Last week, our BLOG talked about effective “out-of-office replies” for your e-mail. One of our readers suggested we talk about voice mail greetings too. We thought that was a splendid idea; so here we go…
Think about those stale, static, useless voice mail greetings that sound like they are left by an inanimate object. They are everywhere and they sound like this:
“I can’t come to the phone right now, leave me a message at the beep.”
Wow, what a great personal/business image that projects! I can hardly wait to talk to this person! Voice mail greetings should help you and your callers get work done and build relationships. Your voice mail message is an extension of you. You all know what you like to hear as a caller so give that to your callers!
Here’s an acronym to help you make your voice mail greeting stand out from the rest, here is how to have the BEST.
B e Brief
E stablish who you are
S tay positive, personal and polite
T ell them what they should do now
If someone’s voice mail greeting is too long, what do you do? Right…get very annoyed or hang up. Don’t annoy your callers with long-winded messages that explain your life history and ambitions. If you keep having to re-do your message to get it in before the “out-of-time” beep, your message is too long. Shorten it to the necessary details.
- Who have they reached? Are you in or out?
- When will you return my call? HELP me!
Establish Who You Are
Ever wonder if you are leaving a message on the right phone? Telling callers you are not in does not let them know they have reached you. Here are two suggestions for opening lines:
“Hello, you have reached IWCC Training and the voice mail box for Tim Duffy.”
“Welcome to IWCC Training. You have reached Tim Duffy’s voice mail.”
If you have a particular job responsibility that people need to know in order to leave you an appropriate message, then tell them that too…
“Thank you for calling the accounting department at IWCC Training. You have reached the voice mail box of Sally Payable.”
Stay Positive, Personal and Polite
Some voice mail greetings make you feel depressed! Think of your voice mail greeting as an opportunity - never miss this opportunity to build relationships. Be positive about how people can reach you. Make it sound like you are glad they called you. With all the technology that we use to communicate today, remember to add some Personal Touch. And…your mother was right…be polite. A please and a thank you go a long way to establishing you as a human being. Here are two examples…
“Welcome from IWCC Training and Tim Duffy. Sorry I can’t take your call right now, but please leave me a message and I’ll look forward to getting back to you before the end of the day.”
“Thank you for calling. You’ve reached Tim Duffy, CEO of IWCC Training. I am in a meeting for most of the morning, but will be happy to return your call this afternoon. Please let me know what you are calling about and where I can reach you later today.”
To build relationships even more, try adding a pleasant personal goodbye…Thanks for calling…Have a great day or Enjoy your weekend.
And a final tip on tone…The words alone cannot convey the image. If you want callers to find you positive, inviting and personal, you have to sound it! Make sure your tone supports your message. Try smiling while you record your greeting and always play it back to hear how you sound.
Tell them what they should do now
Now what? The person you need isn’t there and it’s urgent! Wouldn’t the world be an easier place if voice mail greetings told you what you really need to know? Let your callers know what next course of action they have if you are unavailable. If people get your voice mail, they immediately wonder:
- Are you in today? Will you return my call?
- How long will you be gone? Can I reach you somewhere else?
- Can someone else help me? What do you want me to do now?
So, tell them! Here are three examples…
“Hello from Ima NotHere and IWCC Training. This voice mail message is for the week of September 26. I will be in the office on Monday, out of the office Tuesday through Thursday and back in the office on Friday. If you need immediate assistance, please leave a message on my cell phone at: (905)123-4567 and I will get back to you as quickly as I can.”
“Hello from Illa BeGone and IWCC Training. I will be out of the office for the week of September 26, returning on Monday, October 3. If you need assistance before I return, please call Will HelpYou at: 905-222-2222 and he will be happy to help you out. Thank you for calling and enjoy your week!”
“Thank you for calling Ima SomewhereElse at IWCC Training’s Accounting Department. Today is Thursday, September 29 and I will be out of the office all day and unable to return your call. If you are calling with your invoice number for payment, please do not leave a message. Please call Ally Assistant at: 905-111-1111 for immediate processing of your invoice. Ally will be happy to help you out. Have a great day!”
Call yourself right now and listen to your voice mail. Is it the BEST it can be? If not record a new one NOW!