Voice Mail Bankruptcy – The Gauntlet Has Been Thrown

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I was doing some traveling last week, and when I got back to Twist Image HQ, I realized that there were over a dozen voice mails for me. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but I never check my office voice mail remotely. Then, while at home, I got three calls in a row from the same telemarketing company that was conducting a survey. It was at that point I begun questioning why I even have a home phone number. Anyone who knows me will either email or call me on my mobile.

Then, it struck me: declare voice mail bankruptcy.

In the past little while, there have been people who have declared email bankruptcy… so, why not voice mail bankruptcy?

If you call my office and I am not there, the message goes something like, "Thank you for calling, but I am declaring voice mail bankruptcy. If you would like to connect, please either email or call my mobile. I will not be checking the messages on my office voice mail regularly, and I can’t guarantee that I will return your call if you leave a message here."

I also made another executive decision: I’m not answering the phone at home. If needed, people know how to reach me. If email and mobile are not your thing, you can leave a comment on this Blog, instant message me, Skype, Facebook message, twtter… there are enough channels to grab my attention.

Shel Holtz over at the For Immediate Release Podcast has this famous saying: "new media don’t kill old media."

I have moments where I agree… and moments where I see new media (like MP3) definitely killing old media (like CDs). That being said, all of this has got me thinking that Marketers really do need to look at all of the communications channels and how they are changing. My appetite for voice mail and answering a phone with a Caller ID from someone I don’t know has drastically changed in the past twenty-four months.

Imagine what the next twenty-four months will bring.


  1. Mitch, to me the mobile phone is MORE intrusive than the office phone. I like the control of my office phone: I decide when to turn off the ringer, when to answer, when to screen calls. People can easily leave a voice mail, which I can retrieve from anywhere at any time at my convenience. With my mobile phone (if I were to turn it on LOL), people could reach me while I’m driving my car, eating lunch, talking to my kids. Ugg. Some of us don’t want to be THAT reachable! BTW, I hardly answer my home phone. I often let people leave a message. Cuts down on the telemarketing calls.

  2. Funny as I once (and still) consider this for home phone. I only get calls from people I don’t know trying to sell me crap I don’t want (if I want something, I will get it myself, thanks)
    However, I just got in Grand Central and will re-consider my decision based on what I can do with this tool. I just haven’t had any time to look into it.
    Ideally, a wifi/cell phone would work best for me.

  3. This is quite interesting. Although I agree with you somewhat, what would happen if a client called you while you were in a meeting? I’m sure telling them that “I am declaring voice mail bankruptcy” would not leave the best impression. Other than that, I think I might consider disconnecting my house phone 😛

  4. Mitch, I don’t see MP3s on a hard drive and CDs as all different media — although the medium through which they are delivered are the same. These are both storage devices for music. Radio and TV are completley different media — one audio, and one video, and TV didn’t kill radio. I also don’t agree that paper killed papyrus — they’re both media for transmitting the written word: Print is print. A subtle distinction, I know, but one to which I adhere.

  5. I don’t get telemarketing calls. Why not? I’m 100% mobile. Have been with Fido now for about 10 years of telemarketing-free bliss.
    My Fido number never makes it into a phone book unless I buy business listing space. Which I don’t. When’s the last time someone chose a PR firm from the Yellow Pages?
    I agree with Donna that mobility can be intrusive, which is why I turn my mobile phone off, like I would any other phone. The calls I get in my voicemail are personal or business related. I’ve yet to receive a cold call from a telemarketing firm.
    My concern would be to risk alienating an existing or prospective client by removing the possibility of making his life convenient through voice mail. I want to make his life .. and his experience with me .. easy and pleasant.
    * disclosure: I used to receive my corp comm paycheque from Microcell, Fido’s former master, so I have what some may consider to be an unhealthy attachment to the beast. But I don’t think I’m certifiable.

  6. It’s time someone looked into GrandCentral. You get to control where your phone rings and when, and you can even redirect calls between phones. You give people a single number and you can control where you can be reached. If you haven’t tried it, you really should.

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