Oh, yes, yes, yes, yes, YES! Michael Arrington of TechCrunch has it SO right in his article, Think Before you Voicemail. I could not agree more! Voicemail is a horrible relic of the 90s from an era before everyone had email at their fingertips, and it must DIE!
My particular tactic at work is to have a 90 second voice greeting that really, really, slowly and laboriously tells people that I really prefer email to voicemail, and repeats my email address numerous times, including spelling it out in full. And if people suffer through that all the way, I say: “I am often away from my desk or travelling and may not get your voicemail for days or weeks … however I have a mobile phone with email, so that is always the best way to reach me … but leave your message, if you want.”
Comically, the only people who ever leave me messages are bubbly junior PR people who are ringing to follow up to check that I got such and such a press release. Clearly, they don’t care whether I got the message or not, as long as they can tick the box on their client billing form that says they followed up with me.
Another good thing I discovered for avoiding voicemail in my life: on my particular mobile phone plan (Optus Blackberry $79 cap plan), the Optus SurePage service can be billed into the cap. So, even though each operator-answered message that is taken down and SMSed to me costs $0.85, that can be billed as part of my $300 per month cap value. And since I never spend anywhere near $300 on my voice calls, those $0.85 pager-style text messages don’t cost me any real money.
I’m sure it’s not the same on all plans, and since it’s a premium Optus service, I almost wonder if it’s an oversight by Optus, but I’m glad it’s that way, because now I never have to listen to voicemail on my mobile any more either — I just get an SMS with the message and a number I can click on to call back if necessary.
In short, I HATE VOICEMAIL, and even if it was massively overhauled and sent to my email and stuff, I’d still hate it, because listening to the messages and transcribing people’s numbers, etc, takes up valuable time, and I wish they’d just email me instead.
It’s nice for Michael Arrington — who is hugely influential in tech — to have come out and declared voicemail dead.