The IVR Voicemail Option Is Becoming A Tin Can Communication Solution

Is the IVR voicemail option becoming obsolete due to more advanced and efficient customer service IVR solutions, such as the callback feature where a caller is prompted to a leave a callback number while the system holds their place in queue?    I say yes, and thank goodness!

There was once a time when most IVRs offered callers the option of leaving a voicemail message during high call volume periods, or when offices were closed.  This practice inevitably causes an impact to service level when agents are faced with the task of listening to voicemail messages rather than handling the next call in queue.

A NICE customer recently informed me that they are no longer getting the IVR voicemail volume that they once received, and I must honestly tell you that this did not surprise me at all. More and more people these days are becoming accustomed to the automation and efficiency that technology provides. Would it not be more convenient and practical for agents to automatically contact the caller on the number captured via the IVR for a callback, rather than spending unnecessary time listening to messages that will result in the need for a call anyway? And from the caller’s perspective, would it not be easier to provide a callback number rather than leaving a message with information that will have to be repeated when the return call is made?

While giving the caller the option to leave a voicemail message is certainly courteous, it’s not economical and is no longer the standard. Voicemails more often that not maintain a lower priority for call handling purposes. So leaving a message automatically assumes immediate action or assistance is not required, that is when referring to a service line. This draws an interesting line in the sand, where we see voicemail messages being left on direct lines where the caller specifically knows who they are leaving the message for, with a clear decline in the volume of messages left in general customer service mailboxes accessed via IVRs.

How much time is wasted trying to understand the content left in a recording? How many times have you received a voicemail message where critical information is omitted from the message, such as a valid callback number, or extension needed when dialing that number, a name, or even a reference number?  Sometimes clear and concise greetings that instruct what information to include in the message does not effectively yield all the pertinent information - so what happens in those cases is the person that left the message has wasted time, as well as the person tasked with listening to the message, which to me equates to a lose-lose.   So, my rule of thumb after all of this is to only leave voicemail messages if you know the person’s name and direct number that you are leaving a message with, otherwise use the callback feature if available.  Any business with an IVR solution that does not offer the callback feature should put an end to the tin can communication and consult with NICE!