Since its invention in the late 70s voicemail has come a long way. The days of attaching huge devices to your analog telephone in order to be able listen to messages left by callers are long gone. Nowadays things are much more streamlined, but they’re even better if you have a cloud phone system. With these all your voicemail messages can be easily accessed from your phone system account or as email attachments.
However, since virtual phone systems are capable of providing multiple communication methods – such as faxing and business texting – many consider voicemails a thing of the past. Is this really the end of voicemail or does it still have some surprises up its sleeve?
Why Does Voicemail Seem a Dying Art?
Even though voicemail went through quite an evolution over the last few years, many people think that developing this form of communication is a waste of time and money. Nowadays people – especially those born in the 90s or the early 2000s – prefer other communication methods, particularly written messages such as SMS, chat or email. No matter which research we turn to, their findings all say the exact same thing: the number of text-based messages sent and received is increasing exponentially, while regular phone calls – and voicemail messages – are becoming less and less popular. When researchers asked subjects why they chose text instead of just talking, the answer was simple: “it is faster”.
But before we fall into the trap of blaming millennials for yet another thing – give them a break, folks, this poor demographic is already at fault for everything these days – we have to take into consideration other factors that are definitely not the fault of younger generations. First, there is the technical aspect: no matter what phone service providers promise, there can be situations where neither party is able to hear each other.
Listening to a poor quality voicemail is even worse, since there is no opportunity to tell the caller that there is a problem with the connection. So it’s not surprising that text is preferred over voice: the message is more likely to arrive at its destination, and chances for receiving an answer are also higher. It’s also good to remember that most services also provide a system whereby it’s possible to know when the message has successfully been sent, received and seen. Not to mention that a text message sent through a mobile application is way cheaper than initiating or receiving a call.
And Voicemail Became Hip Again
But remember that nothing is certain with any kind of technology. Take vinyl records for example, once they were the only means of listening to music in the comfort of your home, then came along cassettes, CDs, MP3 players and then – as with so many things – the internet had seemingly killed it off. But now due to the love of nostalgia and, some would argue, the superior sound quality, vinyl records are more popular than ever.
But we also have to take into consideration the fact that certain technologies can indeed evolve, adapting to the needs of a new era – and that’s exactly what has happened with voicemail systems. Being able to listen to voicemails stored in a convenient web-based interface is a must for cloud phone systems, but these messages can also be forwarded to your email address as an MP3 file – the format voicemail messages are automatically converted into.
But if that’s not convincing enough, there is also a feature that can usually be bought as an extra with which these messages can be transcribed into text. This is the perfect example of killing two birds with one stone: the voicemail subscription doesn’t need to be canceled, but nor does this mean time needs to be spent on listening to these recordings, since they can be automatically converted into text, which is considerably more time-efficient.
In other words, by joining forces with cloud phone technology, voicemail services have shown users that it is open for necessary radical changes in order to ensure its survival. And now that it offers voicemail transcription to text, the younger generations and those who prefer written text over speech might rediscover the benefits of this method of communication – and could even open a new chapter in the history of telephony.
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