opinion pieces

My thoughts on how our voice communication is changing

Millennials and businesses have entire different ways to communicate — so how will they be merging?

Nina Hoedlmayr

· 3 min read

Let’s be honest here: phone calls have grown to become an unattractive necessity in our society. Think about our young generation: they live in text chat systems like Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, or Kik. And they do not call each other — but hey, they instead send voice texts (like Whatsapp’s ‘Voice Messaging’ feature) which are at first glance kind of bizarre… why not just call, right?! But it perfectly shows that this generation wants to be in control when and how they want to communicate with each other.

On the other hand, businesses need a proper phone tool: Examples like important discussions (e.g. sales deals), difficult topics that have to be explained best in a conference call or something you need to express personally, imply to having a voice conversation — and not a text one. You have to admit that still, voice communication is the most direct and honest channel.

So what are my thoughts on this topic? I am well in the middle of these two extremes — a young Generation Y girl that always twitches when the phone starts ringing and has the inability to listen correctly (which is why I NEVER really get the caller’s name) but working in a B2B startup were calling or getting calls from people is a daily thing. This is why I totally get both sides and thought about how those two will be merging (especially in the light of Generation Z — together with Generation Y — taking over business roles in the upcoming years and decades).

Let’s start from the beginning: Why do people like me easily get stressed out about phone calls? According to a list of numerous publications (just let Google search ‘Why do millennials not like to call?’), the younger generations identify phone calls as being presumptuous, disruptive, and intrusive as they want to get pre-informed about who is calling and why they are calling.

Well and Yodel is a business phone solution that is rethinking this problematic predominant way of voice communication by substantially changing the character of a call: The Yodel assistant announces calls in e.g. Slack and gathers all information available about the caller. Yodel does not let the phone ‘ring’ which annoys some people to death but pushes call notifications, just like text notifications. If you have time to switch from your task to the notification, you can do so. But if you’re in the middle of something where you really have to concentrate, you can just ignore the notification and the Yodel assistant takes over the call asking for the reason for calling (blog post), transcribes it to text, then tells the caller that you will call back and hangs up. All this and you didn’t have to do a thing.

What I’m trying to show with this example is that with the Yodel assistant, one is in complete control of what they want to do. Additionally, problems like mine where you have to carefully listen to get e.g. the caller’s name or write down the right number are also easily solved.

The vision of Yodel is to make use of innovative technologies available today (machine learning, NLP, Speech Recognition, etc.) to build an intelligent product for voice communication. This means that with solutions like ours, the gap between millennials’ and businesses’ relation to voice communication will eventually close.

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