church communications

Should Churches Use Automated Voice Messaging Systems?

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My experience with automated voice messaging systems consists primarily of being on the receiving end of robo-calls from politicians and telemarketers. In other words, it’s been mostly negative. So, I never thought about its potential as a church communications tool.

However, working with PhoneTree on this week’s sponsored giveaway has caused me to give serious thought to where if anywhere a voice messaging system might fall in a church’s communication strategy.

My church’s primary form of communication is email.

  • New prayers go out to the prayer team via email
  • Reminders go out to serving teams via email
  • Our senior pastor sends out an email every week, usually with a spiritual emphasis but sometimes they also mention an upcoming event.

Email is good, but it’s not without it’s problems:

  • According to the Pew Internet Project 20% of U.S. adults don’t even use the Internet.
  • Pew’s research also indicates another 10% of those who do use the Internet, don’t use email.
  • Of those people who do use email, many go several days without checking it.
  • Lots of email messages get bounced back because the recipient has changed email addresses or their mailbox is full.
  • And then there’s the increasingly frustrating problem of legitimate email being incorrectly routed to spam folders and never seen.

When all is said and done, a church may only be able to get email to 50-60% of its people.

On the other hand, everyone has a phone and almost every phone call goes through. So, voice messaging has a significantly better success rate than email.

But aren’t people annoyed by automated calls?

Yes, we all hate unsolicited robo-calls, but its not the automation we dislike, is their unsolicited-ness (is that a word?). That’s true of email too, right?

Where I see the potential usefulness of automated voice messaging systems are for things like:

  • Reminding people on serving teams the day before they’re scheduled to serve
  • Sharing prayer requests with the prayer team
  • Informing people of urgent scheduling changes, for example if an event is cancelled because of weather

What do you think? Do you have volunteers or staff who spend hours each month calling lists of people repeating the same message over and over? Do you use an automated voice messaging system? Do you see its potential uses and benefits?

If you’re interested, we are giving away services by PhoneTree that include automated voice, email and text messaging. Deadline to enter is 3 PM Eastern time today (Friday July 13).

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    About the author

    Paul Steinbrueck

    Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck.