Breakup News: Irreconcilable Differences Force CX & Voicemail to Separate

This breakup is long overdue. It’s time for Customer Experience to see how truly great it is and break free from this toxic relationship. You don’t need voicemail, Customer Experience, there are better fish in the sea! It is time for CX to pull the plug and move on to greener pastures, once and for all.

No breakup is easy, but moving on can be a great thing! I generally think those who defend voicemail are looking to justify their own archaic methods of addressing customer inquiries or are still making a few bucks on their flavor of this grandfathered technology. If you fall into the second category, I advise you start focusing on customer-centric technologies. If you fall into the first category, I implore you to keep reading as we all get through this breakup together.  

Somewhere between physical memorandums and email (circa 1979), voicemail surfaced to solve for the issue of lost and overflowing written memos circulating in offices everywhere. Even before voicemail was a known option, answering machines started gaining traction and became cost-effective in the 1980s. Early adopters like 3M saw huge benefits in Gordon Matthews’ new voicemail innovation and adoption of the technology quickly grew, especially in companies. New spins and innovations have popped up over the years ultimately lengthening the relevance of voicemail, but fast forward 40 years from Matthew’s launch and the once-disruptive technology is now largely seen as dying or dead.

Considering voicemail a staple in contact center operations is a thing of the past. We now live in the era of using customer-centric technologies and building frictionless customer experiences; in this new world voicemail simply doesn’t cut it.

Voicemail technology has largely been designed for specific use cases (eliminating the need to communicate via post-it notes), but it fails to consider the customer or employee experience. Widely thrown into the mix as an option to expand “coverage,” voicemail has been used as a tool to offer a point of coverage outside of contact center business hours or during peak demand. Providing a point of coverage doesn’t make the technology efficient, effective, or customer-centric.

If just one of your call flows dead-ends in voicemail, it is time to go back to the drawing board. Regardless of your workflow for handling those voicemails, it is almost certainly a time-intensive process for the employee and a crippling experience for your customer. With alternatives such as intelligent/ precision routing and scheduled callbacks, it’s time to dump your voicemail (and throw it’s clothes out onto the lawn).

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