One can’t deny that it’s certainly easier to get in touch with people these days. With instant messaging, texting, presence features, and so on, it seems as though one might never have to reach an answering machine and leave a message again. Another way of looking at it, though, is that while communications technology moves forward, voice mail is getting left behind.
According to Vonage (News - Alert), voicemail messages left on accounts was down eight percent from last year. That might not seem like much percentage-wise, but think about all the people making calls and leaving messages; even eight percent of that is a lot of people. It’s easier to just hang up and send a text message, which they can receive instantly and check at any time. Out of those messages that are still left, even less are actually being listened to; retrieved voice mail has fallen by 14 percent, as people prefer to simply check their missed calls and call them back.
For the messages that are left, there are new tools for accessing them. Voicemail transcription services are taking the stage, converting voice messages into text to be sent as a text message or email. Of course, the email also includes an audio file of the original message, which one would think defeats the purpose, but actually makes hearing the message a lot easier.
Let’s think for a second about the average process for checking voice mail. You dial in, wait a few seconds for it to ring, then enter a password. Assuming it recognizes the password, you’re then treated to an automated voice saying: “You have THREE new messages and ONE saved message. To review your messages, press one.” Followed by listening to each message in order, occasionally having to repeat it if you couldn’t catch an important detail or had to scramble for a pen and paper to write something down. Occasionally there’s a pocket-dial, or someone hanging up right after the “beep.” If there’s an easier, less time-consuming way, it’s no wonder it’s becoming more used.
This is simply the progress of technology. Convenient tools that make it easier to leave a message and get back to someone are replacing voice mail. Sure, it’s not dead yet, nor is it on its way out – there will always be some need for voice mail – but it’s becoming a rarer occurrence, due to the new tools at our disposal. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
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Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli