Unless you have a 24/7 hotline for your business, it pays to invest time, effort and money to make a professional voicemail message just in case you’re away – be it on a vacation or business meeting – or if you are in the middle of another call. Doing this is one of the most effective ways for you to create a good impression on your customers, even to those who were not able to talk to you, yet. Besides, this can help promote professional relationships, reducing the likelihood of callers getting frustrated with your inability to take their call.

If you’re now planning to create your own voicemail message or hire an expert to do it for you, it’s important to learn the basics of this task. As per the experts, entrepreneurs should see to it that their message has all the necessary elements of a good answering machine message.

Qualities of a Well-Designed Voicemail Message

To begin with, put yourself in your caller’s shoes. What would you like to hear if you don’t get the chance to talk directly to the person you’re calling? What information would you like to get out of the voicemail?  Remember, you should focus and anticipate the needs and concerns of the caller (who may have called due to queries or technical issues) to retain them and be in business for a long time.

Specifically, your auto-attendant prompt should have the following:

  1. Greeting – Keep it short, or the caller will get bored with your lengthy greeting. A simple “Hello!” would do well.
  2. Name – State your complete name clearly. For the callers, this can serve as a confirmation on whether they’re calling the right person or not.
  3. Company or department name – Include your company name, especially for prompts for callers outside the office.
  4. Your reason for being unable to attend to their call – Explain why you’re not there to receive or take their call, whether you’re in a business meeting or family vacation.
  5. A prompt for callers to leave a message– Make sure you invite callers to leave you a message. This will allow you to know, in advance what they’re calling you for by the time you return their call.
  6. Information on when callers should expect a response to their call –Inform them on when they can expect to hear back from you. This will reassure them, that you’ll get in touch and cater to their concerns once you’re available.
  7. Contact information for immediate assistance – Give useful information or directions should they need immediate assistance. Remember, being able to redirect callers to helpful people will mean a lot to them, especially during emergencies.

Making sure your voicemail has all these elements can greatly help you create a good impression to your callers, especially for business lines. Besides, doing this is also one of the business phone etiquettes you must follow to retain customers and maximize your time.

Types of Voicemail Greetings

Now that you know the elements of a good voicemail message, the next task to do is to determine what type of greeting you’re going to make to suit your needs. Specifically, the following are the top five basic types you can opt to have:

  1. General – As the default type, this can be used if you’re not setting up other types of greetings. And as this will be plugged in for both external and internal calls,be sure to keep it brief and informative. Avoid divulging too much unnecessary information. Before you begin recording, find a good example of a general voicemail greeting to keep you guided.
  2. External–This is meant for calls coming in from outside your company. When making this type, make sure to include your company name and contact information if you intend to return calls.
  3. Internal – Played for callers from other branches, office extensions or other departments, this type of greetings will not need to have your company name. Just make sure to inform the caller why your department or branch isn’t available at the moment.
  4. Busy –A greeting of this type is meant to inform callers that you’re in the office, but are still in a meeting or in the middle of another call.
  5. “Out of Office” or Temporary – This can be set if you’re planning to be out of the office for a definitive period of time. You can also set up an expiration date for this greeting so that you won’t have to remember to turn off this greeting by the time you return.

Choosing the right type is necessary to inform your callers whether you’ll be around in a just a matter of hours, minutes or for an extended period. Once you’ve figured out what type of voicemail greeting to have, you can apply the time-tested tips to improve its effectiveness to boost its appeal to the callers. Make sure that it doesn’t have a noisy background and see to it that the details are spoken clearly and concisely. You should also update your auto-attendant regularly, especially the contact details (e.g., website, email and emergency numbers).

When it comes to handling business calls, the power of voicemail greetings can’t really be underestimated, knowing this can help you get in touch with callers. By selecting the right type of greeting and integrating the essential voicemail elements in it, you’ll be able to handle your callers effectively.

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