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Sunday, October 28, 2012

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How Long Do I have to Wait to Leave a Message?

Every mobile phone user has left a message on a friend’s or loved one’s voicemail. Verizon, Sprint,
T-Mobile, and other major cell phone service providers include automated voicemail that takes messages even when your phone is turned off.

There are many conveniences to voicemail. If your friend’s phone is turned off or the battery has drained, you can still get in touch. You might have the opportunity to page your friend or, as the current trend has it, have a laundry list of options including listening to and re-recording the message. The latter could indeed take all afternoon.

In the first place, how long do you have to wait to leave a message? Think about it ― the waiting for the chance to talk, after thinking through your shtick. You take a breath, and are ready to go ― then there’s more chatter. Been there?

It all starts with the recorded voice, often starting with something like, “You’ve reached the voicemail of…” or “Your call has been forwarded to an automated voicemail system,” etc. The dialog goes on to say the person is not available, and you can leave a message for … here’s the part when your contact had the opportunity to input their name, during setup. Per the instructions, however, your friend left a greeting. “Hi, it’s me. I’m not available right now. Leave a message with your name and number, blah blah blah.”

Calling Is a Test of Patience
So now you know you’ve called the right person. The automated voice instructs you he or she not available, which has already been established. Perhaps your friend is checking the phone as this is all happening. After all, you know your buddy isn’t working long hours at an SEO company or financial firm.
The automatic voice, however, keeps on going. “To leave a message …” Yes, that’s exactly what you want to do. Why can’t you just do so, you ask? The ego-trip continues. “Please stay on the line, and wait for the tone.” It’s all sounding so good now. With an internal dialog ready to go, you take a deep breath and prepare yourself mentally to talk, only to exhale with a sigh.

Still Waiting…
“You can also leave a callback number or page the unavailable loser at this number …” You think it would all end here; after all, the intention was to leave a message in the first place. But wait, there’s more! “When you are finished …” Wait, does this mean I can start soon? “Please stay connected to hear some more options.” Life is full of choices, no doubt.

“To start recording your message, listen for the tone at the end of this recording. You can begin by stating your name, number, address, favorite meal, etc.” By now, it starts to sound like an opportunity to speak is nearing. “After the tone, start talking.” Ok, you’re ready; if you’re lucky, though, there will be a long pause between the end of the message and the actual beep. Maybe you won’t hear it, because of the false start. Ever been halfway through a message and ask yourself, “Was that the tone?”, and wonder whether or not your fabulous opening was recorded?

By then, you may have forgotten half the things you wanted to say, but you don’t dare listen to the damage. Half the day could be wasted refining your message on the automated mobile voicemail, and “listening to more options.”

The quotes here are meant to simulate a voicemail call, and are not intended to exactly replicate the script of any specific service.


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