If You Think Voicemail Is Passé, Press 1

A study done by Vonage shows that its users aren't leaving or retrieving voicemails as often as they used to, leading some to wonder what this means for the future of voice message technology.

Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn


What's the Latest Development?

Leaving voicemails is on the decline, according to a report done for USA Today by Internet telephony company Vonage. During a one-year period, the number of voicemail messages went down by 8 percent, while the number of messages retrieved fell by 14 percent. Although the study focused on Vonage users, a very small subset of the total phone-user population, it reflects a larger trend: Since 2007, the number of voice calls in general has been dropping as texting and other forms of communication have risen. Not surprisingly, some companies are responding by offering the option of unlimited voice calling versus unlimited text messaging.

What's the Big Idea?

According to a Vonage executive, one possible reason behind the reduction in voicemail use could be impatience with the process: "They hate the whole voice-mail introduction, prompts, having to listen to them in chronological order." Despite the Vonage report, most people still find voicemail useful, and if time is a problem, several tools exist that make the process of going through voicemails easier. For example, both Vonage and Google Voice can automatically transcribe voicemails into emails or texts.

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