Brain Dead Phone Messages

//Brain Dead Phone Messages

Brain Dead Phone Messages

Have you ever tried calling yourself to see what happens?

No, this isn’t an existential meandering. It is a customer service rant.

I had to return phone calls to three people and here’s what I heard:

1. A fax beep. Please disconnect your fax machine from your phone line. Nothing is worse than hearing the shrill fax siren in your ear. Okay, maybe a paper cut is worse.

2. Dial the person’s extension. That might be fine IF the person actually left an extension number to dial. If you leave a phone message, leave your extension number. Otherwise you’ll hear the phone directory from hell.

3. “Please enter the person’s first name.” Have you ever had the greeting that lets you ask for the person by their first name? Sounds cool until you realize there are about 37 ways to spell Jennifer. And if your name is Rick, but people know you are Richard, they’ll never find you. Simple solution: leave your extension number or direct dial number. After all, you left a message for them to call you — why are you making it difficult do to so?

3. Long advertisements for your seminars. It is one thing to say your are an author or a speaker, or visit But don’t launch into a 3-minute ad for your seminar. I timed it.
If a reporter can’t get hold of you fast, they won’t try again. Same for your customers.

Dan Janal
Your Fearless PR LEADER
PR LEADS Expert Resource Network

By |2016-11-28T23:38:44+00:00March 22nd, 2006|PR LEADS General Advice|2 Comments

About the Author:

Dan Janal, author of "Write Your Book In A Flash!" helps leaders write books so they can get more clients and sell more products. My clients get terrific results from my coaching, developmental editing and ghostwriting. For info, go to


  1. john dipietro March 23, 2006 at 7:17 am - Reply

    Dan…Absolutely agree about voice mail messages. I suggest that people put a little life into their message. THAT CAN SET THEM APART. Not the normal, boring stuff like “I am either on the phone or away from my office” junk that you know is BS. How about this..” I either am on another call or have caller ID and dont want to speak to you” Just something that will make them remember your message!


  2. J. P. Feingold March 23, 2006 at 7:43 am - Reply

    As a writer, much of my work involves interviewing people by phone. Problems I’ve encountered lately include seeking people who were out of town for prolonged periods but whose direct line voicemail gave no indication of this. Sometimes this is the only number I have for the person and the company has no website, so I can’t find another number to try to reach a human being to ask when they’ll be in.

    Voicemails sometimes try to be helpful by including a cell or other alternate number where the person can be reached. Too often, the number is given only once and too quickly to write it down. This means calling back in hope of getting it the second time. If you can provide an alternate contact method, always give the number or e-mail address twice slowly.

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