Monday, March 24, 2008

Please leave a message, not your life story

Things have been a bit crazy in my department lately. We are only 8 people but we are 8 really busy people. Between the holidays, illness, personal issues, and business trips I don’t think all of us have been in the same office at the same time since January.

So as team lead I have been checking more than just my own voice mail for about two weeks solid. And after listening to message after message I have learned one thing: people don’t know how to leave a proper voice mail message.

I would have to say that a normal voice mail message should be about 10 seconds or less. You know, enough time to say your name, why you are calling, and your phone number. I would also have to say that the average time for the messages I have been checking lately are clocking in around a solid minute. I actually had one last week where the woman spoke for 2 minutes and 35 seconds. (Yeah, I clocked it. I was curious.)

Apparently people think they need to tell you every single detail of why they are calling:

Awesome and needed, but best when spoken clearly and not muttered so I have no idea who you are and thus won’t call you back.

Time of call
Don’t most VM programs tell you this? And why do I care if you called at 9am or 9pm? I’m going to call you back in the order your call was received anyway.

Why they called
Here is where things go horribly, horribly wrong. I don’t need to know the whole background of your life or why you are calling. A simple “I’m returning your call” or “We need to speak” or “I want a cheeseburger” would be great. If you go on for longer than 5 seconds you are talking too long!

These aren’t necessary if you wouldn’t talk so long! I know my memory might be less than stellar, but don’t recap you two minute message. If I missed something, there is a great feature where you can listen to messages again and again and again if need be.

Phone Number
Similar in importance to the name it should also be spoke clearly and not like you are seeing how many M&M’s you can fit into your mouth while talking on the phone. Seriously, last week a guy gave me 8 numbers for his cell phone. Eight? Really? If you don’t know your own number I feel pity for you. In my house that was the first thing I learned so if I was lost I could contact someone who cared.

Sign Off
So after telling me a story longer than the Chronicles of Narnia, Lord of the Rings, and the Harry Potter Saga strung together you have the cojones to say “Call me so we can discuss the details”. What else is there to discuss? You just told me everything! I have no reason to call you back except to demand the precious minutes back for my time you wasted with your long-winded message!

Luckily I think everyone is supposed to be back in the office tomorrow so I can stop checking their messages. Now if I could only get clients to fix their e-mails….

The Office Scribe

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