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Returning Phone CallsViews: 248
Jul 20, 2005 7:42 pm How do you format your outgoing voice-mail message?

Jennifer Lavender
I have read each post on returning calls with interest and although I'm not a phone person, hate being on the phone any longer than I have to. I do understand the importance of returning calls.

Of course, I've recently been on the other side of the coin - the one leaving messages - and became very frustrated very quickly when things were not handled in a manner that I would consider even slightly professional. In fact, if it weren't for the fact that our family is without insurance and I need Medicaid coverage for my daughter and my pregnancy, I would have given up on contacting these people all together.

Anyway, my question now is, what does your voice-mail message say? I know there were several things about the messages I was hearing on a regular basis that bothered me, so I'm curious about how you handle your message.

First, after the whole sorry I can't take your call, leave this info, blah, blah, blah portion of her message, my caseworker's message said, "I try to return all calls within 48 hours..." Now, is it customary to state how soon you will try to call them back? I found it nice to know that even if she was busy she would try to return my call within 2 days (I usually gave her 2 business days before calling back), but slightly annoying that it said she would only "try" to call back within that time, not guaranteeing a call at all, and I often found myself calling her every two days waiting for a call back.

Next came the phrase, "...but if I don't you can contact my supervisor at..." Now, this one phrase made me feel like she had no intent to actually calling me back. It almost felt like she was taunting me to go ahead and tell her supervisor about how she didn't return my calls. So, do you include an alternate phone number or method of contact? What methods would be considered appropriate?

Now, every time I would call my caseworker, I would immediately hang up and call the supervisor. Her message was much shorter and only asked to leave a message and she would call back within 24 hours if possible. That was slightly more encouraging than the "I will try but if I don't" message, but I still didn't get any calls back from her.

Fortunately, everything did get straightened out eventually. An application process, that once they had all the paperwork from me, should have only taken a few minutes to enter the information was spread out over about two months because these people couldn't return my phone call. Instead of calling me and talking to me, they would just pull up my case, see that Medicaid was active since my daughter was already covered, and completely ignore the fact that I was asking about the status of my own application. Then they would just decide that no action needed to be taken and not even call me to confirm that decision.

Anyway, sorry to ramble. I'm just really frustrated with the whole leaving a message thing recently and am wondering what I can do to make sure my outgoing message isn't going to say anything that is going to make people even more upset than they may already be if I don't immediately call back or decide it's not a high enough priority to call back at all.

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