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A Farewell to Voicemail?

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“Millennials Shy Away from Voicemail” wrote the New York Times about a year ago, citing data from Vonage that shows a sharp decline in customers using voicemail. It led to a spate of articles predicting the outright demise of this once-popular tool. A Washington Post columnist blamed it on the Millennial Code: “If it had mattered, he’d have texted.” Even CNBC financial pundit Jim Cramer weighed in on the topic, claiming “Millennials ditching voicemail! It just isn’t as practical as other forms of communication.”

While Millennials are entering the workforce en masse now, I'm not sure anyone thought major corporations would start killing off voicemail so quickly based on a generation’s preferences. And yet banking behemoth JPMorgan Chase has recently announced it has eliminated voicemail for consumer-bank employees, according to BloombergBusiness

The company has deactivated voicemail for about 65 percent of its employees said a spokesperson, for an annualized savings of $3.2 million. Some workers, such as branch managers, still have the feature, the article states.

Coca-Cola cut the voicemail cord at its headquarters in Atlanta last November. According to an article by BloombergBusiness, employees could opt to keep the feature by claiming a “business critical need.” Only six percent did so. And while JPMorgan Chase was looking to cut costs, that was not the main objective for Coca-Cola. “The decision had more to do with simplifying work than trimming costs,” a company spokesperson said in the article.

Simplifying work is a great objective for a business decision. In fact, it should be a driving force for all communications goals. And while some may lament the rapid extinction of voicemail at work, the whole point of communications is to make it easier to connect with fellow employees, partners and customers.

That requires solutions that provide the communications channels and tools to keep your businesses productive, collaborative and innovative. Maybe voicemail is no longer part of the mix for your company. The bottom line is it should be easy to connect and, as the spokesperson at Coca-Cola noted, make it simple to work. Brilliantly simple, in fact.