What do JPMorgan Chase, Coca-Cola, and Cisco have in common? Each of the giants has made voice mail optional for their employees. Why the change? To find the answer, let's take a look at the ways you can communicate with me in a typical day:
Mobile phone Mobile phone voice mail Text Message Desk phone Desk phone voice mail Email (multiple accounts for work and personal use) IM (Cisco Jabber/Microsoft Skype for Business) Business Messaging App (Cisco Spark, Microsoft Teams, Slack) WebEx Personal Meeting Room Twitter Facebook Instagram Skype Facetime Linked-In
A few school and sport-specific apps for my kids
It's exhausting just to list the modalities, let alone to try and manage conversations across the vast app list. These organizations have realized that the most significant gift we can give employees is focus. While voice mail can be a useful communication tool, for most millennials and many Generation X employees, voice mail is the tool of last resort.
This generational gap was played out recently on a business trip of mine. An older colleague (Baby Boomer) had called and left detailed instructions on a 4 minute and 30-second voice mail regarding client meeting details including a change in the meeting time (provided at 3 min and 45 sec into the message). In my haste to get through the other 1000 messages (email, IM, etc.), I had not checked voice mail. Fortunately, another colleague (Millennial) had become aware of the change and sent a text. Crisis avoided!
With the identified productivity benefits and cost savings is disabling voice mail a no-brainer? Maybe not, voice mail still has its advantages. For one, context is much easier to communicate via voice than text. Linguistic tools such as sarcasm and concern are more simply communicated audibly.
Now, only one question remains; are you ready to give up on voicemail?