Upgraded service is neither "upgrade" nor "service"
Is it just me, or do you expect an upgraded product to be better than the one that preceded it? That's what I expected when Verizon rolled out their upgraded Business Voicemail service here in Southern California. Boy, was I wrong.
I've been using Verizon (formerly GTE) voicemail products in my mainly offline business for about 14 years. I've been mostly pleased with their service, the only annoyance being that Verizon charges me by the minute to access my voicemail when I call in from a line other than my business line. But now they've figured out how to annoy me a lot more.
First off, I received a series of voicemail messages in both my personal and business mailboxes, telling me to be ready for the change-over and to watch for materials in the mail describing the new service. The updated Users' Guide never showed up (a call to Customer Service resulted in a copy being delivered the next day), so I was almost completely unprepared for the switch.
My first clue that something was amiss was the complete lack of incoming calls to my cellphone. Since I'm out of the office much of the day, making deliveries and performing service calls, I subscribe to a voicemail upgrade called Remote Call Notification. When my business voicemail receives a message, Verizon calls me and plays it for me.
Well, I wasn't getting those calls, so I called my voicemail to make sure there wasn't something wrong. That's when I heard the new greeting and found my password didn't work. Remembering the earlier messages, I used the last four digits of my phone number to sign in, then proceeded to set up my personal profile.
There I was stuck. I couldn't figure out how to set up Remote Call Notifcation, since there was no option for it. My call to Customer Service initially resulted in frustration, since the representative herself didn't have a copy of the updated Users' Guide, but between the two of us we figured out that the feature is now called Special Delivery. She quickly set up the feature for me so I could receive messages.
(Why this feature was disabled, I don't know, since the Attendant feature—which transfers the caller to another number—was still enabled. Oh, the Attendant feature is now called Personal Receptionist.)
But, hey, that was just a one-time annoyance. Several other things annoy me on a daily basis, and are mainly related to Special Delivery.
When Special Delivery notifies me, it seems that I have half as much time to grab my cellphone and answer the call. Whereas I previously had four or five rings to answer the phone, now there are two rings before it gives up. And give up it does: no longer will Special Delivery leave a voicemail message on my cellphone informing me of the attempted delivery. So, if I'm in a no-service area (easy to happen in my locale) when Special Delivery makes its attempt, I won't know of the message until the next message is left.
Also frustrating is Special Delivery's habit of leaving a second copy of the undelivered message in my mailbox, along with the note, "This message could not be delievered to (my cellphone number)." Why would I want to hear the message twice?
There are actually a couple of new features that are helpful, though not competely. First is Reminder Messages, which allows you to record a message and have it placed in your mailbox at a future date and time, either on a one-time or recurring basis. While this sounds like a great idea, you only are aware of the message when you check your messages, as the system does not ring your phone nor does Special Delivery notify you of the message. So, this won't work as a wakeup call.
Caller ID is a new feature that is extremely helpful to me. Many times my customers will leave me a message without a phone number; since I like getting back to them right away, this feature will help me do that without pulling out my Palm while driving (at best) or waiting to get back to the office (worse).
However, I don't need to hear Caller ID for every message. Right now, Caller ID is an all-or-nothing proposition: if it's enabled, you hear it for every message and can press a key to hear it again (although not while the message is playing) or, if it's disabled, it isn't announced—even by a keypress. I'd like to be able to have the feature disabled when messages are played, yet access the Caller ID for an individual message.
New otions during playback include the ability to play a message slower or faster and softer or louder, as well as pause playback. Skip (the '#' key) will now advance to the end of the message; use this to get to the options for Reply, Forward, and Time and Date Stamp/Caller ID. To actually skip the message, press '#' twice.
Finally, Saved Messages now play in reverse chronological order. This, too, is helpful to me, as I usually save a large number of messages and often want to hear the most recent.
I'm very disappointed with this upgrade. If I had to pay for the upgrade (and if I had a choice of upgrading), I'd probably sit this one out. Until Verizon fixes its shortcomings, though, I'll grouse about it every day.
Verizon Voice Messaging