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voice-mail challenges
2

voice-mail challenges

voice-mail challenges

(OP)

I am at the point where I have lost all confidence in people when it comes to voice mail. When I leave a message for a almost anybody, I do NOT expect them to return the call. It does not matter who the person is or what the call is about.

I think it was actually easier to get people in the 1970's than it is now. People didn't have answering machines or voice mail at all. You simply called them until they got them. And, of course, people also answered their phones.

Most people don't answer their phones nowadays, and about 75% of people do not return phone calls promptly if at all.

I often simply just call people over and over instead of leaving voice mails. Voice mail has become a waste of time most of the time.

And with the advent of caller ID, there is another very annoying pet peeve to deal with. The very few that do call me back simply ignore my instructions on the message. If I leave a message saying to call 555-1234, I expect the recipient to call that number. I do not leave a phone number for kicks--I leave a phone number for a reason. In fact, the phone number is the first thing I leave in voice mail messages; and I leave it twice. If I wanted you to call me back at the number I am calling from, I would leave you that number.

I'm totally fed up with voice mail. I have a feeling I'm not the only one.
Replies continue below

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RE: voice-mail challenges

(OP)
One more thing, last October, I left someone a voice mail saying that my father had just died. I got no response. A couple weeks later, the person claimed that they never got the message. This says a great deal about the state of voice mail today.

RE: voice-mail challenges

Quote:


This says a great deal about the state of voice mail today.

I dunno... I have a voicemail system at home, and I always get my messages.

Cell phone voicemail bugs me though... sometimes, I'll get a message that I have a voicemail, and the phone never rang.  Go figure.

I have a NEC voicemail at home.... and it's great.  No complaints.

 

Just my 2¢

"What the captain doesn't realize is that we've secretly replaced his Dilithium Crystals with new Folger's Crystals."

--Greg  http://parallel.tzo.com
 

RE: voice-mail challenges

The only problems that I've had with voice mail are when the kids of someone that I've left a voice mail for have the # to retrieve the voice mail.  The kids are checking to see if their friends have phoned them and they (accidentally?) delete all other voice mails.  I've never had a problem with businesses not returning phone calls.

I do have to agree that caller ID can be a pain though.  Our office doesn't have individual phone numbers, just a general number.  Client's see that number on their caller ID, don't check the actual message, and phone back asking to speak to whomever called.  Ummm, right!  We have 20 people in the office and depending on what the call was about any one of them could have called them.

Quote (gbaughma):

...sometimes, I'll get a message that I have a voicemail, and the phone never rang.  Go figure.

That sounds like how the phone system in British Columbia, Canada works.  If you subscribe to voice mail through the phone company then anyone can leave a voice mail for you without having your phone ring.  I use it when I'm leaving a message for my sister (who keeps different hours from me).  When she picks up her phone to dial out the phone gives 3 beeps to let her know that there is a voice message for her.  Depending on the cell phone provider you can also do the same thing with cell phones.  It comes in handy when you know that someone is in a meeting and you don't want to disturb them.

Hope this helps.

Please help us help you.  Read Tek-Tips posting polices before posting.

RE: voice-mail challenges

(OP)

I have never had to deal with the problem of kids deleting voice mails. I can certainly see why it would be extremely annoying.

I'm going to start adding this to the message that I leave on people's voice mails, although that would make it too long.

"512-555-5555. This is Jim Smith. I have left you this number because I expect you to call me back at this phone number, 512-555-5555. Do not call me back at the number that is on your caller ID. I need to ask you about this....."
 

RE: voice-mail challenges

I rarely, if ever, leave voice mails for people at work. Our phones (Meridian) have a red light to indicate that there is a voicemail message, but some people just don't bother to play them back. You have to dial an extension, put in YOUR extension, and password, and so forth. Too many steps for some people, I guess.

My subterfuge is to send them an e-mail. As soon as I get the read receipt, I'll call them back. They are trapped. And if they don't pick up, I have been known to mosey on over to their cubicle to discuss the issue.

I only have to deal with personal voice mails from my wife, who does understand. We have no kids, so nothing gets accidentally deleted.

-- Francis
I'd like to change the world, but I can't find the source code.

RE: voice-mail challenges

Quote:

My subterfuge is to send them an e-mail. As soon as I get the read receipt, I'll call them back. They are trapped.

Now that I like!

"We can categorically state that we have not released man-eating badgers into the area" - Major Mike Shearer

RE: voice-mail challenges

The issue I have here is that I rarely get voicemails and when I do I try to listen to them but I've forgotten the password.  I call our voicemail representative to have my password reset but they never answer and never return the call.  I've been here 9 months and for the last 2 months my message light mocks me by blinking incessantly.  I've given up trying to get our voicemail person on the phone and they are never in their office.  I'm beginning to wonder if they're actually just a mystical creature that doesn't actually exist.

