October 02, 2013, 9:57 AM — Press 1 to hear your messages.
Press 2 to record your personal greeting.
Press 3 to get rid of this voicemail system because it's ancient technology, no one uses it and it is a complete waste of time for your employees and clients.
Michael Schrage hits 3 at Harvard Business Review this week, posting a very interesting column. He argues that voicemail has degenerated into a corporate "handicap" that's damaging productivity and customer/client relationships.
"Disconnect enterprise voicemail. Now," urges Schrage, a research fellow at MIT Sloan School's Center for Digital Business. "Who do you know in your organization that uses it well? By contrast, which colleagues leave voicemails secure in the knowledge that you will never – ever - retrieve them?" (Psst, that’s one of our favorite tricks: “But I left you a message!”)
Think about it. When’s the last time you left a voicemail message? Did it get returned? Do you look at the red light lit on your desk phone and think, “Ugh”?
Two of Schrage's fantastic points:
1. Note how many voicemail messages state that the person pretty much never checks his or her voicemail.
2. Who are the people most likely to get your voicemail? Customers and clients. What message are you sending them? "I may or may not listen to the message I'm asking you to leave."
Plus, Schrage notes: "Voicemail’s technical flaws and shortcomings reveal something very important about the customer engagement future. Nobody wants to be put in voicemail anymore and it’s quite likely that customers and clients aren’t listening to your voicemail messages either."
Click below to examine Schrage's rationale behind voicemail's decline, more productive enterprise options and where an organization should go from here.