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12/6/2010
04:42 PM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
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'Long, Rambling Messages' Most Hated Voicemail Vexation

A new study out today from Yap Inc. says that Americans receive 70 billion voicemail messages annually and one billion hours recording, managing and listening to them.

I hate voicemail and I always have. According to the data from Yap, I am not the only one. My number one problem with voicemail is dealing with long and rambling messages. Turns out, I am not only there, either. Yap says that 38% of Americans feel the same way.

Other reasons Americans hate voicemail? Some of the results show that 15% dislike navigating touch-tone menus in order to access and delete messages; 13% dislike having to grab pen and paper to take notes; 12% dislike the fact that they feel obligated to call the person back; and 10% of people dislike that they can't listen to messages during meetings or in noisy places. Other annoyances include peoples' inability to remember PIN codes, the difficulty in finding specific messages, and being forced to listen to long greetings before they can leave a message.

"Voicemail has long been an enormous time sink and a source of frustration," says Igor Jablokov, CEO at Yap. He ain't kidding. That's why solutions to the voicemail issue have been developed by a number of companies, including Yap. "By converting voice messages into text, Yap’s voicemail-to-text service allows users to conveniently access and read their voice messages at a fraction of the time it takes to listen to them," said Jablokov.

Yao isn't the only company. Apple was the first company to bring visual voicemail to the masses with the iPhone with cooperation from AT&T. Other carriers followed suit with their own versions of visual voicemail for platforms such as Google's Android and RIM's BlackBerry. Visual Voicemail acts similar to email, and allows users to view the messages in their inbox individually and choose which ones they want to listen to first, rather than listen to each message in the order it was received.

Beyond visual voicemail, Google offers transcription services for its Google Voice product, which will provide emails and text messages with the transcribed contents of voicemail messages.

"Voicemail as we know it is coming to an end," says Eddie Hold, vice president of Connected Intelligence at The NPD Group. "Having to dial in and listen to messages is a relatively slow process, especially in an era where instant gratification is demanded."

How do you feel about voicemail? Hate it? Love it? Necessary evil?

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