I have recently discussed a few of the frustrations we all encounter with voice mail and also offered some suggestions for solutions. We all know that there are companies out there that mange every single communication within their voice mail system. If you have suspected that those systems are way beyond the financial reach of most small businesses, you would be correct. A sophisticated voice mail can cost upwards of tens of thousands of dollars; most people would rather spend that money elsewhere!
Here’s the trick: Rent ‘voice space’ from someone who has made the investment and use it as your own.
I will, of course, offer my own company as someone who would be able to partner with you to help you to master the voice mail dilemma you may be facing. Whether you use our voice mail or that of another company, here are some things you can do:
The voice mail can alert you when someone leaves a message:
This will allow you to retrieve messages and return calls in a timely fashion and never waste your time checking for messages when there are none.
The voice mail can email the recording of the message to you:
You can then listen to the message at your convenience without dialing in for the message at all.
The voice mail can transfer the call to you:
The voice mail will announce the call to you and you can accept or decline the call. If declined, the caller can record a message into voice mail.
The voice mail can ‘screen’ the call for you:
The voice mail can offer options to the caller that will determine the urgency of the call (according to your criteria). The routine message can be left in voice mail and the urgent call can be transferred or you can be notified of its existence. Either way you are able to provide a higher level of service to your clients.
The voice mail can act as an auto-attendant:
The voice mail will offer options for departments or people and then transfer the call accordingly…all done electronically.
The voice mail can effectively change your image:
Using a voice mail system to answer and offer appropriate options can make your company appear larger than it really is. A one-stop voice mail will not do it, but using voice mail space with ‘depth’ can alter a caller’s perception of who you are and what you are able to do for them.
Sometimes you just need a person!:
Being able to connect to a person inspires confidence in your company and your ability to provide what the caller needs. You may not want to be (or have the time to be) that person and you may not have the budget to hire an employee to do that job. Using a voice mail to answer, screen and (when necessary) direct your company’s calls to an operator at an answering service is a great way for you to provide a very high level of customer satisfaction at a fraction of the costs of either a large voice mail system or an employee.
Spend some time thinking about how you want to look to your callers and then take the action necessary to make that happen!