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NYTimes – Next Office Revolution: “Voice Mail” – 1988

In 1988 the NY Times published an article proclaiming “voice mail” as the latest technology to disrupt enterprise business. Even though, as the article states, “Some people find such systems impersonal, intimidating, even infuriating. Callers can find themselves bounced from one recorded response to another, unable to break through to a human being, a situation that has been dubbed ”voice mail jail.” Even regular users can become befuddled.”

Now, 25 years later, we are seeing a mass exodus of this technology, being led by small business. The key reason being, as noted in the NY Times article, many customers find automated attendants and voice mail annoying. In fact Fortune noted in 2006 that 80% of callers that are sent to voice mail, hang up. Now, with the advent of the new VOIP telephone network, this new platform has allowed emerging companies like Main Virtual Office to combine voice, internet and mobile functionality into an answering service/mobile app that does everything voice mail doesn’t.

New answering service companies, like ours, built on the new VOIP telephone network can leverage cloud based software, allowing us to scale without significant capital investment. We have seized this opportunity to also pursue a different business model than our phone answering service competitors, who are looking to accumulate as many minutes as possible, to support the heavy capital investment for the infrastructure they developed on top of the 134 year old public circuit/switch US telephone network.

Our business model is 180 degrees from our competitors as we seek to spend as little time as possible professionally answering our customers calls.