Even in this digital age, your business can’t afford to ignore voicemail
There’s a lot of talk out there about the obsolescence of voicemail. But companies that don’t give importance to voicemail do so to the detriment of their customers' experience.
CRM.com reported that small- and mid-sized businesses experience up to 75% voicemail abandonment, referring to the people that call the company but hang up without leaving a message when transferred to voicemail.
This startling statistic is in part fueled by a lack of responsiveness on the part of the voicemail recipient. According to Nuance, 27% of those surveyed reported that when they get a voicemail, they feel burdened by the process of retrieving and listening to it, and 19% said they actually get annoyed when they receive a voicemail!
Luckily, it’s possible to have the best of both worlds and reap the benefits of voicemail while removing the hassle for company associates.
As cumbersome as it may be to retrieve a voicemail, companies make a big mistake by not responding quickly to their callers’ messages. Not responding to a stakeholder in a timely fashion, or worse, ignoring their requests altogether, is a sure way to erode customer loyalty. The fact of the matter is, voicemail is still used by certain people for certain purposes.
Some folks still like voicemail
For certain types of information, voicemail is still the preferred communications vehicle – 79% of those surveyed by Nuance said voicemails are more personal than texting or emailing. Older generations also tend to prefer voicemail. While a lot has been written about Millennials’ dislike of voicemail, don’t forget that consumer spending is dominated by people over the age of 50, a generation that is still more likely to prefer voicemail to text-based communication.
The best of both worlds
If your customer has an IP PBX or ITSP (internet telephony service provider), you can enable a voicemail-to-email feature on their business telephone system. There are a number of ways this feature can work, depending on which options are available on your customer’s specific system:
- Attachment: When a user gets a voicemail, they receive an email with the message recording as an MP3 attachment, along with information including the time and date of the message as well as the caller ID information. For added productivity, some systems allow the option of automatically deleting the forwarded voicemails so users don’t have to spend time deleting them manually.
- Speech recognition: Integrating speech recognition with your customer’s voicemail-to-email application allows their voice messages to be transcribed into text-based emails, so users don’t have to open an attachment and listen to a recording.
Business benefits of voicemail to email
Improved responsiveness. Customers will appreciate a fast response to their message, and voicemail-to-email will ensure that their messages are received faster, as well as being easier to answer. Associates already spend more than three hours per day checking their work emails, so receiving their voice messages on this platform saves them the time of dialing a number, entering their password, and listening to the message in a separate application. If the phone system is integrated with the email client, associates can easily return the call directly from their email using the click-to-dial feature.
Mobility. Since workers receive emails on their smart phones, they can easily retrieve their work voicemails while away from their desk and be productive at otherwise idle times, such as while waiting in line.
Archiving. Since users have the caller ID and call time information (as well as a transcript of the message itself if using speech recognition software) saved in their email inbox, messages are now searchable and archivable. With traditional voicemail, trying to locate a specific message can be very cumbersome or even impossible since they are deleted after a defined period of time.
Even in today’s digital age, a non-negligible percentage of the population still prefers voicemail in certain situations. Efficient handling of voicemail can bolster customer loyalty and even be a competitive advantage. If you haven’t already, it’s worth speaking with your customers about how you can help them enable a voicemail-to-email feature on their phone systems.
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