Here are the results from an online survey that asked people about how we use voicemail and answering machines in the UK.
Rather than make unfounded and sweeping generalisations like “80% of callers won’t leave a message on voicemail” we decided to survey a wide range of telephone users on their voicemail habits. And guess what? Nearly 90% will leave a message if they know the person they are calling. But most of people said they won’t leave a message if they’re looking to order products, responding to an advert or calling about customer service.
It supports what we have always thought – Voicemail is a valuable tool (indeed how did we ever survive without it?) for your close contacts but it is less suited to handling advertising response, supporting product ordering and in customer service situations if you want to build customer loyalty. We asked about the reason for the call, who they were trying to contact and what their relationship was with the person or organisation they were calling. We now hope that the survey will help organisations to decide when and where voicemail works best.
Over 500, both business people and members of the public, completed the 10 questions between April and June 2010.
The survey results are:
- When calling a business during office hours in response to an advert more than half of people will not leave a message on voicemail
- 83% of people are comfortable leaving voicemail messages on mobile phones
- Nearly two thirds of people will not leave a message on voicemail if they are calling to make a complaint
- The majority of people expect to be called back the same day if they leave a voicemail message
- 88% of people will leave a message on voicemail if they personally know the individual they are calling
- More than half of people leave less than 5 voicemail messages per week
- 79% of people will not leave a message on voicemail if they are calling to place an order for a product or service
- More than three quarters of people think that voicemail has a place in today’s fast moving business world
There’s no doubt voicemail is useful. But. Think long and hard before you rely on people to leave messages in response to adverts or if you are not giving your customers personal service. When they ring you they want to talk to you.
We will think a little deeper about what the results mean and we’ll use the blog to discuss our points. Because we answer telephone calls for lots of other organisations you may think, correctly as it happens, that we have a vested interest in encouraging people to rely on the telephone. So feel free to give us your comments to put a brake on our enthusiasm.
The full survey results can be obtained by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Steve West
Marketing and Business Development Manager