Today’s pet peeve is something that has happened to me several times at work in the last couple weeks. I took a few days off, because I have lots of vacation time to use up, so why not? When I take off work, I update my email out of office assistant, but not my telephone message, which just has one of those programmed automated messages. So, people will call me and leave me a message that tends to go something like this. “Hi, this is So and So. Give me a call back. Thanks.” And that’s it. NO INFORMATION ABOUT THE PURPOSE OF THE CALL. This is a 3.5 out of 5 on the Drives Me Crazy Scale.
Now, this is what annoys me: WHY DID THEY CALL ME? And, is the phone call still relevant? I don’t know! IF I decide to call them back (and this happens less often these days), the phone call I have tends to fall into one of the following categories:1. Old news. I take time out of my day to call them back only to have them say “Oh, I needed to know something about something that happened yesterday. I asked somebody else and got my answer.” To which I want to reply “Thanks for wasting my time not just once, but twice. Stop calling me.”
2. Needs Work. They ask me a question that I can’t answer right away. Which means I have to end the call, look up the info and then call them back a SECOND time with the info. If they had just asked me the question on the voicemail, I could have looked it up and given them the answer on the phone, once again saving both of us some time and energy.
3. Stupid Question. They ask me some really ridiculous question that has nothing to do with my job, or that they really didn’t need a response to or that I could have answered in 3 seconds by email. And now I’m really upset because not only did I call them back, but that they feel that it’s ok to waste my time in this fashion.
This doesn’t just apply to work, either. If a person calls me on my personal phone and leaves me a “Hey, it’s So and So. Call me back!” message, they maybe have a 50/50 chance I actually will. It really depends on my mood, how much I currently like that person, if I think it could possibly be something important or interesting, etc. Usually, though, I figure that if the person needs to get in touch with me, they will call me back. And if they’re lucky, I will pick up.
What’s the moral of today’s pet peeve? If you are going to use antiquated devices like the telephone at work (instead of email!) and you get a voicemail, BE SPECIFIC. SPECIFIC BUT BRIEF. State your name, why you’re calling and WHAT YOU NEED FROM THE PERSON YOU’RE CALLING. “Hi, this is Serenity. I’m having a problem finding this report I need on our new software and I’m told you’re the person who can help me. When you get a moment, could you give me a call back or send me an email? Thanks so much.” BAM. DONE.
If you’re calling someone in a non-business capacity, give them a reason to call you back. “Hey Friend! It’s Serenity! Are you busy Friday night? A couple of us are talking about seeing that latest cool movie. Want to join us? Give me a call!”
Or, just stop with the annoying messages all together and send emails or texts like the rest of us. It’s the 21st century. Phones are no longer phones, they’re internets and keyboards and games and video screens that occasionally make annoying noises (yes, your ring tone IS annoying.)