If you are accustomed to communicating with business contacts by email more often than over the phone, you might have lost touch with the art of voicemail. This is even though your business phone system might let you easily set up voicemail – as our own phone services let you.
However, by neglecting the voicemail function of your phone system, you could be missing out on a valuable opportunity to foster a professional image to people who attempt to reach you by phone.
Write a script for your voicemail greeting
Recording a voicemail greeting for potential customers and clients has very different implications to doing so for friends and relatives. For your loved ones, a simple “Sorry that I’m away, please leave a message after the beep” might suffice – but, for corporate contacts, it can look unprofessional.
For this reason, rather than record your greeting spontaneously, you should carefully craft your message in written form, tailoring it to encourage a positive first impression of your company.
Thank the caller for getting in touch
With what will you open your greeting? Keep in mind that your caller had many companies to choose from, but ultimately chose to phone yours. This is a big compliment for which you should show warmth and gratitude in your message, as Business 2 Community points out.
By welcoming the caller in this way, you can further convince them that they were right to phone your company. That can provide a solid start to your relationship with them.
Provide useful information about your company
If you have rang a company’s number only to be greeted with a short message simply saying, “please leave a message” or “please hold, you are now in the queue”, you are unlikely to feel particularly satisfied. A big reason why is that such messages come across as too standard and impersonal.
If you opt for such a generic greeting yourself, you would be throwing away the chance to include useful, company-specific details like your firm’s name, office hours and website address.
Offer alternative means of contact
You might have clients who could occasionally contact you in search of clarification on an urgent issue. If this is indeed the case, your voicemail greeting should include details with which clients can get in touch through alternative means; think an email address or colleague’s phone number.
While your day-to-day voicemail greeting doesn’t necessarily have to include these details, you could switch to the more tailored message if you will be away from the office for a particularly long time.
Make your greeting short and to-the-point
Once you have determined the essential details to put in your message, limit your focus to those and leave out superfluous extras that could risk the message seeming long-winded.
Making callers feel like they must wait until the end of an excessively lengthy message so that they definitely don’t miss something crucial could just add to their existing frustration. Therefore, don’t allow the greeting to go on for longer than 10 to 30 seconds.
Verbally extend a helping hand
Despite the wisdom here of adopting the mantra of “less is more”, you should still make the most of the word tally you do allow yourself. Remember that the caller has needs or problems that they want you to address. You should act on their wishes by directing them appropriately.
This can mean encouraging them to leave a message or asking them to stay on the line in the wait to be connected to an appropriate person. Our hosted service of VoIP for business use includes automatic time-based redirection, one of our many call-handling and virtual switchboard offerings.
However, you can’t realistically expect to have too much success in converting callers in this fashion if you don’t remind them of your genuine ability to help. This is where it can pay to consult research into the three biggest reasons why customers contact your firm. You can reap favourable responses from directly addressing these sore points.
Set up your voicemail and record your message
Once you have polished up your script, you are able to confidently put your words into a recording. Accessing your phone’s voicemail function is straightforward, as it is likely to entail just pressing and holding the ‘1’ button on the phone’s keypad, as The Sociable explains.
You can then be taken through several steps for recording and saving your greeting. You will receive voicemail as a standard feature when we provide you with VoIP for business use.