The invention of voicemail in the 1970s made businesses far more efficient. No longer did they need a live person or machine answering their calls, and they benefited from the ease of storing, transferring and managing recorded phone messages in a digital format.
That said—as with any technological advancement—challenges and dilemmas can arise. Here are five common voicemail problems businesses face and solutions for them:
Problem #1: Messages are too long.
Listening to a mailbox full of voicemail recordings can take valuable time out of your day. But hearing each one all the way to the end is necessary in order to get the information from it.
Solution: Have voicemails transcribed into text format so they can be quickly read as well as stored on a computer like any text file. “Then you can search voicemails for keywords like ‘I need a quote’ or ‘price is too high,’” says Dan Baldwin, an information and communications technology consultant for business owners with ICTLA in Lake Elsinore, California. Spectrum Business Voice offers customers more than 30 calling features, including the ability to have voicemails transcribed and then viewed online.
Problem #2: Difficulty retrieving voicemails.
Anyone who’s struggled to recall the correct password for their voicemail system in order to retrieve new messages probably has thought there has to be a better way.
Solution: Have all voicemails automatically emailed to you as sound files. This also ensures you are notified quickly when any new voicemails are left. Spectrum Business Voice offers this as a free service to its customers. Voice messages are attached to the emails as mp3 sound files, and recipients simply click on the email attachment to start listening.
Problem #3: Poor audio quality.
Unfortunately, voicemails can sometimes sound garbled and hard to understand.
Solution: Poor sound quality is unlikely the fault of a reliable business voicemail service that uses VoIP technology, Baldwin says. So garbled voicemails are often due to callers’ poor mobile phone reception while leaving their message—and you may just need to call them back, assuming you can figure out their phone number. But if the problem does seem to be your voicemail, make sure you’re using a business phone and voicemail service that uses VoIP and not relying on, say, your mobile phone’s voice mailbox.
Problem #4: Difficulty integrating voicemail with other business apps.
You may discover you’re unable to sync your voicemail with other important tools you use for your business.
Solution: Voicemail should be a part of your company’s overall phone system, Baldwin says, so you can maximize functionality and integrate it with other tools and business applications. “If your voicemail is separate because it’s stored solely on your mobile phone, you need to get it off that and put it on the messaging app that comes with your business voice phone service,” he says.
Problem #5: Some callers hang up rather than leaving voicemails.
Some people may be uncomfortable leaving voicemails and will hang up instead. You don’t want to lose customers simply because they don’t want to leave messages.
Solution: Make it easier for callers to reach a real person. For example, if you have multiple phone lines, Spectrum Business Voice offers you the option of setting up an auto-attendant that answers your business phone and provides callers with a menu of options—such as particular employees or departments. This way, callers are more likely to reach the people who can help them. A hunt group is another voicemail feature: If one employee does not answer their phone, it redirects calls to another phone line in your business and can keep trying all the lines you have. It will only direct calls to voicemail if no one answers their line.
Another possible solution is to give callers who don’t want to leave voicemails other ways to reach you, such as by emailing, texting or visiting your website. “Solve the caller’s problem in the voicemail greeting,” Baldwin suggests. If your outgoing message is informative enough, he says, callers won’t even need to leave a message.
And if they do, you’ll be able to make the most of it with these solutions.Print this article