone calls are inherently interrupting and voicemails are significantly less information dense than an equivalent email. Personally, I give a person 15 seconds on a voicemail to get to the point before I delete the message (whether the message is done or not). If I did not get a call back number or information by then, too bad. I go by this rule of thumb - if it is important, they will send me an email or call me back. If they do not, clearly the message was not that important. It is question of control over one's time; by letting a phone or voicemail interrupt or dictate how you spend your time, you are allowing others to control your time.

    A good example of this is the anger I see in older (60+year old) people when they receive marketing cold calls at home. They get genuinely upset about them. I always tell them to let the calls go to voicemail if they do not recognize the caller ID. However, they were acculturated in a different time when phone calls were much more rare so they still feel compelled to answer the phone because "it could be important". It is just a different way of looking at things so changing it will require a major effort. Eliminating voicemail will go along way to forcing this cultural shift.

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  • (Score: 1) by Pino P on Thursday December 25 2014, @12:47AM

    by Pino P (4721) on Thursday December 25 2014, @12:47AM (#129019) Journal

    A good example of this is the anger I see in older (60+year old) people when they receive marketing cold calls at home. They get genuinely upset about them. I always tell them to let the calls go to voicemail if they do not recognize the caller ID.

    Unlike cellular lines, POTS lines don't include caller ID as a standard feature. I wonder how many of these seniors are upset at having to pay another $8.33 per month for caller ID service.