Coca-Cola ditches voicemail for texts to boost productivity

Coca-Cola has put a significant nail in the coffin of the voicemail message after telling staff to switch off voicemail on office phones to receive messages via texts instead.

In a bid to boost productivity and waste less time, the US soft drink titan is hoping that staff members will embrace the change. Just six per cent of staff at its headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia opted to keep their voicemails turned on, with the rest calling voicemail “excessively time-consuming”.

Switching solely to text messages and email is expected to save Coca-Cola thousands of dollars, although streamlining and simplifying procedures was the main driver behind the decision rather than cost, reports.

Professor Mark Skilton, an information systems management expert at Warwick Business School, explained: “If you have to go through and listen to 20 voicemails – to do that laboriously at half a minute or a minute each – that would take about six times longer than just scrolling through 20 texts.”

The move was called “inevitable” and a “no-brainer” by MIT Sloan School Centre for Digital Business research fellow Michael Schrage, notes. In an article written for the Harvard Business Review, Schrage cemented his position towards using text messages over voicemail, saying the latter is “now seen not only as worthless, but as so inefficient it must be removed.”

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