Why Getting Rid Of Voicemail Will Make You More Responsive
It’s time to disable voicemail. We’re not kidding.
Turn it off. Get rid of it. If you can’t, at least stop using it the way you do today.
It kills your productivity and it makes you unresponsive.
A bit of a provocative start of a post, perhaps. But to illustrate the point, let’s look at how our current voicemail system works and draw the parallel with another tool we use often – email.
Imagine using a version of Outlook for email that would work as follows:
- it queues your incoming messages in the order they were received but
- it does not let you read message 5 until you had first read every word of email message 1 – 4.
No skipping messages, no preview pane. No quick delete or dragging a message to an archive folder. In fact, it wouldn’t even show you what message 5 was about until you had worked your way through the queue first.
Pretty sophisticated, don’t you think? No, we really didn’t think so either. And we’re pretty sure you wouldn’t even consider using it.
But that’s how voicemail works today. Except the average sales- or business person doesn’t get 5 voicemail messages a day we mentioned in our example, but rather 10, 20 or even more.
Critical information from your contract department that you needed before entering a prospect account got stuck behind a 30 second message from an ex-colleague who wanted to catch up, without you knowing it.
Your cellphone provider leaving a message to try and sign you up for contract renewal claimed priority over a call from your customer that required immediate action.
A call from your boss, on his or her way to join you on a call and asking for some last minute directions, ended up behind all of the calls described above. By the time you got to it, he was already late for the call.
So here’s what happens often.
You either spend an inordinate amount of time continuously catching up with voicemail, making notes, writing down phone numbers and reminders or you just don’t get to those messages – not in time or not at all.
And because people that leave a voicemail are well aware of that, they’ll call you with the well-known “hey, did you get my voicemail?” question. Now, how productive is that?
We have a few thoughts on how you could solve some of these issues but we’d love to hear from you first.
How do you “manage” voicemail? How do you stay responsive?
How do you make sure that messages that require immediate action, those that can wait and those messages that do not need your response at all get processed in a timely manner?
Do you have a “system” – or do you use different tools?
Post your thoughts in the comments.