Thursday, August 19, 2010

Paralegal Predicament: Why won't they listen to my voice mail?

Can you help with this 'predicament' submitted by Cindy Geib, ACP, Pa.C.P.?
Hi Vicki:

I have a question for you. Perhaps it's already been addressed before and if so, let me know how others are handling this problem. It seems to be getting worse by the day!

Here's my problem:
I leave detailed messages for our clients, explaining why I'm calling, what information I need or what the information is that I am providing - case update, etc. , and when the person can call me back if a call back is required. Short, sweet and to the point!

Then I get a call back usually within an hour sometimes almost immediately saying , "Hi, I saw your office called." They call back without listening to the voice mail message! I'll ask "Did you listen to my message?" and the answer is almost always "No" or they only listened to part of it!

Then I have to explain everything over again and bill them once again for my time. Often when I have left a question and then they do not have the answer and have to call back again with the answer.
Why have voice mail if you are not going to listen to your messages????? Any idea on how to get people to listen to our messages before they call back? Thanks!

Here's my response to Cindy's predicament:

This is certainly a problem and one I've experienced on more than one occasion.

People look at their Caller ID and return the call without bothering to listen to the message. Another thing that drives me crazy is that the Caller ID may display one number but that's not the number I told them to use in the message...they use it anyway. My favorite (not!) is the caller who simply says 'Someone from this number called me...'

I don't have a good solution...but I'm going to put this out in Paralegal Strategies this week under 'Paralegal Predicament' and see if we get any feedback. Thanks for writing!


While thinking about Cindy's predicament, I found this post at Law.Com Legal Blog Watch written by Bruce Canton: Why No One Under 30 Answers Your Voice Mail. He makes some valid points and from the comments following the post, it appears he's not alone.

Do you have any solutions for Cindy? Please leave your comments/solutions below. I'll have a follow up report in a future issue of Paralegal Strategies.


Zionsville Mommy said...

In my opinion, this stems from a wider lack of common consideration, but I am not in a position to educate every single inconsiderate person out there.

I believe that the only solution is to accept that people are going to not listen to their messages. My last boss rarely listened to his voicemails. He actually required that the receptionist ask the name of the person leaving a voice message. Boss usually ignored the recorded message and just called people back.

Unknown said...

Almost 90% of the time, I call someone back before I listen to voicemail. I hardly listen to my voicemail. On iPhones, there's an easy slide button that I can use to delete it. I use it all of the time.

I'd recommend letting your client know that you called, the time that you called, and when the client can return your call.

Why say any more?

Paralegal Mentor said...

Whenever I address issues of organization, I include the tip to leave a detailed voice mail message so the person you are calling can be prepared when he or she returns your call.

This should, in the long run, save time.

However, if you learn that the client absolutely won't listen to your voice mail, you are WASTING your time leaving a detailed message. And give up the idea that you are going to train the client to listen. It's not going to happen.

For this client, just leave a simple message to call you and include your telephone number. This will save you time in the end.