Remember when the answering machine seemed like a modern miracle and voice mail was a vital office tool? These days, my answering machine at home is filled with robo-calls and I absolutely loathe checking my voice mail at work. I thought perhaps it was just me!

According to a survey by eVoice, only 33% of people listen to voice mail from business contacts and only 18% listen to voice mail from a phone number they don’t recognize. It seems most of us are ignoring or deleting.

When the red message light is lit on my phone, I often find myself procrastinating (“I’ll check that after I get off the air today!”) until one day I sheepishly check my messages only to find some of them going back days or even a week or more! I added a warning to my message that says something like, “I’m really bad at checking voice mail. For a faster reply, please email me!”

The biggest problem with voice mail is that the person on the other end usually wants something and/or they prattle on for so long, I zone out, lose interest, get interrupted or just hang up. Feeling this way makes me feel like a terrible person, which further makes me want to avoid the flashing red light.

But Ron Kinkade with j2Global/eVoice validates my feelings, saying people prefer email because they can skim to the important parts, refer back to the email if they need to and answer when its convenient.

If you are still one of those people who loves talking on the phone and leaving voice mails, consider scripting your message so it is concise. And if you don’t get an answer back, try email.

Of course, the young generation now entering the workforce finds email to be incredibly old-fashioned, so in a few years, this post may be as outdated as voice mail.

Thanks to Megan Lynch for bringing this study to my attention! It was both a relief and food for thought.

Debbie Monterrey


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