SAM Use Case: Killing Voicemail … and Other Zang App Development Perks
Perhaps you don’t know that millennials hate voicemail—or that you should care whether they do or not. On the contrary, you need to wrap your head around this contemporary reality and develop a strategy to protect your business against the potential fallout. After all, a vast number of millennials are headed to workplaces all over the world, and they despise even listening to voice messages, never mind dialing into voicemail, punching in a PIN, getting out pen and paper to record messages, and then responding to them in kind.
By the year 2020, they are expected to comprise 50 percent of the global workforce. Nearly each one of them carries a smartphone on his or her person every minute of the day. And they’ve grown up using these devices to quickly, inexpensively and conveniently send text messages to their friends and family. Texting, otherwise known as Short Message Service (SMS) has, consequently, become their preferred mode of communication.
Millennials already comprise 25 percent of the U.S. workforce, thus filling many staff positions across a large swath of enterprises, and they want to use SMS messaging to communicate with their business colleagues, partners and customers.
The Problem of Enterprise Voicemail
Major organizations like Coke and J.P. Morgan have already responded to millennial requests to get rid of voicemail—initiating the trend that is likely to become a competitive differentiator in the not-too-distant future. As an indicator of the demise of voicemail, Vonage reported in 2012 that the number of voicemail messages left on user accounts dropped 8 percent from the year before.
Coca-Cola’s decision, according to an internal memo obtained by Bloomberg, was made “to simplify the way we work and increase productivity.” Case in point, specific voicemail issues include:
- Dialing in to check messages is cumbersome—it’s a detriment to work flow.
- Incoming calls going to voicemail is not an acceptable business practice.
- Millennials and other employees prefer email, instant messaging (IM) and SMS to voicemail.
- Eliminating voicemail saves companies money.
- No differentiation in blinking call-waiting light between important messages and spam.
Hence, dispensing with voicemail as one of the major components of a business’s communication system is quickly becoming a competitive measure.
The Solution to Enterprise Voicemail
Using Zang’s 100-percent-cloud communications platform on the back end, Mutare Inc. created Smart Assist by Mutare (SAM)—a call completion application—to enable enterprises to offload voicemail.
“We basically kill voicemail with SAM,” said Mutare’s Vice President of Business Development Rich Quattrocchi. “We get rid of the voice mailbox. We answer the phone. We convert the message to text.” Using Zang APIs, Mutare software developers were able to create SAM’s text message delivery feature in one day. The platform’s all-in-one environment—including SMS, phone calls, IVR and conference calls—can help any tech-savvy or non-tech-savvy applications developer shrink product time to market, as well as add tremendous value for end users, when building communications solutions.
SAM automatically answers phones and offers the caller the option to have his or her message converted into text for a faster response. SAM then transcribes the voice message and sends the text to the recipient via email or IM using Microsoft Lync. The recipient’s notification includes the caller’s ID, the time the person called, whether a message was left and, of course, the message. Even hang-ups are included in notifications.
Zang works in the background, delivering SAM’s text message alerts. “Zang is very important to this process,” said Quattrocchi. “You can’t just send a text message willy-nilly. You need a provider like Zang that can make it happen.” Zang communication-enables simple processes like converting any message to SMS. “Before Zang, the only way I could send a text message was to use my thumbs, and that’s not very effective,” said Quattrocchi.
“Zang enables us to convert voice messages from an analog work flow to a digital work flow, and then deliver them to cellphones via text messaging, helping businesses save money and employees communicate better.” For example, critical voicemail messages don’t languish in voicemail boxes, and—just like with email—recipients find it easy to differentiate between important and junk mail.
Quattrocchi calls voicemail “an antiquated work flow.” He explained that today’s employees live in IM, email and on their mobile phones with text messaging. He argues that millennials do want to know who called and why; they just don’t want to dial in and listen to voice messages—it’s annoying and time-consuming.
“When you take a business process, like a phone call, and convert it into a communication stream that employees prefer, you’re going to have more productive employees,” he said. Mutare conducted time and motion studies based on interviews with people who dial in for their voicemail messages. It found that SAM improves productivity for each employee from 5 minutes to 15 minutes per day, depending on the type of employee and the amount of voicemail he or she receives. For a typical employee, earning about $48,000 a year, the SAM system pays for itself in around 10 days.
Through in-depth research, Mutare also discovered that, depending on the organization, SAM can be up to 90 percent less expensive than voicemail. Mutare has developed an ROI calculator that determines the ROI payback for the organization and takes into account average daily time savings, loaded labor rate and number of employees.
How SAM resolves BYOD compliance issues
You might be thinking: Why not just initiate a text communication system to replace voicemail instead of deploying SAM? First and foremost, all businesses are required to keep track of digital information (whether SMS, email or voicemail) being sent back and forth, according to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
Today, many employees use their own personal devices to conduct business—and, often, the enterprise has no record of these interactions and no ownership of them. “This is significant to enterprises if they need to go to discovery as part of a law suit,” stressed Quattrocchi. “When employees go outside of the system, that puts companies in jeopardy because now things can be introduced in a court scenario that they had no idea even existed.”
SAM allows enterprises to remain compliant even within the context of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) situations. “Think of it,” suggested Quattrocchi. “Your business owns the phone number. So, voice messages left on an employee’s business line can be converted to text and sent to his or her iPhone, now the organization has lost control of its data.. With SAM, the enterprise has a record of the transaction archived in email..”
SAM and Zang: modernizing business communications
As your enterprise considers killing voicemail, it might help to know that SMS text messages have a phenomenal open rate of anywhere from 82 percent to 98 percent (compare that to just 22 percent for email). Independent software developers, like Mutare, the world over can benefit from accessing Zang tools to create more-robust communication solutions that serve the needs of the enterprise customer by improving productivity and lowering costs.
If you have an idea for a voice or SMS app that will change workflows for the better, bring it to the next Zang Meetup and we’ll show you how easy it is to build. Click the button to see if we’re coming to a city near you.