Outgoing Messages

Josie Leavitt - March 22, 2011

Bookstore staffers spend a lot of time on the phone. Much of it is leaving messages for customers about a variety of things. When special orders come in all the customers get a phone call about their book’s arrival. I’d like to take a moment to give some pointers.
– We know you love your toddler, but really, they probably shouldn’t leave your message. At least twice a day I listen to messages where I can hear a parent in the background coaching the little one on what to say. While this can be cute, too often it’s hard to the child and these messages aren’t, shall we say, brief.
– Unless you can actually sing, please don’t sing your outgoing message. You know what? Even if you can sing, please don’t sing the message.
– Foreign languages should be avoided as well. I once had to endure a message where a kid counted, not to ten, but to twenty!, in French. Now really, why? What does counting having to do with leaving a message?
– Messages left in unison by husband and wife or the whole family seldom work. I do understand the urge to have members of the family feel like they’ve got a part in the household answering machine, but unless it’s clear, it’s just hard to hear everyone.
– One message that I love, and one I call again just because it makes me smile, is when a child gets a fit of the giggles. That kind of unbridled joy just makes my day.

3 thoughts on “Outgoing Messages

  1. phoebe

    We have a very good customer who special orders lots of books–hence we leave lots of messages. Her phone message is two full verses of “Who Let the Dogs Out”–complete with woofs…

  2. Whoa

    Who put a bee in your bonnet? It’s just a message, it’s not like you have to hear it all day. You can deal with annoyances for 30 seconds until the beep.

  3. Snuffy

    My favorite message was “Unlike God, we are not always here to answer your call” on an answering machine for a church.


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