Voicemail, the next generation thinks it’s ‘totally big’…

I was recently tasked with presenting our current voicemail strategy, market numbers, products, etc, to an analyst firm compiling a report on the voicemail market. Why me?  Because I have a good knowledge of our messaging products and little authority to pawn the task off on someone else. Why now? Isn’t voicemail being made obsolete with email, chat, SMS, Tweets, etc, etc.  

It seems certain technologies/functions/processes become part of the fabric of the way business and even social life is conducted. And like industries that go through cycles, those technologies can also ebb and flow in their importance.

Case in point, I own shares in Berkshire Hathaway, and what exciting update did I get from the company last week? They pulled $26 billion in cash out of the checking account to buy a .… wait for it …. a freakin’ railroad!!!!  Why, because even though it’s been around for a long time, and changed little, it still has its place in an overall process.

I was thinking of voicemail in the same context as railroads, old and had its very limited roll, though not seeing it come back in importance. Then a few weeks ago my daughter came home with a task from Careers class to interview me, and chart out a multistep process of something her parent does for their job.

Why you need to focus on a career at 11 years old is beyond me, but she seems to enjoy it.

Anyway, I took a new product item we’re announcing and walked her through the steps. I got a task through email which points me to a document in Groove, which gets edited and then moved to SharePoint, where someone takes it and creates a page on our website, at which point an email is sent to partners, media and analysts, notifying them of the new content. Then a blog post is written about it, and then a tweet about the blog is sent out, and designated employees retweet the message and add links to their MySpace, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts. Basic stuff in any technology company today.

Using our presence capability, I showed her a person I needed to receive comments from was in a meeting for the next 2 hours. I explained that I would move on to another task and wait for that person to update the document.

“Why don’t you just leave him a voicemail? “

Well, because, we have all this fancy technology in place so we don’t have to leave voicemails. That’s an old technology.

“But voicemail means it’s really important. “

How so?  She pointed to her iPhone, where she had 6 different text conversations and 2 email threads in process with friends, and said if she’s not near her phone and she misses a text message, no big deal she’ll pick up the conversation when she has a chance, but if it’s something really important they will call, and if she misses the call, they leave a voicemail, and then you know it’s something “totally big”.

Voicemail and totally big, in the same sentence, kids these days are crazy.

Seems there’s a new way to communicate and exchange information everyday in the world. I hear Google Wave is a revolutionary new concept in the way we will communicate and collaborate in real time in the very near future, possibly eliminating the need for many current types of passive communications.  I know this because that’s what a market research firm said when they invited me to a webinar about Google Wave. The invitation, it was a voicemail……

Brad Herrington

Brad Herrington

As a Manager in the Solutions Marketing Group, Brad is responsible for the product direction and marketing strategy of the suite of products offered by Interactive Intelligence. Solutions Marketing is also the outward facing delivery team for webinar, seminar, analyst and media presentations as well as prospect and end customer demonstrations. His experience includes more than 20 years in the contact center and telephony industry, including the past 16 years with Interactive Intelligence focused on both the traditional and IP telephony markets.