Voicemail is on a prolonged downward trend that is beginning to accelerate. Nearly all the messages I receive on voicemail are cold callers. Nearly all the messages on voicemail never make it past 5 seconds before I delete them. There was a time that I cared enough to listen to—and even to return—people’s calls and tell them I was not interested. No longer. Now, I just delete them and think to myself, why do people still leave messages?

JPMorgan Chase gave employees the option to drop voicemail in 2015 and eliminated all but one third of their voicemail boxes, saving the company $8 million a year. More importantly, I bet they became more productive. To be fair, I bet they had to add some amount back, as some people probably later determined they needed it more than they realized.

When the JPMorgan voicemail story came out, it was big news and was supposed to be the beginning of a mass movement away from voicemail. Coca-Cola followed suit, and then later, TD Bank. No one eliminated 100 percent of voicemails, but more than 50 percent of employees in these companies dropped voicemail by choice.

Why aren’t we all following suit?

It’s really time that we stop using voicemail as much as we do. There is absolutely a reason for voicemail, and I do not believe it should be eliminated 100 percent. However, I think, even in this industry, we use voicemail too much.

So here are five reasons to stop using voicemail:

  1. It’s inefficient for the listener. Sure, it may be easier for you to leave a message, but when we leave messages, we tend to ramble. If it’s important enough, write a note. Of course, you should still allow your customers to leave you a voicemail until such time that they stop leaving voicemails.
  2. It’s costly. This does not apply to everyone, but there is usually a cost involved in voicemail boxes. The longer you keep leaving messages, the longer people feel the need to keep the mailbox.
  3. It’s old. It isn’t just millennials who do not like leaving or hearing voicemails (or receiving phone calls for that matter), it’s a widening gap for many age groups.
  4. It is ineffective as a sales/marketing tool. This is the most important one. I assure you that more than 99.5 percent of all sales related voicemails left for me have not resulted in a positive impression.
  5. It is ineffective (No. 2). Voicemails are the last thing that many people check during the day—myself included. If you leave me a voicemail, I listen to it only when I’m caught up with my other work, unlike email, which I scan consistently (too much).

I’m not yet ready to get rid of voicemail boxes for Geiger staff, but it is on my radar. With email, instant messages, live chat, and nearly always being on cell phones, the days of voicemail are numbered. I do, however, rarely (if ever) leave voicemails. Even my mother prefers a text message now rather than a voicemail.

Think about these things before you leave your next voicemail. In most cases, take the time to write out (or use voice recognition) your message.

Originally published on Promo Marketing