Voicemail for Your Professional Image

Voicemail for Your Professional Image

In business, the purpose of voicemail is to provide a means of sharing information with your clients when you are not actually available to speak with them directly. It contributes to your professional image, no less so than having a proper business card, showing up on time, dressing appropriately, and doing what you say you will do. Yet voicemail does not seem to warrant the same attention for many business owners. Here are a few tips on how to make the most of this important tool.

Make sure people can leave a message. Frequently, I have waited through the voicemail message of someone I am calling, only to receive the recorded message that the voicemail box is full. How frustrating! What message does that send to the caller? Inefficiency? Lack of attention to detail? Concern over your customer service attitude? And consider that if your voicemail box is full, you may have just lost a potential client.

So keep your voicemail box clear. Pick up your messages frequently. And recognize that many voicemail packages for cell phones only provide space for three messages. So if you are receiving more than three calls in the time that you are away from the phone, consider upgrading your phone package. For example, with Rogers, you can increase your voicemail message capacity from three to 35, for an additional fee of less than five dollars per month.

Be clear in your message. State your name clearly, your company name if appropriate, and how you will respond to any messages that are left. The most effective voicemail messages I have heard are changed daily to reflect the date of the business day and the response that can be expected. Here’s an example – Thank you for calling. This is Jane Doe, Director of Operations with ACME Inc. Today is Tuesday, March 12 and I am in the office today. Your call is very important to me. Please leave a message and I will return your call either between noon and 1 pm or between 4 and 5 pm today. Make it a great day! It’s brief, yet filled with important information. The caller now knows what phone number is best to leave considering the anticipated time of the return call. And the caller knows that the person she is calling is actually at work that day. If she were to call on March 13 and received this same message, she would know that the person she is calling is not yet in the office for the day.

Slow down. You have written your script, practiced it aloud, and you like how it rolls off your tongue. When you are ready to record the message, slow it down a bit. Many of us are used to rhyming off our names, position titles, company names, and especially phone numbers, but people hearing them for the first time need a few seconds to let those items register.

Remember that voicemail is a communication tool and it’s your responsibility to ensure that the message can be understood by the caller.

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