RE: voice-mail challenges

Ray, does your voicemail person have e-mail? Do they have a manager? Have your manager talk to their manager. A little prodding from avove usually gets results.

-- Francis
I'd like to change the world, but I can't find the source code.

RE: voice-mail challenges

I've sent e-mail and cc'd both my manager and their manager.  I've also sent a second e-mail to my manager and cc'd their's 2 weeks after the first e-mail letting thme know I've had no response.  What's gone on beyond that I don't know other than it is still not resolved.

RE: voice-mail challenges

My sympathies. All I can suggest is to keep pressing. I honestly can't imagine that the phone guy is that busy that he can't take 30 seconds out of his day to reset your password.

-- Francis
I'd like to change the world, but I can't find the source code.

RE: voice-mail challenges

I can't figure it out either.  I've done something that pissed him off (although I can't figure out what it could've been I've had no contact with him since I started here until this problem came up).  Or he's to busy golfing to do his job.  I've no clue but I will keep pressing.  I've discussed this with my boss and I'm going to start sending e-mails every friday until this is done and cc one-step up in the hierarchy(not sure if that's spelled right) every week until it get's to the CEO or resolved whichever comes first.  each e-mail will be a forwarded copy of the previous to they'll see the entire history.  Hopefully somewhere it'll get the attention of someone that'll do something.

RE: voice-mail challenges

Well, personal grudge or not, the guy is not doing his job. You may not be endearing yourself to him, but on the other hand, I doubt you two will be exchanging Christmas cards this year. Unless he happens to be golf buddies with the CEO or something, you have nothing to lose.

-- Francis
I'd like to change the world, but I can't find the source code.

RE: voice-mail challenges

If you don't want someone to call the number you called them on, can you not block your phone number? Where I am, you just dial *67 (if I recall) followed by the number of the person you are calling.  Your number will not appear on their caller ID - so either you will get what you expect - which is no call back - or they will only be able to contact you at the number you left in the VM.

RE: voice-mail challenges

Quote (ProbablyDown):

If you don't want someone to call the number you called them on, can you not block your phone number? Where I am, you just dial *67 (if I recall) followed by the number of the person you are calling.  Your number will not appear on their caller ID - so either you will get what you expect - which is no call back - or they will only be able to contact you at the number you left in the VM.

I don't think that is an option if you are dialing an internal extension. I've never used a PBX which allows that. That is strictly a telephone company feature.

-- Francis
I'd like to change the world, but I can't find the source code.

RE: voice-mail challenges

I think I'd be considering a walk down the the chap's desk; possibly with a tyre iron in hand.

"We can categorically state that we have not released man-eating badgers into the area" - Major Mike Shearer

RE: voice-mail challenges

Quote:

Cell phone voicemail bugs me though... sometimes, I'll get a message that I have a voicemail, and the phone never rang.  Go figure.
This most often happens to me when I'm not getting a cell signal when the call comes in.  They leave the voice mail, and when I return to getting a signal, my phone notifies me of the message.  However, the phone itself never saw the initial call.

RE: voice-mail challenges

Happens to me when I have signal.  I'll get the voicemail, call back and let them know I never heard the call and I've been in the same spot the whole time.  I'm sure it's a carrier issue.

Jeff
It's never too early to begin preparing for International Talk Like a Pirate Day
"The software I buy sucks,  The software I write sucks.  It's time to give up and have a beer..." - Me

RE: voice-mail challenges

(OP)
So, what do you do to get people to return your phone calls? Is there a way to leave a hypnotic message?
 

RE: voice-mail challenges

"Hi, this is HR calling about your 20% bonus.  Can you please call me back ASAP on 1234 5678 so I can process the payment, because it needs to be done by lunchtime if you are to remain eligible!"

Annihilannic.

RE: voice-mail challenges

Quote (hinesward):

So, what do you do to get people to return your phone calls? Is there a way to leave a hypnotic message?

Sometimes, you just have to abandon technology and rely on the good old low-tech face-to-face meeting.

-- Francis
I'd like to change the world, but I can't find the source code.

RE: voice-mail challenges

Well you can't control what other people do, but you can control how you present yourself to them. I almost never have trouble getting people to return my voice mails because I'm:
a. polite (Please and thank you go a long way)
b. friendly and interested in them as people (I'll ask how the wedding went or how the sick wife is doing)
c. I don't bother them unless it's important - I remember that answering my questions isn't the main thing they have to do. And I let them know the subject of why I called.
d. I make sure their bosses are informed when they do something helpful to me (this one goes a long way towards getting people to be helpful and talk to you)
e. I go out of my way to help other people, so when I need them to respond to me they are aware that I have helped them many times.
f. If someone ignores me and won't answer my calls, I move it up the food chain to someone who will. This is a last resort and only used for the very few people who are deliberately obstructive and who have a long history of ignoring me. I do not do this is I haven't gotten an answer in minutes but rather in days (especially when I know they are at work and I check to see if they are out before I escalate).
 

