No more instructions
by John Wilson
Please, for the love of all things time consuming, eliminate phone message instructions.
Is there anyone left on this Earth who can afford a telephone, or can afford to make a call from a payphone, that doesn’t know what an answering machine is, or how it works? They’re pretty simple tools, you talk into the phone, and at an undefined later time your (usually) intended audience receives it. Kids get this, the elderly get this, everyone knows how to do it.
Why do phone companies insist on walking us through it EVERY SINGLE TIME? My work Blackberry is covered through Verizon. They have the following message:
You call has been forwarded to automatic voicemail system. At the tone, please record your message, when you have finished recording you may hang up or press one for more options, to leave a call back number, press 5.
This message takes TWENTY-FOUR seconds. Seriously?
I looked around the Internet some to find the average number of messages left in the United States daily, but didn’t have much luck. But just for fun, lets make some conservative estimates:
- The average person makes ten calls a day
- Of those ten, two require a voice message (I hate when people are actually there and you want to leave a message)
- That is 30 minutes a month
- …which is six hours a year!
If you make phone calls regularly from age 15 to age 75, that’s 360 hours or 15 days listening to the same instructions over and over.
The answer: eliminate the instructions all together. The caller obviously needs to know that the machine picked up the call rather than the intended audience, so the message should say this, “Please leave a message (beep).” No one is pressing 1 for more options, no one is pressing 5 to leave a call back number.
This also makes the human message unnecessary. Please don’t tell me you’re not available, or that I need to leave my name, number and a short message. What if I have a long message? You probably have my number, and if you don’t, it’s common sense that I’d leave it, right?
Oh… and I should wait for the beep… thanks, I almost forgot. And while we are at it, please don’t tell me you’ll call me back at your “earliest convenience”, especially on a work related phone, not cool.