Productivity Tips

Does Your Voicemail Make Callers Hang Up? Part 1

Written by Jay Shapiro for Gaebler Ventures

Many people don't like reaching a voicemail message and fail to leave messages in response. Here's how to make sure your voicemail message doesn't drive people away.

Voicemail has a bit of reputation as being one of the least liked forms of communication. However, it can be a valuable tool if used properly.

All forms of communicating have their place in the business worlds, and each has its own merits. Knowing how to create a voicemail message that does what you want it to is important.

The majority of people dislike being forced to listen to lengthy voicemail messages. Your clients and business contacts are probably this way too. An overly long voicemail message eats up too much of your contact's time and can cause frustration. Remember, they called in the hope of getting in touch with you, so they're probably already rolling their eyes when they hear the voicemail message kick in. Make it as painless as possible. Ramble on and your caller might hang up and call again when they can get you on the phone in person. Or, worse still, they will hang up and never call back again. In the latter case, you've lost them completely.

What you want from your voicemail message is to inspire your caller to leave you a message that cuts to the chase. In order to persuade them to do this, you need to cut to the chase too.

Don't overcomplicate things. Follow these guidelines and keep it simple.

1. Less is more - know when to shut up!

If the recording period shuts off before you have finished leaving your outgoing message then you are probably waffling on. Get straight to the point. Say who you are then tell the caller other ways they can get in touch with you. It is also important to include a 'fast track' option that lets the caller skip your message and go straight to the 'speak after the tone' stage. That allows him/her to save time which is always appreciated. Keep your tone approachable and your message short.

2. Say who you are:

This sounds really obvious but a fair few people omit to say who they are, assuming that the person calling will know. After all, they made the call. Maybe they do know who they called, but it's good to have it confirmed, that way they know they are through to the right person or department. Or in some cases, the wrong person or department.

Your message might run thus: "Hello. You've reached the voicemail of John Smith, managing director of John Smith Enterprises." As an intro that sort of message is fine, it gives enough detail about you and your position. Sometimes, though, a caller mightn't be looking for you at all, he could be looking to contact your P.A, your advertising department or your technical services. In that case it can be useful if you give menu options that help the caller contact the right person or department. It's not essential to include these options but it's worth considering if you often find you get calls that could be better dealt with by another person or department. For example, if you frequently get calls from people wanting your customer services team you could say, "If you have a customer services issue you can to speak to Jane on extension 321."

Jay Shapiro is a freelance writer based in the UK. Jay has a particular interest in the emotive aspects of the entrepreneur's character. "Alongside the nuts and bolts of business, the character of the person is often the ingredient responsible for success."

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