Hello Create a Customer-Friendly Voice Mail Greeting
Who answers your business phone when you're not in the office? Most home-based business owners use an answering machine or voice messaging system. But it's not enough to just make sure the phone gets picked up when you're not there; the greeting your callers hear says more about you than just leave a message.
That announcement may be the first contact someone has with you, and if you don't sound professional, the caller may not leave a message or may not call back.
It's not necessary to sound like you're a major corporation, but it is important to sound like you're a serious, legitimate operation. Use these tips to create an effective voice mail greeting:
- Write a script. Don't try to record off the top of your head. Write a script that covers all the points you want to make in a concise format. Practice it so you can record without any awkward pauses or stumbles.
- Be friendly, but avoid being cute. Speak in a warm, friendly voice that lets your personality show through, but don't try to be cute or funny-it's not professional, and it could easily backfire.
- Avoid the obvious. It's not necessary to say things like I'm away from my desk or I'm out of the office-callers know that because you didn't answer the phone. Ditto with statements like Your call is important to me-callers know they're hearing a recording that you've made for everyone, so don't waste their time with generic fluff.
- Change your message frequently. People with flexible schedules may even change their announcement daily so the information is always current and accurate.
- Let callers know when you'll be available. If you won't be able to return calls for several hours, or until the next day, say so in your announcement so people aren't left wondering when they'll hear from you.
- Tell callers how to skip the message. If your system has the feature that allows callers to bypass the greeting by pressing * or #, include that in your announcement.
- Include your fax number and website or e-mail address. Some callers may just want to send you a fax or an e-mail; if your greeting tells them how to do it, you won't need to call them back.
- Provide alternate contact information. If you carry a pager or a cell phone and don't mind taking calls while you're out of the office, include that number in your greeting. An alternative is a system that automatically pages you when someone leaves a message, so you can quickly decide how soon to return the call.
- Include seasonal messages. Between Thanksgiving and the end of the year, start your greeting with Happy holidays. For greetings that indicate you're closed for long weekends such as Memorial Day or Labor Day, end with a wish for a safe and happy holiday.
Here's a sample script:This is Joe Smith. To bypass this announcement and leave a message, press # and begin speaking at the tone. Please leave your name, telephone number, the best time to reach you, and a brief message, and I will return your call within three hours. If you need to send a fax, that number is 888-123-4567. Or please visit my website at www-dot-websitename-dot-com for more information or to send me an e-mail. Have a great day