Have you ever called someone's cell phone and tried to leave a message, only to be told that the mailbox was full? This happened to me the other day. I repeatedly tried to make an appointment with an eye specialist in Columbia, SC. Every time I called, I received a voicemail message. I was annoyed that I never got a real person on the line. Then, when I would try and leave a message, the machine would tell me that the voicemail box was full. I couldn't even leave a message. It was very frustrating. Here I was making an effort to give this person my business, only to be thwarted.
Though this behavior certainly isn't limited to doctors' offices, another woman I know was once told to call her clinic to get the results of an important medical test she'd undergone. Each time she called the voicemail picked up, with no space for a message. It was a week before she finally got through to an actual person, and of course every day was spent agonizing over whether or not her results were fine.
When your voicemail is full, it sends the message that you aren't available and don't necessarily want to be. Go away, it suggests, we are too busy to deal with you. Those who want to reach you then have to constantly call in hopes of tracking you down; the most minor matter suddenly becomes a desperate pursuit. Imagine if something truly important came up-how would anyone let you know?
It may be that you haven't cleaned out your voicemail because you've returned from vacation or are simply disorganized. If it's the former, and you don't intend to check your work number while you're away, change your outgoing message to alert callers of your absence. Give them the dates you will be gone, an alternate contact, and an email address they can use should your mailbox fill up. Before you go, delete any old messages to free up some space. Don't forget to update your message upon your return so that callers aren't left wondering if you're back or not.
If it's just a matter of being disorganized, make an effort to go through your mailbox as you would your email inbox. Weed out anything out of date or irrelevant, and note down the details for anything pressing so you can take action and clear up space.
Remember: You want to make it as effortless as possible for potential clients to reach out to you. Being accessible means having a responsive voicemail system!