"NOTHING is more important in a database than integrity." ESquared
 

RE: voice-mail challenges

(OP)

I first noticed bad voice-mail/answering-machine etiquette as a teenager. I would call up baseball card vendors hoping to buy cards. This was back in the late 1980's, when there was no Internet.

I remember _Sports Collectors Digest_ actually published a letter to the editor complaining about it. It said something like: "I don't mind answering machines if they are used properly."

In summary, potential customers or even returning customers call up a business hoping to make a purchase. And businesses respond by disregarding the call.

And don't get me started on my apartment-hunting experiences. That's another area where I had low expectations.

If you aren't going to return calls, why did pay good money for advertisements in newspapers and magazines?
 

RE: voice-mail challenges

Quote (SQLSister):

a. polite (Please and thank you go a long way)

Indeed!   In retrospect, this:

Quote (hinesward):

"512-555-5555. This is Jim Smith. I have left you this number because I expect you to call me back at this phone number, 512-555-5555. Do not call me back at the number that is on your caller ID. I need to ask you about this....."

...is a little on the curt side!  Perhaps you were paraphrasing...?  For example, "Could you please..." rather than "I expect" would probably help.

Annihilannic.

RE: voice-mail challenges

Being in IT, I don't usually have problems getting my voicemail returned.

"Hi, it's Greg from the IT department.  I was hoping to catch you at your desk, so we could resolve your problem with [whatever].  I guess I'll have to wait until you call me."

hehe... works every time.
 

Just my 2¢

"What the captain doesn't realize is that we've secretly replaced his Dilithium Crystals with new Folger's Crystals."

--Greg  http://parallel.tzo.com
 

RE: voice-mail challenges

Quote:

So, what do you do to get people to return your phone calls? Is there a way to leave a hypnotic message?

Heh - Actually, there sorta is, generally referred to as "Neuro-Linguistic Programming".

More than that, though, I use the same general methods as SQLsister. Letting someone know why I'm calling (and what I'm hoping they'll call back with) is big with me - it annoys me no end when someone leaves a message just asking me to call them back with no indication of urgency level or what they're calling about, so I make sure not to do the same to anyone I'm calling.

RE: voice-mail challenges

SQLSister:

You know, you are wise beyond your years.  :)

 

Just my 2¢

"What the captain doesn't realize is that we've secretly replaced his Dilithium Crystals with new Folger's Crystals."

--Greg  http://parallel.tzo.com
 

RE: voice-mail challenges

(OP)
I agree that it is important to let people know why you are calling. I absolutely hate people who leave me cryptic messages: "Please call me as soon as possible, etc." If it really is that important, they should tell me why.

However, all these examples I've used fit that description. I guess I need to do a memory refresh:

"Hi, there, you advertised an apartment for rent. I may be interested in looking at it."

"Hi, there, your ad indicated that you are selling this baseball card. I am interested in buying some of those."

 

RE: voice-mail challenges

Greg, not sure I would say that because I do have a lot of years on me. I'm glad I'm smarter at some things in my 50s than I was in my 20s (But could have have my 20's body back please, I miss it).

"NOTHING is more important in a database than integrity." ESquared
 

RE: voice-mail challenges

Fee:

Yeah... it's like I'm always saying (especially about my children)  "If I had to do it all over again, I probably wouldn't."

lol

 

Just my 2¢

"What the captain doesn't realize is that we've secretly replaced his Dilithium Crystals with new Folger's Crystals."

--Greg  http://parallel.tzo.com
 

RE: voice-mail challenges

Quote (SQLSister):

But could have have my 20's body back please, I miss it

If you find yours and mine is with it could you send it back?  I miss mine too!

Leslie

Come join me at New Mexico Linux Fest!

RE: voice-mail challenges

Part of my job role is training people to use voicemail (I am a phone tech)

I always ask the question "How often should you change your greeting?" and I get a variety of answers (

Spoiler (best answer):


"as often as necessary"

I suggest that to get a good voicemail message left for you, you need to have a good voicemail greeting.  That is, you need to tell (or ask for) people the information that you need to respond to them.

Elements of a good voicemail greeting
  1. Tell the caller that they have reached a voicemail system
  2. Tell they caller who you are and who you work for
  3. Tell the caller what the day and date is.  This shows the caller know that you change your greeting daily - therefore you check your messages daily!
  4. Tell the caller why you can't take their call
  5. Tell the caller when they can expect you to respond

    Quote:


    I am out of the office this morning, but will return at 13:00 and will deal with my voicemails as soon as possible.
    Or

    Quote:


    I am on annual leave until xxx.  I'll deal with any messages on my return
  6. request that the caller leave you a message and tell them what you need for their message to be effective
  7. Tell the caller that by pressing 0 they can get to a colleague.  Most voicemail systems have this functionality - called break out. Ask your voicemail admin to set it up
So

My perfect message is

Quote (VM greeting this morning):


Hi You've the voicemail of Matt Knight at Nimrod telecom.  Today is Wednesday the twelfth of August.  I am currently in the office but am away from my desk or on the phone.

