What's The Diff?

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How Many Outgoing Messages Do You Need?

One thing that really annoys me is other people’s voicemail. I’m not talking about the fact that they’re not there to answer your call or even having to leave a message. I’m talking about having to listen to the outgoing message.

Let me set the scene for you: I call my husband. He’s doesn’t answer. I get his voicemail. His outgoing message includes the standard “Leave me a message” language, but he also includes his office number, blah, blah, blah, and his message ends up being fairly long. That’s not even that bad.

Here’s the part that REALLY annoys me.

Once I’ve sat through and listened to his message, I hear another automated message from the Verizon system that says, “If you’d like to leave a message, please wait for the tone. When you have finished recording, press zero to disconnect or press one for more options. To leave a callback number, press two.” By the time I’m done listening, the call has already lasted a good minute and a half and all I want to say is, "Hey Don, what are our dinner plans for tonight?"

Now, I ask you: is it really necessary for the system to make you listen to two outgoing messages? I think we’ve all left enough messages in our day that we know what to do. If I want to disconnect, can’t I just hang up? Why do I have to press zero? And why would I want to leave a callback number when everyone I know has caller ID?

Like Ann-Marie, I have little patience for having to deal with phone bots. When I have to go through a system menu I’m familiar with, I’ll hit the numbers I need before the recording finishes telling me which numbers to press. And so, to avoid having to deal with my husband’s voicemail, I’ve become pretty good at text messaging (SMS). (Except that I’ve been struggling to learn how my newest phone works with this.)

Perhaps I just have to remember which button to push to bypass his message to get straight to the recording (which happens to be inconveniently different for every carrier). Perhaps the cell phone system lets you turn off this automated message…I don’t know. But it just seems so unnecessary (and anti-DIFF) to me.

Moral of the story: If you know your voicemail system includes an automated message, please try to keep yours as short as humanly possible. None of us like our time to be wasted and I love efficiency. Don’t you?

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  1. I spend a lot of time on the phone and 1 or 0 seem to be the most popular bypass numbers. Out going phone messages are such a waste of time.

    Posted by: John Quinn | April 10, 2007
  2. John, I completely agree with you!

    Posted by: Amy Prior | April 10, 2007

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Sunday, March 18, 2018