Voice Mail…How can your business be different? Remember, perception is almost everything!
Why is it that we all get frustrated with voice mail? Here are a few things that come my mind immediately:
Dislike: The main greeting is often much too long and has too many options to remember. That is probably my number one complaint! Sometimes I find myself writing down the options because I’m afraid I will get to the 9th one and not remember which one is the best option for me and then I will have to listen to the entire message again.
Solution: Program your company voice mail with options that make sense and are easy to remember. My personal opinion is that more than four options are too many for the average caller. Don’t create an environment in which the caller is frustrated before they even leave a message.
Dislike: There is no way to get out of the voice mail and it becomes voice jail!
Solution: Always provide an option for the caller to speak with a person. I know, you probably have voice mail so you could eliminate that phone-answering person but sometimes people are really what the caller needs! If you don’t have someone that could process those calls in addition to what they currently do, you may want to consider outsourcing to an answering service. At Towne, that is all we do!
Dislike: You leave a message in voice mail and never receive a return call or it takes a few days to get a call back.
Solution: Always check your voice mail for messages and return the calls! Sounds simple, doesn’t it? That’s how we like it to work when we are the caller but, when we are the one receiving the messages, it is not quite that easy. There are always other things that we’d rather do or other things vying for our time. Remember, if you don’t return the call in a timely fashion, the caller will perceive that you don’t care. That makes it all the harder to solve their problem or capture their business.
Dislike: I leave a message and I have no idea what to expect. I feel like my message is in a black hole.
Solution: Each voice mail ‘collection box’ greeting should tell the caller what to expect. For example: ‘All calls are returned within 24 hours’.
Dislike: The person that I want to leave a message for has not updated their greeting so now I have no idea what is happening!
Solution: Update a ‘collection box’ voice mail daily. For example: ‘It’s Tuesday and I’ll be in and out of meetings all day but will check for messages frequently.’ This will help explain why you may not return the call as quickly as the caller would like.
Used properly, voice mail becomes a cost-effective tool to allow people to communicate with the person or department they need. Improperly managed, it becomes a funnel for callers that leads them away from your business.
- Voice mail, managed well, can be a valuable tool for your business.
- Remember what you hate about voice mail and don’t make your callers experience it!
- Voice mail can hurt or help your business. It’s up to you!