by Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor, Customer Service Training, Keynote Customer Service Speaker – Handling all 6 Touch Points of Communication

Perhaps 21,000+ voice mails are an exaggeration, but thinking you all ‘get the point.’ And yet most surveys, information, and stats show Emails are outdoing Voice Mails in usage.

Both channels have complaints and pet peeves about how folks use each of these communication tools. Voice mail pet peeves have been a hot topic on social.

Here are the BIG THREE. and what you can do to FIX them Thanks to: and

#1 Voice Mail Complaint: “The voice mail box you are calling is FULL”

With no further information.

2 MINUTE video: A few Voice Mail Pet Peeves of the PUBLIC

Would it not be better to just NOT have a voice mail box? T here was a time, and not too long ago, where there was NO VOICE MAIL. NONE. Some generations actually grew up WITHOUT voice mail. And we lived thru it.

If you don’t use it, like it, or whatever, then why have it?  Sadly, it speaks volumes when your voice mail box is full and you’re still a viable working individual. It is not a great impression.

If you don’t like voice mail & don’t want to listen to the messages, then THAT should be your message.

Something like: “Please DO NOT leave any voice mails here. None get answered. I prefer email or text.” DONE.

Or some other message you might prefer. But to leave a message that says ‘go ahead and leave your message & I will return your call as soon as possible’ and then not be able to leave a message, well, it just doesn’t make sense.

#2 Voice Mail Complaint: Leaving messages.

Semi-useless message: “Hi Bob; gimme a call.”

You took the time to make the call. Leave a valuable, viable message with your name, even though you’re good friends with the person, sometimes voices aren’t recognizable. It happens.

Repeat your phone number, with AREA code, if out of state, twice and slowly. Yes, I may know your phone number, but making it easier to call you back is the name of the game. Again, twice and slowly please. This is a big one!

Again, you took the time to pick up your phone and call, please leave some sort of coherent message, if even, “Hi Sue, need to talk with you about tickets for the game this Thursday.” Some HINT of why you called vs NO message at all.

Leaving STATED DEADLINES can help. “Please call back by Friday, January 10th.” With no urgency, you simply become a number to get back to. Maybe.

Also, in this category, talking too fast or talking too slow came up a lot. Both are irritants. And both can drive someone crazy.

#3 Voice Mail Complaint: YOUR message; the one callers hear.

Wow! This is a BIGGIE. Just as I suggest you call into your own office to hear how your customers get treated, I strongly suggest you call and audit your own voice mail message, the one the folks hear when they call you. And yet, I’m betting you haven’t heard your own message that callers hear in a long time, if ever. Just saying.

We have given a few VOICE MAIL violation warnings out on the message the callers hear. (With the best of intentions and only to my friends.) Some greetings are just plain horrible. Some are just OK, and few are GREAT.

You decide how you want to be perceived by your callers. It truly is your choice.


NO message should be recorded without smiling. Because, YES, it can be heard.

Is your message: too fast, too slow? A quick check to listen back to hear yourself can be an easy fix.

You don’t need the sequel to GWTW – A simple:

“Hi, this is Nancy. Glad you called. Go ahead & leave your message and I’ll return the call.” “NOTE : “I’ll return the call, as soon as possible” is NOT NECESSARY. Just make a statement of fact. “I will return your call.”

If you’ll be out of the office for an extended amount of time, say so. And leave a phone number or email to reach you. That’s a big complaint I hear. They don’t leave information on how else to reach them.

The GREETING on your VOICE MAIL is your personal handshake. Make it warm, friendly, fun. You’ll get more valuable messages.

How else can I help you on this topic? or any customer service, sales and communication issues.

Nancy Friedman

Nancy Friedman

Communication and customer service expert Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor, founder and chairman of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training, is back in the saddle again. Well, back into live onsite programs, and still offering her ZOOM programs, in a cost saving manner. Whichever you choose, onsite or Zoom, you’ll be glad you did. The reviews are excellent, and audiences have loudly applauded her in either area. Sales, customer service and communication skills are her area of expertise, and she welcomes calls, texts, or emails. You can reach her directly at; through the website at, where you can sign up for her newsletters; or call/text directly at 314-276-1012 central time. Bring it on. Whether you need a keynote speaker or workshop/breakout speaker on customer service and communication skills, you’ll make a great choice.