Coca-Cola Just Got Rid of Voicemail
Have a Coke and a smile and kill your voicemail. Coca-Cola just did.
That’s right, the globe’s biggest and most-guzzled carbonated drink maker has hung up on the old “leave a message after the beep” hassle. Ninety-four percent of employees at Coca-Cola’s midtown Atlanta 1 Coca-Cola Plaza world corporate headquarters -- and at its swish, new downtown Atlanta IT offices -- just permanently ditched one of the most annoying, neediest forms of communication ever invented: landline voicemail.
Phew, not the smartphone kind, not that anyone checks that either.
The remaining 6 percent, nostalgic stragglers still clinging to the dying form of communication most millennials hate, were allowed to keep it if they had “a business critical need,” Bloomberg reports.
The goal of the move, which took effect earlier this month, is fairly obvious: duh, increased productivity. Not having to regularly check company voicemail -- dialing in, punching buttons, recalling yet another passcode, and listening to people blah, blah about this, that or the other thing -- frees Coca-Cola employees up to, well, work more.
At least that’s what the company’s chief information officer Edmund Steinike hopes. In a Nov. 6 memo to employees, he said that Coca-Cola nixed company voicemail “to simplify the way we work and increase productivity,” also according to the Bloomberg report.
It also doesn’t hurt that the change is projected to save the company around $100,000 annually. That’s a drop in the bucket for the multi-billion dollar sugary beverage giant, which recently reversed an 11-year sales slump with its viral “Share a Coke” name campaign.
Now, when you call Coca-Cola’s corporate HQ, once you navigate past the initial pre-recorded greeting/menu, you get the electronic cold shoulder. (We got the human kind. A woman picked up, said “Hello, Coca-Cola,” then inexplicably hung up on us three times in a row before finally successfully transferring us to, yup, voicemail.)
The company’s staid new standard outgoing voicemail message is predictably cold and dismissive: “You have reached the Coca-Cola company. The individual you are calling is currently not available. Please call back at a later time or use an alternative method to reach this individual.”
Better to send a text or an email, perhaps.
While abandoning two-way voicemail isn’t another publicity stunt, it’s sure making headlines. If it were, it’d be the least sexy marketing ploy of all time.
Kim Lachance Shandrow is the former West Coast editor at Entrepreneur.com. Previously, she was a commerce columnist at Los Angeles CityBeat, a news producer at MSNBC and KNBC in Los Angeles and a frequent contributor to the Los Angeles Times. She has also written for Government Technology magazine, LA Yoga magazine, the Lowell Sun newspaper, HealthCentral.com, PsychCentral.com and the former U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. C. Everett Coop. Follow her on Twitter at @Lashandrow. You can also follow her on Facebook here.