Voicemail is dead; get over it already

I’ve set up my work phone to forward to my iPhone.  I never touch my desk phone except for conference calls.

Unfortunately, if a call forwards to my iPhone, if I don’t get it by the third ring, for some odd reason, the call reverts to my desk phone.  This leads to either A) people calling me twice (second time to my mobile number) or B) people leaving me a voice mail I probably won’t listen to for weeks.

I felt guilt about that until I read this TechCrunch post.

But now an increasing number of people are just plain avoiding voicemail (for my impromptu and unscientific survey, see the comments here, which are predominantly anti-voicemail). 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.

“Outside the work flow …” That pretty much sums it up.

Now with iPhone’s visual voicemail, it’s a little easier to handle, but it’s still not as good as e-mail.  An e-mail in my inbox can be saved as a tickler to remind me to respond at at a time better suited to my work flow.  And I’ll usually respond via e-mail so as not to interrupt your work flow.

For any vendors reading this: Please e-mail me, don’t call.  I would rather get an unsolicited e-mail from a vendor than an unsolicited phone call.  Then, if I’m interested, we can arrange a time to talk.  And if I’m not interested, I’ll tell you, and please believe me. (Of course, my “vendor” friends whom we do business  with, that’s something different altogether, but then, you already have my mobile number).

When I get into the office Monday, after reading the TechCrunch post, I think I’ll take my phone off call forwarding, and set up a voice mail suggesting “send me an e-mail, please.”

Now here’s the journalism question for reporters: Would you rather have sources call or e-mail?

6 thoughts on “Voicemail is dead; get over it already

  1. I agree about voicemail being an annoyance but it is a necessary one. Two services I’ve found that ease the pain are Grand Central and Vonage’s Visual Voicemail (voice to text). I’ve stopped publishing both my desk and mobile numbers and just publish my Grand Central number. This has worked pretty well so far. I’d pay for the service if it included unlimited voice to text service like Vonage’s per-message service. We use the Vonage service and love it.

  2. I can definitely agree that voice mails are a pain – no I don’t want to call out to hear someone tell me to call them. But, I absolutely want a source to call me. If I can’t speak to him in person, I need to hear his voice. I don’t much care for e-mail interviews or responses unless a last resort. Sources, leave me a voice mail anytime.

  3. Listening to voicemail is such a waste of time though. If someone leaves you a 60 second voicemail you end spending at least a minute of your life listening to it – and if they leave a bad, superfast voicemail, you end up listening to it over and over, wasting even more time. I work so much more efficiently reading voicemail using PhoneTag (I work for the company). When I read a critical message and want to hear the person’s tone of voice, All I have to do is listen to the audio file that comes attached with each transcribed message I receive. I also can dial into my voicemail box to hear a message if I need to but I haven’t in over two years.

Leave a Reply