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Bellatrix's avatar

What do you consider to be good phone message etiquette?

Asked by Bellatrix (21143 points ) April 6th, 2011

I am a pretty easy going person but some things really press my buttons. For instance, phone messages where the person says their name so fast (and it is a complicated name) that I can’t understand it. Then proceeds to leave a very long message and finishes by rabbiting off their phone number at 100 mph so I have to listen to the message three times to figure out the number.

What things really get up your nose when people leave you messages on your phone? What to you is ‘good phone etiquette’?

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27 Answers

Brian1946's avatar

I feel the same way about the way some people leave phone numbers.

When I leave a phone number, I use the following method: Area code <pause> prefix <pause> 12 <pause> 12.

I usually use about 1 second to deliver each segment.

I think some people might rush their deliveries, because they think that they have a short time limit in which to leave their message.

weeveeship's avatar

My name
Why I am calling (e.g. I am calling about the job opportunity at your organization)
Please give me a call at (123)456–7890

I then repeat my name and number in case they didn’t get it the first time. I usually get called back pretty quickly.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Yeah those who say things so fast or in a way you can’t make it out, those who do not leave a number as if they expect you to go back through your call log to find them, those who fire off a message every 15 minutes like you will get it any quicker than if they left just one, those who tag the message as “urgent” when it is really just urgent to them but not a real emergency, and last but not least those who spend the time telling you all what they wanted to call you for if the message don’t cut them off for too much time.

JLeslie's avatar

All the things listed above and when the caller could easily give a short message with the information I am waiting on, but instead makes me call him again for the answer. Assuming it is not confidential information of course.

SABOTEUR's avatar

The previous answers seem to cover it. After all, how hard can leaving a short, concise, clearly enunciated message be?

VERY hard, apparently, in this age where people think it’s cute to force people to listen to 3 minutes of their favorite mp3 BEFORE you can leave your OWN friggin’ messege!

Cruiser's avatar

If people are crying, asking for money or speaking on tongues…..I won’t bother returning the call and I delete the message immediately

Bellatrix's avatar

I really hate the speaking in tongues people… and they never know when to shut up.

Seelix's avatar

Yup, I’m with the others. Name, reason for calling, number, repeat name and number, thanks. Simple.

Some people get flustered when it comes to answering machines.

I remember my mom telling me about when we got our first answering machine when I was little. Apparently my gramps used to literally just leave his name and number: Gramps Jones, 555–555-1234.
A friend’s grandmother used to ask the machine to tell someone to call her. :)

marinelife's avatar

It bugs me if people don’t leave their number (forcing me to look it up).

bobbinhood's avatar

Two things really bother me:
1. When people leave a message that just says, “Please call me back,” instead of briefly stating what they need.
2. When people don’t include their phone number in the message. If my cell phone was off or out of range, I have no record of their number. Even if my caller id picked up the number, I can only use it if it’s the only number I don’t recognise.

JLeslie's avatar

As a side note, related, but not related, I hate when I call someone and their message is very long before the beep. It’s annoying.

Foolaholic's avatar

I don’t have that much experience with leaving messages for people I don’t know, so I can’t quite sympathize with you there. The one rule I do adhere to is remembering to state the time in my message, so that the recipient doesn’t have to go flipping through the call data to figure out how long ago they missed me.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I want to hear a simple message confirming the person’s name and their phone number said s-l-o-w-l-y. I don’t see the need for a music intro, jokes or a lengthy blah-blah about how my call is important to them and their sorry to have missed my call.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Speaking in tongues or some person who acts like they haven’t learned English in school and every 3rd syllable from their lips is MF, b****, s***, f***, or some combination thereof? I will go with the tongues.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

I must lead a boring life. I’ve never had anyone speak in tongues on my answering machine.

My pet peeve is when a pharmacy or home health agency leaves a message on my home answering machine about a patient. How the hell did they get my home number?

weeveeship's avatar

I’ve had my cell phone for a couple years now. Apparently, my cell phone number used to belong to someone who had bad debt. I occasionally get calls from debt collection agencies. It gets pretty annoying after a while.

seazen_'s avatar

If it’s someone I know, I don’t reach the service – everyone has caller ID and can see they missed my call. Here it’s considered poor form to make someone listen to a message simply saying they missed your call. Duh.

If I call a service or someone I do not know and get a machine – I am brief and to the point. Name and number, followed by why I am calling, ending with thanks, name, and number again – so the person doesn’t have to go back and listen again to write down the number.

SABOTEUR's avatar

What about calls you get from the message machine that asks you to “stand by for an important call”?

Then they place you on hold to wait for the “important call person”.

I hang up immediately.

Bellatrix's avatar

I have never had that @SABOTEUR. WTF… that would really get up my nose.

SABOTEUR's avatar

@Mz_Lizzy Oh yeah…it does get up one’s nose.

I’ve gotten a handful of those calls. Never hold on long enough to find out who’s calling.

I figure if the call was that important, they’d give me the courtesy of calling me personally instead of having an automated service do it for them.

Bellatrix's avatar

I think you are spot on there…. trouble is (and it would be my first thought) if you waited to give them a verbal serve, you would probably get some poor little telemarketer who is desperately trying to make a few dollars to live.

SABOTEUR's avatar

You know…I don’t really know how to respond to that.
Perhaps he should consider telemarketing for a more courteous company.

Bellatrix's avatar

Yes possibly, but I suppose if you need a job and that job is the only thing you can get… principles versus food on the table…

SABOTEUR's avatar

Agreed.

lillycoyote's avatar

I’m not sure if it’s an etiquette issue or a hearing-impaired issue or an intelligence issue but if you’re trying to call B&B Roofing, Inc. or your lawyer’s office or trying to cancel an appointment with you doctor and you get my voice mail, where the greeting clearly says: “Hi, this is Lillycoyote. I am unable to answer the phone right now but if you leave a message I will call you back” why do you leave your message on my phone? I can understand maybe if the greeting was one of those that just is just “You have reached 1–806-555–7896. Please leave a message” but I have identified myself in my greeting and I am clearly not B&B Roofing, Inc. or your attorney or your doctor so… why are you leaving a message on my phone? Sometimes, if the misdirected message seems important and there is a number I can call I will tell the person they have left their message with the wrong person but otherwise it’s kind of annoying. Why do people do people do this?

Bellatrix's avatar

I have no idea. I can only think they have paid for the call so they are damned well going to leave their message, even if it isn’t the person they need to speak to! :-D

My husband gets emails for a company with a similar name to his company. Their paperwork has his email address on it. He has received bills for them, confidential information from their bank, information about tenders they have gone for. All sorts of things. He feels he should make sure they reach the right people because he is a nice guy. He has forward the emails on with requests that they advise their customer of the correct address. Still the mail comes. He has sent emails to the customers to say, this is not the right address. Still the emails come. He has phoned the company politely, still getting emails. He has phoned them and gone right off at them, still getting their emails. Now he deletes their mail, regardless what it is.

As Jim said… People are strange @lillycoyote.

lillycoyote's avatar

@Bellatrix It sounds like your husband has already gone above and beyond what should be expected of even the nicest and most conscientious person in try to straighten this thing out and see that the other company gets it’s emails so what more can he do? They should care at least as much, if not more about where their confidential financial information ends up than he does, wouldn’t ‘ya think? If they don’t, that’s their problem, not his. He’s done enough.

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