I just called a friend of mine. He did not pick up and I needed to get some info to him so I left a message. As I was waiting to leave the message I was stuck by the sheer terribleness of his Voicemail Recording. It really got me thinking: why are so many of these things so bad? Everyone has at least one of these, some people have two and I know several that have three. You would think that there would be more standardization but people find so many different ways for these to be bad.
This was his: "Hi. You've reached John Smith. I can't get to the phone right now. Your call is very important to me so please leave a message. Thanks for the call and make it a great day!"
Here is what I was thinking (my thoughts in italics). "Hi. (not thinking anything) You've reached John Smith. (No actually I haven't...If I had reached you, we would be having a discussion) I can't make it to the phone right now. (Yeah...I kind of figured since I am listening to this inane message) Your call is very important to me. (Huh? What does this even mean? If it was so important, then why didn't you pick up the phone? Also, is my call very important or all calls that you receive? Am I supposed to feel special?) so please leave a message. (OK I will). Thanks for the call and make it a great day! (Again...what does this mean? Is this different from "Have a great day?" I suppose it means that I have the power to make the day great which is a nice concept but left me a bit confused).
Another friend has this gem; "You've reached the cell phone of John Smith. (OK, not a bad start) I can't take your call right now. (Still not too bad but getting a bit long and here is where it goes off the rails) Please leave a detailed message with the date, the time you called and your number and I will call you back. (Really? Who likes picking up long voicemail messages? Wouldn't you just prefer a "Hey its Dan, call me back."Also, why do you want the date and the time I called? Is your cell phone from 1998? Every service for the last 10 years gives the date and time of the call on both the message and the call logs of the phone. I find myself actually saying, "Uh Hi John...its uh Monday the um I guess its the 19th or no...its the 20th at about uh four thirty...um anyway uh just give me a call when you can...oh and uh my number is 555-555-5555.) How many messages must he get like this.
Sometimes people do not record a message so you get the computer voice repeating the number that you called. This is OK...clearly better than the two options above but with bluetooth and making calls while walking or driving, I find it reassuring to hear the name of the person I called. These days, the chances are that I do not remember people by number so it is nice to know you reached the right person. If people just record their name and leave the rest of the computer message then I can live with it...but those computers tend to ramble.
This brings me to the best voicemail outgoing recording that I have ever heard. It should be the standard that we all live up to. Here it is; "You've reached John. Leave a message." Perfect...It identifies the receiver of the call and tells you to leave a message. It is extremely short and yet gets the job done. You might say, "Well why stop at that? Why not just say, "Its John." and then beep. Well, I have thought about it and I do not think that callers are ready for this. Maybe one day, but I think current phone users would be too flustered if there was no prompt letting them know that the beep was coming. They might think that the connection is bad and call back.
If you are reading this, ask yourself how your recording stands up? Is it long or short? Does it waste time with inane or inaccurate statements? Remember this is a reflection of you and a long and windy message is a burden that your friends must bear.
Ah, voice messages. Those things you get when people call and you miss it... or what you get when you call someone. Before it used to be... well... almost a necessity. Then Caller ID came around and then the cell phone came. You'd think with the advent of the cell Ah, there's the problem with voice recordings right there! They take so much time. It's no wonder no one likes to leave them when you don't pick up and opt to send a simple text … more