I’m all for technology, but if there’s one thing that irritates the
hell out of me, it’s voicemail.
I am told it was devised with the aim of ironing out message-taking
problems, but how could anyone possibly believe that leaving a message
with a computer chip would enhance their company’s image?
Last week, I was trying to gather info on car advertising and so rang
one agency. ’Morning,’ I said to the receptionist, ’can I speak to
someone on (let’s say Mercedes)?’. With a quick ’putting you through’,
followed by a beep, I was through to voicemail hell. ’Hi, it’s Bob. I’m
not able to take your call, please leave a message.’ Right. Deep
Lay out what you’re going to say, I mentally note, and make it
So I open my mouth and suddenly my body is taken over by some bumbling,
half-witted lunatic and I begin umming for Britain.
Afterwards, I remember that I’ve forgotten to leave my phone number, so
I have go through the whole process again.
Four hours later, and no returned phone call, I start cursing and call
once again. Bob’s robotic message hasn’t changed. Despairing, I go back
to reception and request the assistance of someone else on the
Alas, no. I am passed through, yet again, to a voicemail. I go back
through to reception - again - and explain my predicament. ’Let me have
a look. Oh, yeah. Bob’s on holiday till next Tuesday and Betty (the
other ’helpful’ person) is on a course today.’
It would take these people two minutes to change the message and save
callers much frustration.
Next time I have an account to hand out, I’ll give it to the agency that
has a real live person answering the phone.
Send your rants to Diary Editor, Campaign, 174 Hammersmith Road, London