People ignore calls all the time. And why not? If it’s important, the caller will leave a message, right? Ignoring the call when you’re busy or because you think it’s spam is just fine. But what if your voicemail pretends to be full? 

Recently, I was doing some testing for work and called my personal cell phone number from an internal office phone. I let it ring and pressed the “Decline” button on my cell. I was shocked when I heard, “The voicemail you have reached is full, and you are not able to leave a message. Goodbye.” 

I consistently delete voicemails from my inbox, so I knew it could not be full. I went and checked my voicemail and found roughly 10 messages, but that is definitely not “full.” Still, I deleted a few and then called myself again — it still reported full. 

I started to think about all the calls we have made as a company to try to let patients know they were past due or to set up a new payment plan to only reach a full mailbox. How many of those people thought there was plenty of room for a caller to leave a message? I always lived by the motto: If it is important, they will leave a message, but how many companies tried to call with a real need to speak to me, but no way to let me know? 

How to (Really) Delete Voicemails

I started to do some research and found that while I was “visually” deleting the voicemails, they were still stored on my phone and through my cell service. How can you fix it:

First, do a test call to your personal number! We often call patients and reach one of two automated messages: 

“The mailbox you have reached is full, and you are not able to leave a message,” or “The person you have called has a voicemailbox that has not been set up. Goodbye.”

If you find out your voicemail is full, you can do a couple of things to correct it. Start by dialing into your voicemail and pressing the “#” key. It will then tell you how many “saved voicemails” you currently have. In my case, I had 39! Go through the messages and either save or delete them. For me, it was pressing “7” to delete and “9” to save.

If you find that you have no voicemail set up at all, you will need to create some sort of greeting. On my phone, this works by pressing “4” and either recording a greeting or using your number to answer automatically.  

A few other items:

  • Horizon Health Fund will always call from the same number; ours does not change daily.
  • We will address you by name.
  • If you are uncertain about a call, ask for the company name and location to look them up on Google. 

What to Do If You’re a Company

Half of all mobile calls are expected to be spam robocalls by the end of 2019, according to one study. That means reaching your customers is harder than ever; after all, why would they bother to answer? If you’re trying to reach customers who don’t answer, here are a few things you can do: 

  • Let new customers know up front that you may call and give them the number from which to expect your calls. If this is your publicly listed number, it may even show up on CallerID, but you can also ask them to save you as a contact. 
  • Try to call using a publicly listed number. If I know my doctor’s office is calling, for example, I may answer. 
  • Confirm with customers that you have more than one number and email address at which to reach them. If you can’t reach them by phone, send emails. 
  • Do you have a physical address? If all else fails, there’s less snail mail in most people’s boxes these days, so that might actually work! 

If you have questions about calling to leave your customers voicemails, ask us how we can help. 

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