Techcrunch says “Think Before You Voicemail” and I wholeheartedly agree.
The whole Techcrunch article is worth reading, but it boils down to this:
Voicemail is dead. Please tell everyone so they’ll stop using it.
It takes much longer to listen to a message than read it. And voicemail is usually outside of our typical workflow, making it hard to forward or reply to easily.
Voicemail is an out-dated form of communication. I find it really annoying to leave a voicemail and even more annoying to receive one. I don’t even have voicemail on my cell phone. This annoys a few of my less with-it friends, but it keeps me happy.
I have caller ID, and I call everyone back when I get a missed call message. Even better, I have TEXT MESSAGING. If 13 year old kids can use it, then grown ups can learn to use it too. Think about how wonderful texting really is. It forces you to figure out exactly why you are communicating with someone and what you have to say and boil it down to a 160 character synopsis. That makes it very easy for the recipient to prepare for the call back, either professionally or emotionally.
Professionally, voicemail sucks. As a lawyer who bills by the hour, I can tell you that the clients who text me have smaller bills.
Even on a personal level, texting is much better than voicemail. Nothing is more annoying than listening to my little sister go on and on as if she is talking to a real person. I keep doing that hand-in-a-circle motion waiting for her to get to the point. Usually, she never does. I just delete her messages as soon as I hear her voice, and then I call her back. My wife, on the other hand, is a text addict. A text saying, “u pick up milk?” is much better than a call that interrupts what I am doing at the time. Even “miss u” is wonderful. That way I can put my office phone on do not disturb for a five minute, “I love you” call when I am working late. I don’t think my marriage could survive if Jennifer used voicemail instead of text messaging.
Please, lets kill voicemail.
Hat tip to Ann Bartow.