Please leave a short message detailing your name, contact number and reason for calling and I will call you back as soon as possible.  Aternatively, please dial 0 to speak to one of my colleagues

Quote (VM greeting this afternoon):


Hi You've the voicemail of Matt Knight at Nimrod telecom.  Today is Wednesday the twelfth of August.  I am out of the office for the rest of the day on a customer's site.

Please leave a short message detailing your name, contact number and reason for calling and I will call you back on my return tomorrow.  Alternatively, please dial 0 to speak to one of my colleagues

How many people use voicemail as a personal answerphone rather than an integrated communications system (i.e. if a message lands in your VM box that someone else could deal with better , do you forward it one, ignore it or email the details on?)
 

Take Care

Matt
I have always wished that my computer would be as easy to use as my telephone.
My wish has come true. I no longer know how to use my telephone.

RE: voice-mail challenges

My standard greeting is similar to Matt's except I feel telling someone they've reached voicemail is redundant - they should be able to infer that from the fact that they're listening to a recording. (I suppose this could depend on your calling audience however).

 

Jeff
It's never too early to begin preparing for International Talk Like a Pirate Day
"The software I buy sucks,  The software I write sucks.  It's time to give up and have a beer..." - Me

RE: voice-mail challenges

I hate voicemail.  Normally I leave a message like so:

"Hi, my name is <NAME>, my phone number is <NUMBER>, and I'm calling about <BREIF EXPLANATION>.  Please give me a call about this.  Again, my name is <NAME> and my number is <NUMBER>.  Thanks!"

But I rarely, if ever, update my outgoing message.  Usually I don't remember to change it before I go on vacation, but since 98% of my job is done either face to face or via email, I don't use the phones as much as I used to.

One of the other reasons why I hate changing my outgoing message was personified by one of my coworkers.  She was going on vacation and was distracted, so it took her a good 7 or 8 minutes to get an outgoing message recorded that she liked.  Unfortunately, she didn't listen to it before she set it to active and didn't realize that she had been hitting the "append message" key instead of the "re-record message key" on her phone each time that she started over.  So she wound up with an 8-minute long outgoing message that had every "take" of her message recording, including some choice language around her mistakes and a some gibberish.  While she was on vacation her phone number and message apparently made the rounds, because her phone rang nonstop for the entire week.  I could see calls coming in from area codes all over the country that I know were places that we didn't have business contacts.

I wanted to try to change the message (after recording a copy for posterity, of course) but she was the PBX/voicemail admin for our company so there was nobody who could reset her password, and she was on a cruise ship and unreachable via cell phone.

________________________________________
CompTIA A+, Network+, Server+, Security+
MCTS:Windows 7
MCTS:Hyper-V
MCTS:System Center Virtual Machine Manager
MCSE:Security 2003
MCITP:Enterprise Administrator  

RE: voice-mail challenges

But isn't there a chance changing your message every day might give the impression you haven't got a lot else to do...

RE: voice-mail challenges

I don't change my message every day; in fact, I have not changed it since the power last went out and I had to record a new one (that was over a year ago, for Hurricane Gustav).

However, our voicemail system (Meridian) allows for a "temporary greeting", where you can set the expiration month, day, and time. This is ideal for vacations and training trips. I can even set it remotely if I forget to do it from the office. I always do this in conjunction with setting my out-of-office replies in Outlook.

-- Francis
I'd like to change the world, but I can't find the source code.

RE: voice-mail challenges

>But isn't there a chance changing your message every day might give the impression you haven't got a lot else to do...

How long does it take to change a voicemail greeting?

Take Care

Matt
I have always wished that my computer would be as easy to use as my telephone.
My wish has come true. I no longer know how to use my telephone.

RE: voice-mail challenges

Quote (mattKnight):

I have always wished that my computer would be as easy to use as my telephone.
My wish has come true. I no longer know how to use my telephone.

You tell me!!  smile

Annihilannic.

RE: voice-mail challenges

Sadly, the quote isn't mine.  I believe it is originally attributed to Bjarne Stroustrup  

Take Care

Matt
I have always wished that my computer would be as easy to use as my telephone.
My wish has come true. I no longer know how to use my telephone.

RE: voice-mail challenges

I now know how to use my computer better than I know how to use my phone!

"NOTHING is more important in a database than integrity." ESquared
 

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