Verizon Wireless Endless Voicemail Prompt

By | Saturday, September 03, 2011 17 comments

I've been a Verizon Wireless customer for many years. I like them a lot and don't understand why anyone (in the US) would use any other carrier. But, there is one thing that bugs the crap out of me - the so called "Robo-Gal" that insists on wasting the time of people that want to leave me a voice message.

My outgoing voice mail message is quick, concise, and to the point (concision is a virtue.) "Hi, you've reached Andrew. Please leave a message at the tone." It takes about 3 seconds, at which point the caller should hear "beep!" Unfortunately, they don't - they hear Robo-Gal (should be "Robo-Gall".) She then tells the listener "At the tone, please record your message. When you've finished recording you may hang up, or, press 1 for more options. To send a fax, press pound. To leave a callback number, press five." Then, finally, the beep. Whew.

Robo-Gal's completely unnecessary message takes about 5 times as long as my greeting, and there is no option to turn her off. I say "unnecessary," because, really, I don't want you to send a fax to my cell phone. Who sends faxes anymore anyway?  I have a smart phone - send me an email!  Geesh.  "Leave a call-back number?" You mean take a giant leap back to the early 1990's when people had pagers? (Can you still buy a pager even if you want one?)  Press "1" for more options? What options? Sending your message with "high priority?" Don't bother - if I like you I will listen to your message regardless of its priority. If I don't like you, I wont. Nuff said.

Fortunately, I have discovered 2 tricks to make things better, and I pass them on to you now. [Thanks to Elko Wireless for pointing me in the right direction.]

Trick #1 - For people who call any Verizon Wireless customer, at any point in the outgoing message, either the "real" greeting, or Robo-Gal, you can just press "*" to skip to the beep. This works regardless of whether you are calling from a land line or a cell phone, and regardless of your carrier. (You can find a list of the "skip" keys for all carriers in the New York Time's article Cutting Through Voicemail Greetings.)

Trick #2 - For people who have Verizon Wireless service and want to decrease the amount of time Robo-Gal spends annoying their callers, you can turn off the options to accept faxes and "callback numbers." With these turned off, Robo-Gal wont include them in her message, thus cutting the time in half. If you call Verizon customer support, they wont tell you about this - I assume that the average Verizon support associate doesn't even know about it. The steps are buried deep in the Verizon voicemail options. I am including the option numbers here, though I have no doubt Verizon changes this stuff with some frequency. Your mileage may vary.

  • Call your voice mail and log in
  • You can listen to any messages you may have, or not. Up to you.
  • Press 4 to change your "personal options"
  • Press 2 to change "administrative options"
  • Turn off the option of receiving faxes:
    • Press 3 to "establish or change" fax options
    • Press 3 to turn fax options on or off
    • Press 1 to turn the fax option on or off
    • Press 2 to turn faxes off (geesh!)
    • Press * to exit
  • Next, turn "callback numbers" off:
    • Press 1 to "change general options"
    • Press 7 to turn the callback number feature or prompt off
    • Press 1 to turn the feature on or off
    • Press 1 to turn the feature off
    • Press 2 to actually turn the feature off
    • Press * repeatedly to exit.
After all that rigmarole, the fax and callback features will be disabled and you're callers wont have to wait through that part of the message. Whew.

PS: I recommend calling Verizon and asking them to change it so that Robo-Gal is an option. Maybe if they hear it from enough people they'll do something about it (like The New York Times wasn't enough.)

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  1. Awesome - thank you so much!

  2. Thank you! Up til now, the best answer I've found was to instruct callers to press * to skip the rigamroll. Really, thanks!

  3. Thank you very much. I was going crazy with this waiting but never crossed my mind it will help the telephone company (so innocent!)

  4. Excellent. I've been trying to get my wife to call Verizon and ask a real person to turn these silly things off but finally decided to do a search on Google. Followed your instructions and it worked like a charm. I HATED listening to those stupid prompts every time I wanted to leave her a message. :)

  5. Hmm. As of 10/30/13, the only change I can make under administrative options is to "enable rapid greeting," which eliminates the fax option but leaves the rest in place. God, I hate US telecoms.

  6. Very good article, now if only Verizon could do away with having to enter a password to access the voice-mail inbox...

  7. My suspicion is that RoboGal counts as using up our minutes

  8. UM.... I accidentally figured out how to skip to the beep....

    I pressed 4 2 1 8 2 2..

    Good luck.. it is possible

    1. Well shoot... It says caller prompts.. But I can only find it on one voicemail

  9. Great tips!

    I will point out that if you work with a lot of people who aren't tech savvy, they leave voice mails, repeatedly, that say nothing but "call me back." I really want those people to just leave a callback number and then hangup. Where's THAT option. ;)

  10. This advice for shortening the Robo voice still works.
    I just used it on my phone.
    Thank You!

  11. How do I stop robo-infuriator from wasting so many of my minutes when checking my voicemail. It takes 'her' forever to say what number they called from, when they called and how long the message is. It drives me crazy! Upgraded vm - my flabby white ass they did! I'm so frustrated and just want to dump Verizon outright for their theft of my minutes. Grrrrrr.

    1. Agree! has anyone found a way to skip having to wait for Robo-Gal to tell you when the message was left, the number they are calling from, etc? It is a HUGE time waster!

  12. To get rid of your VM telling you extra info. that you don't find necessary do the following:
    - go to VM and enter password
    - press 4 - personal options
    - press 2 - admin. options
    - press 4 - message review options
    - press 3 - change envelope options - Here it will tell you your VM's current status: sender, date, time, type, and duration. Then it will give you the option to turn any of these off (or on).

    Hope this helps!


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