Voicemail is the most high maintenance form of communication. It.is.a.lot.of work. You have to listen to the message. Then copy down or remember information from the message. Then you have to respond to the message. And, you have to call the person back because a text reply would be rude since they went through all the trouble to leave a voicemail.
It’s inconvenient. You can’t listen to a voicemail while you’re on another call. Or, if you’re in an area with no reception (which is most areas if you have AT&T). Yet, you CAN get texts and email while talking on the phone.
I also find the voicemail chime or blinking red light (for office phones) to be stressful. Maybe because I assume it’ll be a client calling to yell at me. Like Pavlov’s dog, I’ve been trained to think that voicemail equals something is really right or really wrong.
I used to never check voicemails. I ignored them and nothing bad ever happened and I never missed out on anything. That’s a policy I’ve had to revise since I’m now a business owner. So, I’ve implemented some tactics to try to make it more manageable. Like by using Google Voice which transcribes your voicemails so you don’t have to listen to them. The only problem is that Google Voice does a terrible job and sends a totally mangled transcript for messages left by callers with southern or Long Island accents — which appears to be about 50% of my callers.
This complaint about voicemail is not a complete blanket statement though. There are some occasions when voicemails are welcome. Here’s when it’s great to get a voicemail:
- For congratulations, birthday wishes and are you OK? I haven’t heard from you in a while messages
- The, you’re not responding to me any other way, so I’m going to use a voicemail message
- The I need you or I’m upset voicemail
- Voicemails from family members or loved ones who are over age 40. Have you noticed that the only people who still leave voicemails are over 40? That’s just a theory, but my preliminary observations prove me right. Count your voicemails and you’ll probably see it’s either that demographic or strangers.
I have a meeting with my accountant tomorrow morning. It’s at 9 AM. As if that isn’t annoying enough, his assistant called me first thing this morning and left a 58-second voicemail with instructions on where to meet him. I ignored it. At 5 p.m., she sent me an email with the information. I promptly replied and confirmed. Then I dragged the details right into iCal and moved on with my day.