One of the side effects of heading up Laserfiche’s marketing is that I get a lot of sales calls. I don’t want to say this is a problem, because at times these calls are really helpful. But due to the sheer number of calls, there’s an impact on my productivity. I had always assumed that this was unavoidable.
We’re always looking for ways to be more efficient. The mindset of simply throwing more personnel at an ongoing problem rubs us the wrong way. Getting somebody else to screen my calls wasn’t an option.
Thanks to clever marketing, the Google Voice April Fool’s prank came to mind while going through my post-vacation voicemail this summer. Doesn’t Google Voice offer some sort of voicemail transcription? Wouldn’t it be far more efficient to simply just read my email to see which of these calls were relevant?
Motivated by the benefits of spending less time listening to unsolicited calls, I set up a phone number for a Google Voice account.
It was a little weird wrapping my head around the settings involved. I wanted my office calls forwarded to Google Voice. Google Voice wants to know what number to forward calls to. I was afraid of creating an infinite forwarding loop for any unfortunate callers if I told Google to forward my calls back to my office. Eventually, I figured out the settings to just get voicemail transcripts via email.
It was even more weird wrapping my head around the transcripts I’d then receive via email. Here’s an actual sample of a message: (names and numbers have been changed to protect the innocent)
Hey Tom. It’s John, Hi. It’s me bring culture company. Thanks again for reaching out to is good. And let me know if you’re available are Tuesday or Wednesday to connect. And also the Texas well. Seems like that. Maybe the most of the proficient with you. Get together but I can appreciate you cooking with her, so look forward to learning more about how we can support you. Thanks very much. I’m sorry. Tell my number is (800) 555-1212. Thanks.
Needless to say, I am not involved in any Texas wells or cooking projects. But the transcript let me know a) who was calling b) roughly what the call was concerning and c) if I should call back.
Overall, I’m glad I started using Google Voice to handle to my messages. Because I can quickly screen my messages and simply return relevant calls, in a few months I’ll be dealing with a net plus from a standpoint of time invested vs. time saved.
Right now though, I probably spend more time on each message than before, because of that part of my brain that loves solving puzzles. When I get a sufficiently surreal transcript, I feel compelled to listen to the audio to figure out why the transcription software made its interpretation. It reminds me of the old days, when I’d try to figure out why OCR mistakes might have occurred by comparing the images and the text files.
And, as another example of how technology changes our lives, I’ve recently started leaving the call forwarding on, even when I’m in my office. Since I won’t get interrupted by proactive sales people, I feel less leery of leaving my contact info when researching services and products. That’s what happens with productivity – it gets easier to take on more load. By listening to fewer calls aloud, I feel comfortable saying that more calls are allowed.
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