You’ve Found Kate’s Voicemail–How Talented! Hooray!
I thought it was really weird to see commercials about websites on TV. Now, I find it weird to see commercials for phones and medicine on TV. On the same lines, you are now reading a post online about voicemail messages.
“You’ve reached Kate. Leave a message and I will return your call.” I find this extremely boring. If you’re given an unlimited amount of time to tell people that you are who you are and that they’ll get a chance to leave a message for you, why stick to what I hear on all voicemail messages, except my husband’s?
Come on, guys. Be creative. Be entertaining. Use the space you’ve got.
I’ve heard the argument that potential employers call and hear it and hang up because your message is unprofessional. If it’s not people who want to hire you, maybe it’s people who want to do business with you: bankers, lenders, medical professionals. I argue back: you can still make it clever and amusing without being vulgar or corny or extremely long.
I can’t help but add something to the end of the generic example:
“…I’ll return your call…eventually.”
“…as soon as I can wrangle the phone away from a toddler who thinks it’s a fascinating toy. Much better than the toy phone he has.”
“…Or don’t leave a message and I’ll probably return your call anyway because I don’t recognize your number. Or you’re in my address book and I have an idea as to why you called without listening to your message.”
None of these mention anything about alien abductions or cats or TV. They don’t have puns in them–because all puns are horrible unless they’re unintentional–but they do have personality. They make the ensuing message that is left have a smile in the voice. And maybe the person leaving it chuckles after they hang up. And then they think I’m cool. Or they think I’m silly, both of which are desirable adjectives. And true.
I’ve also heard arguments that people are just listening for the particular sound of your voice, not for what you’re saying. In acknowledgement of that argument, I’ll leave you with what is probably too long for a voicemail message. But it’s what I wish people would hear right before the robotic female’s voice, giving them more options.
“Toby and I are out and about. There’s no point in carrying my cell phone and a wriggly, action-oriented toddler at the same time; even if I hear you call, I’m talking to someone else in person or I’m on a bus.
“Have you ever listened to a phone conversation on a bus? You can hear every word. And as open and approachable as I am, I don’t feel like having a bus full of strangers hear only my end of what we’re talking about. So leave a message, and I’ll know what you called about when I get home. Or don’t leave a message, and I’ll see you have called and will probably call you back.
I would have seen your call only when I got home anyway; doing it this way eliminates the frantic scramble to find the phone before it stops ringing and the irritation of having my cell phone beep every few minutes. It beeps to tell me that you’ve called. Yeah, all of that is annoying. Don’t you need less annoyance in your life? Yeah, me too.”