You can leave me voicemail

My phone’s been doing something weird over the past few weeks: It’s been ringing and buzzing with incoming calls.

Missed callsAnd not just any calls, but those in which the callers don’t leave a voicemail when I don’t pick up. I don’t pick up because it’s December and calls from tech-heavy area codes–206 and 415, I’m looking at you–usually mean CES PR pitches that, by virtue of referencing something happening weeks from now, do not require my immediate attention.

I keep wondering if one of these calls will break with the pattern and leave me with a voicemail summary. Instead, I only get Android’s after-the-fact identification of the PR agency behind the number. What happened? Was the caller on the verge of leaving a brilliant little soliloquy before he or she had the iPhone stolen. Did an attack by a bear interrupt things? I can only wonder.

I whined about this on Twitter, and one PR rep responded that he didn’t want to annoy journalists by adding yet another voicemail to their queue. I get where he’s coming from. But here’s the thing: A voice call without any here’s-what-you-missed followup (could be voicemail, could be e-mail, could be a tweet) basically reads as “my message is so important that I will not say it unless you drop everything to hear it in real-time.”

And that’s not something I want to do when I have this many to-do-list items to finish before CES.

Look, I have visual voicemail through Google Voice; playing messages is not that painful, and GV’s automatic transcription often makes it amusing too. Besides which, at the moment I can’t seem to get anybody to leave me voicemail. So if you do, PR friends, you can tell your client how this one weird trick made your message stand out from everybody else’s.

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4 thoughts on “You can leave me voicemail

  1. I believe voicemail more often than not tends to be an annoyance and waste of time rather than a summary of what was missed or the intention of the call. It’s rare that anyone listens to the message anymore. I think texting or emailing someone the content of the message would have been is much quicker and tends to be more concise without all the rambling and small talk.

    A typical scenario goes:

    Person 1 calls
    Person 2 doesn’t answer
    Person 1 leaves message
    Person 2 calls back and says “hey, what’s up?”
    Person 1 says “didn’t you get my message?”
    Person 2 responds “no, I didn’t listen to it.”
    Person 1 says “oh… Well I was just calling for…”
    Conversation happens as it would’ve even if Person 2 had listened to the message and ends.

    This happens with such regularity that I have specifically requested Verizon disable my voicemail. It saves a bunch of awkwardness and wasted time for the person who would’ve left a message.

    • Here’s the thing: I have not only tweeted repeatedly that calling without leaving a message is rude, I’ve also just told the world that I don’t mind voicemail. So any PR pro who keeps calling without leaving a message is ignoring the most obvious hint I could give.

  2. My view is different than Pat’s. If you want a call back, leave a message. No message = no call back. I’m not wasting my time calling you back unless you tell me why I should talk to you.

  3. Pingback: Please stop asking for my “best number” | Rob Pegoraro

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