October 27, 2008

Readers Blow Their Stacks Over Voicemail Prompts

Greetings. You never know when a particular blog item will hit a nerve. In a recent piece I lambasted T-Mobile's idiotic and disruptive playing of paging prompts (and collecting call back numbers from callers) even when the called party has paging turned off -- a ridiculous behavior for any voicemail system.

Since then I've been contacted by several persons who spoke with T-Mobile themselves and like me were told (through various support levels), essentially: "That's just the way it is. Tough." I wonder how long T-M will be keeping their high "J. D. Power" consumer ranking with an attitude like that.

In any case, what I didn't expect was all the mail from people expressing their utter frustration with voicemail prompting in general. A whole bunch of folks had plenty to say about having to sit on the line listening to extensive verbiage when all they really wanted was to hear the damned beep, leave their message, and vamoose!

A common complaint was that the prompting spiel was often longer than the called party's actual outgoing message, and ended up pushing calls into additional cell phone minutes unnecessarily.

While it's true that there's often a way to bypass these sequences and go right to the beep (entering # often works), it's also the case that there is no real standardization on this, and entering # or * may also just drop you deeper into the bowels of some voicemail systems and waste even more of your time.

As I noted yesterday, at least AT&T Mobility allows you to configure your outgoing voicemail message so that it plays, there's an immediate beep, and that's the whole shebang. But this behavior is notable mainly for its rarity, when it really should be the default -- or at the very least always an optional -- operating procedure across the entire voicemail industry.

But man, a lot of people are seriously hot under the collar about long voicemail prompt sequences. Whew.

And to those of you who asked me to report back if and when T-Mobile fixes their paging prompt fiasco -- I will certainly do so if such a change is forthcoming. But you may not want to hold your breath waiting.

Finally, to readers who inquired if I myself now have a Google Android G1 phone ... the answer is affirmative. But more on that later.

You may leave your message after the tone. Press 5 to leave a numeric page. Press 3 if you're dissatisfied with the outgoing message of the party you called. Press 4 to hear option 3 again. Press the "pound" key three times in rapid succession to access additional functions and hear your recorded message after you've recorded your message after the beep. Ready for the beep tone? It's coming up soon. Almost time! OK, on your mark, set ... Sorry, voicemail box is full. Goodbye.


Posted by Lauren at October 27, 2008 05:11 PM | Permalink
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