The answering machine is more than 35 years old, and voicemail’s been around over 25 years. Before I even dig in to the topic I’m writing about, I still get a kick out of messages that start with “Hi, I’m unable to get to the phone, but if you wait for the tone…” Are there really people out there on the other end thinking, “Wow, when did Bob get this magical system that answers the phone when he’s not around? That’s NEAT!” So maybe we can all “jump into the 80s” and tighten up our greetings a tad?
As many people know, most voicemail systems allow the caller to skip over the greeting and jump straight into leaving a message. If you know this, you probably also know that between the 4 major US carriers, there are three completely different voicemail systems. Furthermore, you probably don’t remember which of your friends are on which carrier (unless you only have 2 friends). So even if you do remember than the * key skips for Verizon customers, you get a little hesitant to push it since it goes into “enter PIN” mode for Cingular (er, AT&T?) and you aren’t quite sure if Jimbo is still IN your network or not.
So I’ve got my handy-dandy little system that actually works all the time, and it works like this:
- Step One:
Get a box.Push 1. If your friend is on Sprint (or possibly Verizon, but not always), this skips the greeting and you are done, skip to End. IF you hear a message that says “One is not a valid option” skip to Step Three below, otherwise continue to Step Two.
- Step Two: Push *. If your friend is on Verizon, you’ll hear the beep, and can leave your message. Skip ahead to the end now.
- Step Three: Push #. This works for both Cingular and T-Mobile subscribers, and you’re all set to go.
- End: Go ahead and leave that message (which, ideally speaking, really only says something like “Hi, it’s Freddy, I’ll be available for that meeting after 2pm, call me back” and not something like “Hello there Gregory, it’s Marjorie Simpson calling you back from the voicemail you left me earlier today. Regarding the meeting, I will be able to join at 2pm, but only for about 45 minutes and then I have to jump onto the call with the guy from Amazon, and that’s gonna go another hour or two, but then I’m freed up again. Also, I did want to let you know that I got your email regarding the shipping confusion, and let me explain to you in detail what I meant…“).
Hope this helps!
ps – By the way, one other little voicemail etiquette thought while I’m at it: if you are leaving your phone number for someone, leave it s-l-o-w-l-y! Assume that while you say the area code they are just fetching a pen. And these damn wrong number dialers. What the hell do we do about them?
I would just focus on #, move that up to number 1,
# works for NEXTEL, SPRINT, ATT and CINGULAR to jump past the greeting and move on to leaving a VM.
Singleing out Verizon, I think we have about 75% of the market covered, with just remembering #.
Tivoboy – the above method works 100% of the time, and doesn’t take all that much extra work to remember…
Sure it works, I’m just saying, if # works on every network but verizon, why wouldn’t the slogan to remember be
Actually, it could just be
#, *, there I have saved you a digit, since with JUST these two, one gets 80% of all cell carriers, with just remembering #, and the other ONE carrier, just remembering *.
🙂 i’m all about the efficiency!
Argh… the reason is because if you do ANY OTHER ordering, then 20 or 25% (your numbers) of the time you end up inside the “enter PIN” message, and then have to call back, which is MUCH LESS efficient than this.
You wanna step outside? 😉
It is probably closer to 25%, based on a record quarter for VZ,
nobody I know though.
I’m sticking with #
Haha suckers! As soon as voicemail picks up, I hang up. Works on every carrier, landline or mobile – stand alone models too. Now if I could only figure out how to disable it on my cell phone…
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Say what you want about the iPhone, but they did a great job with voice mail. Besides the voice mail downloading to your phone and all the features associated with that (look up “visual voicemail”), the outgoing message simply plays for the caller with no obnoxious instructions.
Please update this post. I got here with a Google search for
~skip OR ~bypass voicemail greeting at&t verizon sprint press 1
I have an AT&T business phone. If you call me and get the greeting, pressing ‘1’ prompts you to enter a password. I also emailed/commented at AlexKing.org’s 2006 post about the same topic.
Please consider updating at the top:
lets you lookup phone providers by number.
Other sites like fonefinder.net function, but if you’ve ported your number from one provider to another, they don’t get the update.
Given you are THE NUMBER ONE RESULT for my customized, FIND THE ANSWER query of
~skip OR ~bypass voicemail greeting at&t verizon sprint press 1,
…maybe you could update ‘Cingular’ to say AT&T.
And also update that dialing ‘1′ asks for a password (AT&T).
For Verizon, get to the password with a ‘#’
For GrandCentral (Level 3?), you can get to the password DURING THE RING portion with a ‘#’
Finally, for GrandCentral, bypass the Voicemail greeting with a ‘1′
Hey, nice post, and I hear what you are saying about methodology for skipping when YOU are the caller, but how about the other side of the coin? Here’s a suggestion: Start your VM with “Hi you’ve reached NAME, you can bypass this message at anytime by pressing [#,1,*,whatever]. I can’t take your call…”
We were told to do this @ a company I worked for, and man, what a difference! Also, those who call you most (and therefor have the highest chance of being ANNOYED by the wrong button) will begin to remember what yours is! Just a thought.
Sadly, I was actually searching for a way to turn off the completely USELESS automated lady on my AT&T voicemail who insists on telling EACH CALLER they can leave a message!!! No *&@#! get a clue! (Sorry for venting…happy voicemailing!)