Fewer and fewer professionals are struggling with voicemail as a productivity problem. Many people don’t get any voicemails.
In this video, Dr. Melissa Gratias asks for your input on the state of voicemail. Is it still a useful business tool?
Don’t want to watch the video? A transcript is below.
Hi, my name is Dr. Melissa Gratias, and I’m a productivity specialist. I help overworked and overwhelmed people feel focused, balanced, and successful.
Today I am doing a video, and for the first time, I’m asking you for help. I want to start a conversation about something instead of giving you tips to do things better. So, if that doesn’t appeal to you, bye-bye! Kidding.
I want to talk to you about voicemail. The question I’m asking is:
Do we do we even need voicemail anymore?
Do we even need it? It’s an honest question I have for you. In my business, 99% of my correspondence is done via email.
I’ve been working with clients since 2007, and I hardly ever get requests to help people be more productive with voicemail. In the past five years, less than five clients have even said, “Voicemail is a problem for me. I need a solution for voicemail.” And, all of those clients were attorneys, interestingly enough.
In those three or four cases, what we ended up doing was having the attorney’s administrative support person access the attorney’s voicemail once a day, between 3:00 and 4:00, listen to the voicemail messages, delete them, and then put the voicemail either in an email message to the attorney or directly on the attorney’s Outlook Tasks list (or Trello board or whatever it is we ended up using for them for task management).
The attorney would record an outgoing message saying, “Hi you reached ‘Super Lawyer’. This voicemail box is checked between 3:00 and 4:00 p.m. every day. Your message will be returned by close of business the following day. If you have an urgent request, please email me at such-and-such address.”
That ended up being their solution. It wasn’t overly burdensome on the support person because it was a once-a-day thing, and it meant that the attorney didn’t have to be constantly checking their voicemail.
So, that that’s all I’ve done with voicemail in the past five years.
My personal voicemails for my business are transcribed and emailed to me. I don’t even have a sophisticated phone system. The transcription is reasonably accurate, and if it’s not, I can click the audio file on the email and listen to it.
There are people in the securities industry who don’t even want their clients leaving voicemails. When I call my financial planner, his voice mail says, “Don’t leave trading information with his voicemail. It cannot be honored.” So, people in that industry probably wish that people wouldn’t leave them voicemails.
Then you add on this issue that occasionally I do call some poor soul who still tries to change their voicemail greeting every day. The message is, “Hi this is so-and-so. Today is such-and-such date. I’m in and out of the office. Leave a message.” Usually that message is three or four days old. I’m thinking, “Oh, you poor person, why do you feel like you still need to do this?” I barely even feel the need to change my out of office voicemail greeting.
So, my question for you: What’s the deal with voicemail for you nowadays?
Is it something you even use…that you need for your business?
What would happen to you if it went away entirely? Would you suffer? Would your clients suffer? Would your friendships suffer?
Is it a problem, or is it so very manageable nowadays that it is not even a blip on our radars of productivity?
Do we even need voicemail anymore?
Please respond to this question in the comments section of my blog. I would love to get in a conversation with you about it.
This is Dr. Melissa Gratias. If you like my videos, you would love coaching with me. Reach out, and let’s schedule a phone call where we can both determine if productivity coaching is the right thing for you. Have a wonderful and productive day. Bye, bye!
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Melissa Gratias (pronounced “Gracious”) used to think that productivity was a result of working long hours. And, she worked a lot of hours. Then, she learned that productivity is a skill set, not a personality trait. Now, Melissa is a productivity expert who coaches and trains other businesspeople to be more focused, balanced, and effective. She is a prolific writer and speaker who travels the world helping people change how they work and improve how they live. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 912-417-2505. Sign up to receive her productivity tips via email.
I decided several months ago to disable my voicemail message system on my mobile. Anyone wanting to contact me can either send an e-mail or message me via WhatsApp or text message.
Life is a lot easier as it is not always convenient or easy to answer a call every time the phone rings.
Thanks for your thoughts, Charmaine. I assume that the world has not come to a crashing halt for you since disabling your voicemail system. I’m not surprised. We keep adding more and more options for communication. The typed-out memorandum has gone away. Maybe voicemail is next.
Hi Melissa! I enjoy your insights!
I don’t know if we need to get rid of voicemail per se, but I personally don’t like voicemail. Right now, my work phone is lit up with a message that I keep forgetting to review since the holidays. (I know, that’s horrid.) Just because I read your article, I finally checked and it ended up being something I had handled already. I rarely get vmail at work anymore.
When vmail first came into my life, it was convenient and helpful. But in the last decade, I’ve found it annoying. Personally, I have a system on my cell that transcribes what the person says and I read it. I rarely feel the need to listen to the audio file. Most people I know, just text me or email me, whether it is personal or professionally.
This has definitely started carrying over to my new 6 months old position. My boss and small department have each other’s cell and we mainly text or send an email. We also have Skype IM at work so unless it is a complex conversation, we don’t have to talk with each other often. I
I have noticed one thing though: I’m a few years older than those in my department (including my boss) and I have a preference to either talk on the phone and do more face to face. I feel the need for that connection. I think it is a reflection of my previous occupations and how I’ve always done business. I’m curious if you agree with me that since I’m almost 10+ years older than my counterparts that this is completely generational.
Thanks for asking the question! It definitely got me thinking…
Like you, Joihelene, I don’t care for voicemail. That’s likely why I asked the question. Regarding the generational differences, you raise an interesting question. I am talking to an expert in millennials about writing a guest post for my blog. I’ll put your question to her and see what she thinks. Stay tuned.
I’m in a leads/referral based business, and so I do still feel the need to have a phone/voicemail option to make things as easy for people who don’t want to take the time to write an email. However, while I’m not quite ready to throw out voicemail altogether, I much prefer email or text over phone call/voicemail. The worst is when someone calls, leaves a voicemail just to say, give me a call when you get a chance. If you’re going to take my time up to make me check voicemail, at least tell me what you’re calling for, so I can assess how and when to best respond! I also get a lot of automated telemarketing calls, so it’s frustrating to waste time weeding through the messages to ensure I haven’t missed a new client referral opportunity!