When your customers call your business and get an answering machine, the greeting will either invite them to become a customer or send them searching for another company. In many cases, your greeting may be the first interaction that prospective customers have with your company. In other situations, the answering machine greeting may soothe an irate customer or create more frustration. Basically, without a professional, carefully worded greeting, you will start to lose customers, and this could be an expensive mistake. You can avoid losing valuable business by creating a professional voicemail greeting.
One: Smile While Making Your Recording
You may find it interesting to learn that people can hear a smile in your voice without seeing your face. According to scientists in the U.K. from the University of Portsmouth, people are good at hearing a sincere smile. In fact, people are able to discern between a smile or a non-smile, and between different types of smiles. Most of the messages your customers receive come from the tone of voice used to create the greeting. Do what it takes to have a cheerful, sincere smile while recording your greeting.
Two: Practice Enunciating Your Words
This tip basically means to speak clearly. Of course, correct pronunciation is vital. You never want your customers trying to guess what you’re saying. The harder it is for your customers to understand your words, the less patience they’ll have with your actual message – even if you’re giving out really great information. So, the first step in speaking clearly is to pronounce all of your words with predictable sounds. The second step is to speak with distinct sounds, rather than mumbling or speaking too quickly. Avoid using colloquial pronunciations, such as “crick” for the word “creek.”
Three: Create a Personalized Message
The standard greeting offered by answering machines and services doesn’t leave positive impressions. People generally don’t like them. Instead, you need to introduce yourself by name, job title, and company: “Hi, this is Joe, owner of Green’s Lawn Service.” After this brief introduction, you’ll get to the meat of your greeting. With your smile in place and clearly pronounced words, you are halfway through an effective answering machine greeting.
Four: Keep Your Greeting Short
Your customers probably have a lot of personal and work responsibilities; the longer they spend on the phone listening to an answering machine, the more frustrated they will become. When you write out your greeting, spend time cutting out unnecessary words and instructions. This isn’t the time to list all the services you provide. It’s not the time to deliver an in-depth apology for the construction outside your business. Choose your most important messages for your voicemail greetings and stick to those.
Five: Choose Specific Information
During most business days, when you can return calls within the business day, it’s okay to say that you’re currently unavailable. However, if it’s your busy season and it’s going to take you a day or two to return calls or if you’re on vacation and you won’t be taking calls for a couple of weeks, include that specific information in your greeting. In some cases, it’s appropriate to leave alternate ways to get in touch with you.
Six: Practice Saying Your Message Before Recording It
It doesn’t hurt to write out your greeting. Putting your words down in writing allows you to get a different perspective. After the greeting is written out, practice saying the greeting with a smile, speak clearly and keep your tone of voice in mind.
Seven: Keep Your Customers in Mind
Throughout the entire process of putting together a voice greeting, focus on your customers. Your greeting should leave callers with the feeling that they are important to your business. After activating your greeting, make sure that you return calls in a timely manner. Don’t forget to listen to the messages left by callers. When you return calls, you can have solutions and answers to questions ready to go. This will save you and the customer time. If you have a ninja number, some of this work will already be done for you.
Finally, here are a few things to avoid: Don’t include a musical refrain or a gimmicky introduction. When people get on the phone, they are generally in a hurry to get back off. Avoid trying to make jokes and don’t leave “comic” greetings. Stick to your friendly, professional greeting. Keep it short and deliver pertinent information. Show your customers that you value them and their time.