A message on my answering machine this morning reminded me once again of the importance of leaving clear messages.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I could not return a call, simply because the person either mumbled, spoke so softly that I couldn’t hear what they said, or talked so fast that it was all a jumble.
Sometimes it’s the person’s name that doesn’t come through. Often it’s the phone number.
This morning it was both. Although she repeated the phone number twice, I still got it wrong. When I called, I reached a taxi service – and they hadn’t left me any messages.
Luckily, I hadn’t erased the message, so went back and listened again. The second time I decided that what sounded like 2133 must really be 2123. The second time I also thought I caught the name – Dodie.
On calling that number I learned that it wasn’t Dodie, it was Jodie. She wasn’t there, so I left a message.
While most phones today do record incoming numbers, mine only does so when it feels in the mood. Today it recorded Jodie’s number – but it was vastly different from the number she asked me to call.
I believe I’ve seen complaints about this here on Active Rain before – when an agent calls another agent from a home phone or office phone and asks for a return call on a cell phone.
The other problem with phone messages – unless the caller states the reason for the call, you’re left wondering whether you should return the call or not. It could be someone trying to sell you insurance on your refrigerator or a trip to the Bahamas.
The bottom line – if you want people to return your phone calls:
- Speak clearly! Mumbling just doesn’t work. So enunciate clearly.
- Speak up! You don’t have to shout, but use enough volume to be heard in a playback. Soft-spoken women are the worst offenders with this one.
Slow down! I’ve found the worst offenders in speaking way too fast are people with strong accents. It’s difficult enough to understand them, but when they speed it up I have to give up. I just can’t hear that fast. And it does sound a bit strange to return a call saying “I’m returning a call from this number, but I don’t know who called me or why they called.”
Everyone should slow way down when leaving a call back number. Take the time to enunciate each number separately and clearly, so they don’t get run together and make 2123 sound like 2133.
- State your purpose in calling. It’s the polite thing to do.
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