The End of Voice Mail

May 2018

Does anyone still listen to voice mail?

Condo management offices that spend time leaving voice mail messages which are not returned have fallen behind in their use of communication technology.

Voice mail was invented by IBM in the early 1970s.  Today it seems to have been replaced by e-mail, text, Skype and Twitter.

It takes time to dial into voice mail, listen to messages, write notes and delete messages.  Voice mail tag is another frustration.  Compared to newer technologies listening to long messages waiting to hear the caller’s name, phone number and reason for the call is inefficient.  Deciphering unclear voice messages can be a challenge.

Many no longer check their voice mail for messages.

Some actively discourage the leaving of voice mail messages by suggesting that callers send an e-mail or text message.  Those who ignore this suggestion may find their message never listened to.

Today, the preference appears to have shifted to written electronic messages.

This is more than a generational trend.  Those who are frequently on the road find voice mail to be a less effective technology.

Some have their voice mail messages converted to text and transferred to an e-mail account so they never have to deal with voice mail.

When reaching a voice mailbox, it is now common practice to hang up and send an e-mail or text message.  The recipient can view this information while in transit or participating in a meeting with minimal disruption.  They can respond to priority communications while delaying others until a more appropriate time.

Unlike voice mail, text and e-mail is more easily stored, searched and referenced.

Text messages and e-mail may suffer from being impersonal.  Intention or tone can be misinterpreted.  Yet many find this preferable to the limitations of voice mail.

Voice mail served a purpose when it first came out but offers less value in an era of smartphones and  e-mail.  The same may apply to a home phone whose lack of portability is undesirable when compared to mobile phones and smartphones.