Recently, Coca Cola decided to remove voicemail all together from their corporate office, stating it is not a productive tool. If a person calls and needs to leave a message, they are told to contact the person they are calling in a different way, via text etc…
Scott Brown, our Director of Sales and Marketing, and I had a discussion on this very topic. While this was not a surprise, we were surprised that Coca Cola did not look further into how voicemail is being transformed by technologies that are available.
Roger: I think that Coca Cola got it right when they said one of the reasons to get rid of its “old fashioned" voicemail is because it is one big waste of time. People in companies just do not have the time to plow through a stack of 15 - 25 messages in a day. How much time do you spend plowing through 25 voicemail messages?
Scott: I actually don't need to dial into a system to listen to my voicemail. I just read the voice messages that people leave me in text form. Vishy Gopalakrishnan, Product Marketing - Unified Communications and Collaboration for AT&T said, "Most people have it, but they don't end up using it. There are ways to get around it.” I agree with that, voicemail isn't the problem, it's accessing and responding wherever you are.
Roger: I agree, and this is where I think Coca Cola got it wrong, Coca Cola is making the customer responsible to get in contact with the Coca Cola employee by telling them to hang up and basically track the person down that they are looking for by a text, IM or email.
Scott: Yes, and when people need information, they will grow impatient if they cannot get in contact with the right person. People do have choices with how they message and communicate, and the best companies are seeking way to give choices to their employees and customers. Choice is a key imperative.
Roger: You make a good point Scott. When people do choose to leave a message and you listen to a person, you are able to get the emotion out of what they are saying, speech to text technology will be able to do the same thing by using text formatting methods in the transcription, thus allowing for a person who is reading the voicemail, sees emotion in the text.
Scott: That will be a major innovation and step forward for speech to text utilization, no doubt.
Roger: I expect that advance to be available mid-year.
Scott: What other trends are you seeing with messaging applications in general?
Roger: I believe all these messaging apps and network ubiquity are coming together at the precise point employees are demanding mobility and universal access to create a new standard communication idea. One that doesn't use premise base land lines and legacy applications, but rather is designed based on mobile access, and smart applications that insure rapid access and response to critical messages. These messages aren't just external, they are also employee-to-employee and the messages are typically vital to completing mission critical work for the business. Customers not thinking this way about how their employees and their customers communicate will fall behind. Anything else you would like to add Scott?
Scott: One last thing I will say, if you aren't positive about the criticality of messaging and responsiveness to each other and customers, try to get work done and/or deliver customer service when you send messages out to your organization for urgent response and no one gets back to you. Virtually all business comes to a halt. This, ultimately, will result in very unhappy customers who are relying on the responsiveness of a business.
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