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12-23-07 - Bypassing Voicemail Greetings and prompts to leave your message and move on - a little holiday gift from

See Bypass Update of 12-14-11

I just got a new cell phone and new carrier, Verizon. As soon as I got my old Sprint phone number transferred to the new phone (which took days), I sat down to put on a personal greeting. I reviewed some favorites from my cellular history. "Hey, it's so good to hear from you. Unfortunately, I'm not here. What should we do about it?." I don't like saying "leave a message." That's obvious and just one option. I considered, "Chadwick here. Leave a message or not." I like 'em brief. Don't want to waste anyone's precious time. I like a little humor but long is not cool because most calls will be repeats who don't want to sit through a tedious message they've heard before, especially a repeat joke. But I do like to let them know they've got the right person. So I settled on, "Chadwick here. Your turn."

Then I tried to cut out all the unnecessary crap Verizon adds at the end of my message. I've discovered it's called the prompt. I took it all off on Sprint (which it seems is the only carrier that gives you that option) and got one part of Verizon's prompt off - the "to leave a callback number press..." - but couldn't figure out how to get rid of the rest of  it so I called Verizon's customer service and was told how to put it on rapid rather than standard prompt. But that still left "to leave a message..., to hear other options..., to send a fax..." Of course someone might want to leave a prompt on how to send a fax but it should be an option, not a requirement. So I called back to find out how to get all that stuff off and found it can't be removed.

I thought about what I do to get around friend's messages and go straight to the beep - star works with some and pound with others. Then I Googled something like "Verizon prompt message" thinking someone would inform how to eliminate that prompt and found this excellent brief article:

Cutting Through Voicemail Greetings by David Pogue in the New York Times with many comments posted.

I was on the right track. Now it was clear what to do. Just leave a message that tells the caller how to bypass it all. From the Pogue article:

Verizon: press *

Sprint: press 1

T-Mobile or Cingular: press #

One comment adds that * works on standard answering machines. I think maybe # might work on some as well.

Pogue recommends that we all begin our messages with how to go straight to voice mail and spread the word. This has long been a pet peeve of mine so I'm on board.

Now my phone message says something like, "To leave a message press star. That way you don't have to listen to any more of this greeting or to Verizon's mandatory and tedious prompt..." and I go on a bit not worrying about wasting the caller's time because they now know how to circumvent it all. I think I forgot to state my name but I'll get that in next time.

Gosh, I could leave inspirational messages now - or political or humorous - without feeling like I was forcing people to listen to them. This will be the first one.

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