Why Coca-Cola is Replacing Voicemail

Texting Is Finally Making Inroads Into the Corporate World

Recently Coca-Cola CIO Ed Steinike announced that the company would be ditching its office voicemail “to simplify the way we work and increase productivity.” While many of us with smartphones have been opting to text over leaving a voicemail for years, this is one of the largest companies to officially make the switch.

Bloomberg talked to the company to get more insight before publishing this great piece on the soda giant’s move. Below is a snippet of the piece. What struck me as interesting was the comment at the end by Amanda Rosseter, a company spokeswoman (emphasis mine).

Coca-Cola is one of the biggest companies yet to ditch its old-style voice mail, which requires users to push buttons to scroll through messages and listen to them one at a time. Landline voice mail is increasingly redundant now that smartphones are ubiquitous and texting is as routine as talking.

“Most people have it, but they don’t end up using it,” said Vishy Gopalakrishnan, who manages AT&T Inc.’s unified communications unit. “There are ways to get around it.”

The Nov. 6 memo announcing the change at Coca-Cola created a stir among some employees, who assumed it was part of a program to cut $3 billion in annual expenses by 2019. That plan, which was announced in October in response to a global sales slump, has caused growing unease inside the company over the possibility of firings.

The savings from eliminating voice mail will be less than $100,000 a year, said Amanda Rosseter, a Coke spokeswoman. The decision had more to do with simplifying work than trimming costs, she said.

Simplifying work is a tall order these days. With more communications tools (with odd names) popping up every week and customer behavior shaped persistently by the smartphone, companies have to put more effort into “simplifying work” than they used to. Text messaging is one great way to do that because of it’s non-intrusiveness and widespread adoption.

At CallRail we’ve been working on expanding our tracking numbers’ text message capability for some time. For the 15,000 companies using our call tracking platform, web-based text messaging has become an essential component that powers customer communications and marketing campaigns. That’s why we’ve added business class text messaging capability to every tracking line on our platform, both inbound and outbound.

Despite some businesses that are well-positioned to take advantage of text messaging, many of our customers rely heavily on voicemail. For these customers we recommend taking the pain out of interacting with voicemail by turning on voicemail transcription. After all, if you can turn a voicemail into a text message automatically, you get the benefit of offering both options to your customers and the efficiency of texting.

When our CEO & Co-founder, Andy Powell, brought this article to my attention, he said, “This could be the start of a movement — and also the start of businesses taking text messaging more seriously.” I agree.