Voicemail Vs Telephone Answering Service

Voicemail Vs Telephone Answering Service

Jun 29
Voicemail Vs Telephone Answering Service


Is it just me?

I recently had an ‘is it just me’ moment.  My ‘is it just me’ moment was about voicemail.  I really dislike voicemail, I don’t like leaving it and I don’t like receiving it.
I had to wonder if this was an irrational moment and whether anyone else felt the same way.  Research shows that only 1 in 5 people will leave voice mail  and the other 4 are unlikely to even call back on another occasion.
So I started to ask people about their views on voice mail, on all aspects. 

Leaving, receiving and retrieving.

I found that there was a reasonably even split in.
* Hating to leave it
* Love to receive it
* Hating all aspects of it.
(yes I know that hate is a strong emotion to relate to voicemail but I wanted to be true to the people I asked and if that is the way people genuinely feel then who am I to criticise)

Leaving voicemail raised the following issues -:
* Feeling nervous about what to say
* Worrying about sounding silly
* Apathy about actually getting a return call.

Loving receiving voicemail came up with the following -:
* Feeling wanted or needed
* The excitement of ‘It might be an order’

Hating all aspects of voicemail -:
* The clarity of the message when retrieved.
* Callers not leaving the information needed to be able to call back or deal with their requirement.
* The pressure and stress that the blinking red light can cause.
* The unknown element of what the caller wants or needs.
* The possibility of an unhappy caller or a complaint, aggravated by having to leave voicemail.
* Uncertainty of, if and when the voicemail gets listened to and actioned.
* If the message retrieved is of such poor quality that a call back can’t be actioned, then there is a worry that the client feels ignored or neglected.
* Hating being a slave to the technical master (in this case voicemail)

I want to speak to a real live person!

The overriding comment that most people made was  ‘I’d prefer to speak to someone (a real live person!)  to be sure the message gets dealt with’
As well as –  ‘Lots of calls, lots of message leaving can be both demoralising and frustrating’
We agree!
Voicemail can portray a mixed image of a business, some might think that you cannot cope with their business as you are just too busy.  Some might think your business is too small to cope, if your office can’t even answer the phone.
All customers want to speak to ‘someone’ a real live person that can listen and understand their wants and needs. 
Even if the person they are calling cannot help immediately, they feel more confident they have been helped and that the right solution / relevant person will come back to them with the information they need. 
In terms of customer complaints, a customer situation where they are  forced to leave a voicemail can escalate the situation.  They may think you are avoiding them, or worse they may feel completely abandoned.  If they get to speak to someone (We like to think of the ‘someone’ as us, www.answer-it.co.uk a Professional Telephone Answering Service)  the customer can explain the situation,  the situation can be dealt with effectively as the main parts of the message are relayed and emotion in most cases is taken out of the equation. (By this I mean that if a customer complains to you the business owner it can be hard not to feel that your business (your baby) is not being attacked.)

So what are your thoughts on voicemail?  We don’t know about you but we are human beings and would rather interact with other human beings than a robotic machine who says it is taking my message. We’ve seen i Robot hmmm can we really trust the Robots?
So if you would rather that your customers had a fabulous experience everytime they call your business and you want to eliminate the need for them to speak to the robot then the team at www.answer-it.co.uk  a professional telephone answering service (that offers more than just taking a message) can help you.
We’ll talk about auto attendants another day!


  1. Voicemail is only as good as the people who use it.

    I dont mind leaving a voicemail if I know that person will get back to me. In fact I would rather do that than have to call back later in the event of no answer. If the phone is answered by somebody who can only take a message then this is simular to voicemail, its only good if I do get a response.

    I think most people appreciate that some times not all calls can be answered first time and that they may have to either wait in a queue or leave a message when that company is busy.

    The real issue is do you return your calls? If you do then how you take the message is not important.

  2. Hi Julian – and Thanks for your comment.
    I totally agree with you that there can be an issue with return phone calls. However having spoken to many people about this I am now aware that lots of people are telephone phobic in one way or another. Many of our clients would admit to this. They find that if we(Answer-it) take their calls the caller is encouraged to leave plenty of information and so some of the fear in returning the call is taken away. The unknown factor is eliminated and they can be prepared when they return the call.
    Whilst I appreciate that you don’t mind leaving a voicemail, as long as you feel confident you will get a call back. Surely speaking to a real live person, who might be able to help with your enquiry, take details from you to facilitate a faster response, or at the very least indicate when a call back might be forthcoming, must be preferable. Finally surely you would rather not wait in a queue or speak to a machine when you can speak to a real live friendly helpful person?


  3. I would always rather speak to a person, agreed, but we dont live in an ideal world, thats all I am saying.

  4. I know that I have missed calls in the past and people calling me who have not left messages on my voice mail, then I switched to using Answer It and now I don’t miss any calls, and I always return messages when I am free.
    I agree for some people it is not a problem to leave messages on answering machines, but for others when they take a big step in calling a therapist like me the last thing they want is an electronic message, and what they get is someone who knows about the services I offer and my availability, much better than a machine.

  5. I hear what Julian is saying. However, I would like to add that most people would prefer to get through to someone even if it means hearing that they will get a call back. I personally prefer hearing a human voice instead of a machine.

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