I am Not Going to Leave a Message After Your "Beep"…

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While sitting at my desk the other day I had a question and I knew just who to call for the answer. I made the call and after a few seconds of ringing I was transferred to voicemail. I immediately hung up and called the next best person I could think of for a response. Again, ringing and voicemail. I immediately hung up again. After calling 5 people with the same ringing then voicemail routine I hung up the phone and thought about what I had just done. I didn’t leave a single voicemail. I had five opportunities to leave a message and wait for someone to call me, but I didn’t. Why?

In my case, I know that I am impatient.  If I don't get a live person to talk to, I give up and keep looking for a live person.  What is important about my behavior is what do I do next.  I switch to another communication channel.  I will check an instant messaging application to see if I can get someone to chat with or I will text the person via mobile phone.  Finally, when all else fails, I will send an email message.  Why email over voicemail?  Because I know that email is frequently seen immediately on a smart phone and offers a chance for the person to quickly and discretely respond wherever they may be without forcing them to engage in a verbal conversation.

I am now conditioned to avoid voicemail and switch to other channels because I am successful with this approach and generally get the live person on the other end and the answer that I am looking for.  I also know that I prefer to offer my assistance over IM, text message, and email when I am "either on the phone or away from my desk."  How about you?

Are you still using voicemail or a message box in your contact center?  Do your customers use it?  Why?  How responsive are you?  Are you leveraging other contact channels such as email and chat in your contact center for impatient people like me?