Being Human – Is Voicemail really good enough for business?

Being Human – Is Voicemail really good enough for business?

Once upon a time when you missed a call, you missed a call. C'est la vie. Then came the answerphone, and a couple of decades later mobile phone tech took over. These days if you miss a call it usually goes to voicemail, today's version of the answering machine. But is that really good enough for business?

Why so many people dislike voicemail

As it turns out plenty of people – including a good proportion of the millennial generation – dislike voicemail. And some of them dislike it intensely. Why? Because you can't tell what's in store for you when you spot a voicemail message in your inbox. You don't know if it's bad news or good news, and you have no idea who it's from. Worst of all, in a world where everyone's connected 24/7, a voicemail message feels like a judgement on your ability to stay in touch. And that's just the personal side of things. Put voicemail into a business context and it's even farther from ideal.

Imagine you're a customer or prospect. You phone a company to ask a question, make an order, complain, whatever. You expect to hear a human voice on the end of the line but instead, you're shunted off to voicemail. It feels like you don't care. For all you know, they might have stopped trading altogether, changed premises, fallen off the face of the earth, moved to outer space. You leave a message in trepidation – will it reach who it's meant to reach? Or will your communication disappear into the ether, never to be heard by a human being?

Some people adore voicemail

Some people, of course, love it. A quick look at this amusing and relevant Twitter thread by Matt Haig, who absolutely detests voicemail, reveals how the technology is valued by people who dislike making phone calls... and there are plenty of them around, too. It's a brisk and broad debate, and it's one that's worth having.

What's the business case for real human call handlers?

Given that so many people appear to find voicemail a pain, something they'd rather avoid, it makes sense to ensure your business calls are answered by a real person, a human being. A person at the other end of the line is, after all, the ideal scenario. The rest – whether it's emailing or texting or anything else - are just the things that you're forced to do when you can't get hold of an actual person.

Luckily there's a simple and highly effective solution in the form of call handling services. Even luckier, it's something we provide to an increasing number of our clients. We deliver a comprehensive, flexible call handling service you can rely on. All your business calls are handled by professionals who are trained to be polite and helpful, and know how to tailor their responses closely to your brand, to the way you like things done. You can find the details about our call handling service here.

What about ringless voicemail?

Ringless voicemail is another thing altogether. It lets sales people leave voice messages on punters' mobile phones without actually having to make a call. It does so by bypassing the network and connecting with the recipient's voicemail server via a business landline. The server stores the message and sends a notification.

How do people feel about unsolicited sales messages that pop into their voicemail box out of the blue? Reactions are mixed, but as you can imagine plenty of people find them annoying and intrusive and some find them downright sinister. It's not something we get involved in, nor would we recommend our business clients set such a system up. But what do you think?

Tell us how you feel

We'd love to know how you feel about sending your customers and prospects' calls to voicemail, and whether you'd ever go so far as to use ringless voicemail messages to sell your wares. Maybe, like us, you think your customers deserve a real person to leave messages with, not a machine. Perhaps your clients prefer to use SMS, instant messaging on social media and emails? Let us know where you stand!