With communications easier now than ever before, it seems like we’re all getting sloppy. Consider the times that you’ve tried to reach someone and had to deal with voicemail, or those times when you received a rambling, incoherent message, or perhaps when your own intent in a voicemail was misunderstood. I’ve recently had several occasions where I tried to reach folks to give them a business referral, and had to wait a day or so until they called back! If these were isolated incidents, I would have written them off and found someone else. However, these are people I trust enough to refer to, and, unfortunately, they are representative of very common practices. Bear in mind that these are NOT large corporations, they are people that actually want the work! (Not to be confused with the likes of Central Hudson and other monopolies who seem to purposely make it hard to be a customer. If you need an example of frustration, try calling their customer service line, or just about any department of the New York State government!!).
If your business calls are routinely answered by voicemail, I would strongly suggest that you consider, at the very least, utilizing an answering service. It’s so much more reassuring to get a live voice when you call a business than an impersonal voicemail greeting. (You know: “Your call is important to us, so leave a message…” Heck, if it was that important, you would have answered it!!). Even using your cell phone to answer business calls, although not very professional or effective, is better than subjecting your existing and potential customers to a voicemail greeting. (Ever answer your cell phone on the Thruway at 70+ mph and try to schedule an appointment with a potential customer? It’s a scary practice).
Although we’re not an answering service, answering your phone is one of Daybreak’s basic services. You’ll train your Virtual Assistant and her team so that, when they answer your phone, they’ll be able to schedule your appointments, provide customer service, and be that friendly, pleasant face of your business. If you’re small, we’ll help you look bigger. If you are larger, we’ll help you to maintain a personal and responsive image to your customers. Give Valerie or me a call (877-369-0066) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like to explore the possibilities.
VALUE ADDED STUFF:
Here are some tips concerning how to use voicemail more professionally and effectively.*
(DISCLAIMER: Those of you who know me, know that I don’t always practice what I preach in this area):
1) BE EASY TO LISTEN TO: Be upbeat, relaxed and speak clearly. Make it easy for your listener to listen.
2) LESS IS BETTER: Keep it simple, quick & to the point. Be succinct.
3) TO ERR IS HUMAN, TO PREPARE IS DIVINE: Plan and organize your voicemail before you pick up the phone. A poorly organized message will annoy your listener and produce a poor reaction. State your reason for calling & your bottom line first, then give the details. Don’t forget to state your next steps so the recipient knows exactly what’s expected of them.
4) DON’T BE REDUNDENT, HE SAID REPEATEDLY….: Don’t ramble or repeat yourself. if you’ve properly organized your message, there’s no need to wander or say the same thing three times in three different ways.
5) HEY, ARE YOU STILL THERE? Don’t leave long pauses while gathering your thoughts. Don’t rustle papers or chew while talking. Do all thinking in advance. Be prepared.
6) THE LONG GOOD-BYE: Don’t linger or say additional information after you’ve said goodbye. Many people hang up as soon as they hear the words “good-bye” and they miss important information.
7) DEAR JOHN: Never leave bad or upsetting news by voicemail. Instead, leave a message to arrange a time to talk with the recipient in person.
8) YADDA, YADDA, YADDA…: Don’t leave long, complicated, boring or extremely detailed messages. Some communications are too complex for voicemail. Instead, introduce your topic and then make arrangements to talk live.
9) BECOME AN EXPERT: Learn to use your voicemail system & advanced features proficiently. This will allow you to be relaxed while recording a message and avoid the possibility of accidently sending incomplete or unsatisfactory messages.
10) THIS MESSAGE WILL SELF-DESTRUCT IN TEN SECONDS: Many voicemail systems will allow you to review and then re-record your message. Make good use of this feature whenever your message isn’t quite right.
Hmmm…. How did you do on this list? I actually follow 4 of the recommendations, so I guess I’d better get to work on the other 6.
Thanks for spending the time with us.
*Top Ten Value Voicemail Tips courtesy of PDI Medical Devices & Diagnostics – www.pdi-inc.com