In order to hear a phone message, I get the following four prompts; Every time.
Sounds like somebody could use an iPhone.
Here’s the issue as it relates to technical writers. How should you communicate with SMEs? Sometimes having an email exchange can be very inefficient. (but if the writer has time to ask lengthy questions and needs something authoritative, then it is good).
Telephoning saves time for both listener and interviewer, but it runs the risk of the interviewer not taking good notes or remembering what was said.
Sometimes SME’s prefer email exchanges over online chat or telephone, and usually I defer, but there are times when I feel a phone conversation would save time all around. That mainly happens when I’m in exploratory mode, trying to figure out what the need is and what concepts are involved.
Also, I’ll throw out the idea of recording telephone conversations so there is a permanent record to refer to. Skype calls in particular make this easy (there are free and low-cost plugins which make this possible).
I just finished an hour long telephone conversation with an SME. Valuable information, very complex, I took good notes. Three days later, I can understand about 50% of my notes. I really wish I had recorded it. (That said, it would have taken 3+ hours for the SME to write the answers down, and they still would have been incomplete).
Part of the challenge of technical communication is that information can often be lost even if the explainer and listener are highly skilled.