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Is Your Voicemail Greeting Helping or Hurting?

When the phone rings and you are not available to answer the call, your voicemail greeting is your personal representative. Are you leaving a good impression and being helpful to those who are listening to your greeting?

Chances are, you're like most folks and are guilty of neglecting this brief yet utterly important aspect of your personal brand and client service. Here are some tips to help make your voicemail greeting more impactful and effective:

  1. Write and rehearse before you record. It can be surprisingly challenging for even the most polished executive to record a coherent voicemail greeting. Write out exactly what you want to say to help you avoid stumbling or saying "um" or "ahh" in the recording. Rehearsing will make you sound more confident, coherent and capable.

  2. Keep it brief. As soon as the caller hears your voicemail greeting, they are preparing to leave their message for you. Don't annoy them with an excessively long and detailed message telling them to do what they already know to do. Keep it short, around 10-15 seconds, but don't be terse or rush through your recording.

  3. Avoid negative words and phrases. Someone is trying to reach you and they may be disappointed that you are unavailable to take their call at their chosen time. Don't be a Debbie Downer by using negative words and phrases such as "I'm so sorry I missed your call but unfortunately I'm unavailable." This isn't the end of the world! Additionally, instead of saying, “I’m away and won’t be back until…,” try, “I’m away and will return on…”

  4. Record in a quiet space. Close your office door, turn the radio off, and speak into the phone instead of using the speaker phone function, which will capture more background noise. A landline phone will produce superior clarity over a message recorded on a cell phone.

  5. Smile before you dial! Callers will "feel" your warmth and upbeat demeanor when you smile throughout your recording. Before and while you record your script, just think of how happy new, happy clients will make you and that smile will shine through! People like doing business with others who project positive energy and warmth.

  6. Market yourself by providing more channels for connecting. A pleasant and effective voicemail greeting may only last a few seconds, but, if appropriate to your business, consider including other channels for the caller to reach you, such as your email address and company website url.

  7. Be human. In 2015 business is all about personal connections. Where reasonable, avoid using an automated robot recording service for your greeting, and use your own voice for the greeting on your direct line. Use this opportunity to create or foster your personal relationship with the caller.

Your voicemail greeting may be the first touchpoint a new client will have with you and your brand. Don't ruin your chances of making a positive first impression by sounding amateur, annoyed, and incoherent in your voicemail greeting. And by all means, be truthful in your greeting and get back to callers when you say you will.

Happy connecting!

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