Monday, July 29, 2013

Not so fun times with voice mails
One of the many perks of my job is that I get to spend a lot of time on the phone, calling people who have no interest in talking to me.
                Wait perk is not the right word. Oh well, it’ll come to me.
                Anyway, when your job involves making cold calls, it usually means you spend most of your time talking to receptionists and voice mails.
                I’ve got no beef with the receptionist crowd. They’re just trying to do their job: keep hooligans like me from bothering their boss, while I do mine: kinda sorta bother their boss.
                The voice mails are another story.
                Obviously the most annoying voice mail is the tried and true: “Hi! (needlessly long pause, just long enough for me to introduce myself before the rest of the message kicks in) You’ve reached so and so who works somewhere and so forth.”
                It’s 2013. It’s unforgivable people in America still kind this gag funny. If we moved past Dane Cook, can’t we leave this one behind, too?
                So that one takes the top spot, but sliding into second is a phenomenon that’s much lesser known, but still pretty initiating.

                It’s goes a little something like this: “Hi! You’ve reached so and so, it’s Monday, July 29, 2013, I’m in the office, but away from my desk …”
                Do we really need the date? Really?
                Let me get this straight. The first thing you do every morning when you get into the office, before you get a cup of coffee, before you flirt with the receptionist, before you tell your boss his tie looks smashing (lie), is record a brand new voice mail message.
                Every. Single. Day.
                I find this astonishing. When I’m not bothering other people’s bosses, I spend a good chunk of my time reading and writing articles on how to boost productivity.
                Well, my new number one tip is don’t record a new voice mail message every morning! If you do this, there is no reason you should ever say the phrase: “There just aren’t enough hours in the day.”
                No, there are plenty of hours in your day, you’d just rather fritter them away on nonsense.
                What does you telling me the day on your voice mail accomplish? Unless you’re telling me it's Monday and you’re on vacation. Then it makes sense. If you’re telling me it’s Monday because you wandered over to the vending machines, then I don’t care.
                And god forbid you miss a day or are – gasp – too busy to record a new one. What happens then? Pretend I’m a client or key business contact and not a pest. Well, obviously I call you, get your voice mail, assume you’re dead, fired or kidnapped. I freak out and take my business elsewhere.
                Worst case scenario and a slight over reaction, sure, but what if? People are panicky.
                Just stick with the basics, name, maybe job title and that’s about it. If I wanted to know what day it was, I’d look at a calendar, the internet, listen to a radio, check my phone or break out an astronomy chart and start mapping the heavens.
                But I wouldn’t call you. I’m sorry. It’s just too inexact of a science.
    After all, what if I got you on the phone? Then I’d have to make awkward conversations about business topics and pretend like I wasn’t just calling in the hopes of getting your voice mail to find out the day.
                Let’s just agree to keep our voice mail relationship simple, yeah? It’s for the best.

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