Voicemail is on its way out

Following on from the fax machine, we’re now seeing the demise of voicemail, according to some pundits.

First there was the answering machine, with its steady, blinking red light—or not blinking red light, depending on your level of popularity. Then, over time we progressed to voicemail with its tapeless infallibility.

Today we rely on text messages—even our voice messages are now textual. Bizarre transcriptions accompany them these days:  

“For some of the would don't have decided in stock,” means, as I’m sure everyone knows:

“Unfortunately we don’t have this item in stock.”

Enterprises dumping it

But, it’s all over, really. Bloomberg, is just one news outlet that has decreed that the end of voicemail is nigh. Text is taking over for good.

JPMorgan and Coca-Cola are dumping voicemail for many of their employees Ramy Inocencio of Bloomberg says in USA Today.

Why? Enterprises save money by abolishing it. Each mailbox, for example, costs JP Morgan $10 per month to run.

Inocencio reckons JPMorgan will save $3.2 million by cutting out voicemail for 56 percent of its staff. That’s about 136,000 people.

Coca-Cola will save $100,000 by dropping voicemail for a “few thousand staff,” he says.

Texting taking over

This ability for us to pull the plug on voicemail is due to the ease and rise of texting, Inocencio explains.

Five hundred sixty one billion texts were sent every month in 2014, up from 12 million in 2000.

Consumer loses?

But will the consumer ultimately lose out?

“It's inevitable that the technologies of the 20th century will give way to those of the 21st,David Lazarus says of the voicemail cuts, writing in the Los Angeles Times.

Lazarus reckons that it will be consumers that will suffer, though.

“If you have a problem, you want to be expressive,” he quotes Jonathan Barsky, an associate professor of marketing at the University of San Francisco as saying.

“Voice mail allows you to do that. If you're just texting or sending an email, you're taking the emotional component out.”

Lazarus says Chase won't quickly shut down voicemail for many of its workers who deal with consumers, so it could be “months before bank customers experience a recording that says your only way of making contact is online,” he says.

But that day almost certainly will come, Lazarus reckons.

It’s redundant anyway

There are plenty who think voicemail is a waste of time, anyway.

Chitra Ramaswamy, in the Guardian newspaper thinks “voicemail is now as pointless as a pigeon with a pager.”

“No-one checks their voicemail anyway,” Ramaswamy says, and “hundreds of hours are wasted listening to someone hanging up.”

And of the flashing red light?

“It has the atmosphere and hue of a panic button and serves only to remind you that you have a message you don’t want to hear. ‘It totally stresses me out,’” Ramaswamy quotes a bank employee as saying.

“I usually ignore it,” the bank employee adds.



So, like the fax machine before it, voicemail will be replaced. But, I don’t know about you, I think I’ll miss the new-fangled voicemail transcriptions:

“Hello, just wanna let you know I just received your be a better time. Have a great day. Bye bye.”

Which, as I now know, having finally gotten around to actually listening to the recording means: The B.F. Goodrich auto tire I’ve been waiting for is now in stock.

This story, "Voicemail is on its way out" was originally published by ITworld.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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