With all the technological advances of the last decade, answer machines and auto attendant-based answer services have transformed into modern voice mail systems that small-business owners and employees use to interact with clients.
You can use these small business voicemail greeting examples as models for what to do for your own business. They were created by professional recording artists.
|Medical Office, After-Hours Message|
|Medical Office, Out-Of-Office Message|
|Retail, Customer Service Department|
|Retail, Holiday Message|
|Automotive Dealership, After-Hours Message|
|Automotive Sales Department, Sales Staff Assisting Other Customers Message|
|Real Estate, Sales Staff Assisting Other Customers Message|
|Real Estate, Personal Voicemail Message|
Voicemail examples provided by Snap Recordings
Your voicemail message matters. Jackie Silver is a professional voice-over artist with 25 years of experience. On the subject of business voicemail, she says, “Voice is the first connection a client has to the business – make it count!” This is your first contact, so you want to make sure you get it right regardless of the type of answering service you use.
How exactly do you do create the kind of message that positively impacts your company image? Read on to find out.
Voicemail is often the first point of contact a new customer has with your business. In the case of a cold call, it may even be the first impression your business leaves a customer—and a bad first impression is almost impossible to overcome.
Surprisingly, many large businesses—giants such as Coca-Cola, for example—are dropping voicemail services.
This shift presents a unique and powerful opportunity for small businesses to stand out. A voicemail system is a highly personal way for your business to provide customer service, giving your clients a personal, human interaction and reducing potential roadblocks.
You should keep a couple fundamentals in mind when approaching voicemail messages. First, every single call should be treated as a lead—either a potential customer or someone who can lead you to one.
Second, approach the call from your customers’ perspective. If you were calling a business, how would you want the exchange to go? According to one survey, 30% of voice mail messages are not listened to for three days or longer.
When creating a voicemail script for your business, there are several points to consider.
First, think about your brand’s image and voice. You want the voicemail message to represent your brand well and put its best foot forward. Use language and a tone of voice that suits the image you want your brand to convey.
Second, consider your audience. Who’s likely to listen to your message when they reach your answering machine? While you want to convey a similar tone no matter who’s listening, there are differences in the way an administrative assistant and a CEO should be addressed. If you have a certain type of caller that reaches out consistently, you can tailor the language to target them.
Third, consider the general clientele your business deals with. Your industry and who your customers are can have a huge impact on your communication style and tone. For example, if you mostly deal with young, Silicon Valley startups, a more casual tone is probably ideal. If your clients are Wall Street executives, though, something more formal might be better.
When crafting your greeting, start with the basics. What information do you need from your callers?
If you need a telephone number, name, time of call, or any other information, ask for it in your voicemail greeting.
Whatever it is, be clear and concise. Get to the point as quickly as you can while maintaining a pleasant tone.
Jackie Silver added, “Using a warm, relatable person for a business voice over is preferable to the automaton-sounding, monotone voice that many businesses choose.”
This attention to detail saves everyone’s time and helps avoid confusion- roughly 80% of callers sent to voice mail don’t leave messages because they think they’ll never be heard.
Don’t forget to consider things from your customer’s perspective as well. What information do they need? They probably want to hear either your name or the business’s name to confirm they called the right telephone number. If you have an emergency contact or assistant that can field calls in your absence, that information can also be extremely helpful for callers.
Creating a good voicemail greeting isn’t difficult, but creating a great one can be tricky. You don’t want to waste time, and you want to maximize the caller’s experience and exposure to your brand—all in about fifteen seconds and without making them hang up.
Any of the following sample voicemail messages could make excellent greetings with just a little tweaking. Add a few personal touches using the tips above, and even include an on-hold message so your customers know exactly what’s going on when they call:
1. Hi, this is [name]. I can’t come to the phone right now. Your call is valued, so leave your name and number and I’ll get back to you as soon I can.
This greeting is short, to the point, and states clearly what information is needed to follow up. It also maintains a personable and professional tone with the mention of the caller’s importance.
2. Hi, this is [name]. I can’t get to the phone right now, but leave your name and number and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. If you need to speak with someone immediately, contact my assistant, [name] at [local or toll-free number].
This message is like the first one, but it adds an alternative contact if the caller has an emergency and can’t wait for a return call.
3. Thank you for calling. You have reached the office of [name], [position at company]. I am either speaking with another client or I am away from my desk. If this is an emergency, please call my answering service at [number]. Otherwise, please leave a detailed, confidential message after the tone, and I will return your call as soon as possible. Thank you.
This message is a bit longer, but it also provides a little more information. In addition to the name, it also lists the person’s job title in case the caller isn’t familiar with the specific contact. The offer to leave a confidential message assures the caller that only the intended recipient will hear the information. This makes it ideal for sensitive businesses, like a doctor’s office.
4. Thank you for calling [name] at [company]. I’m currently assisting another client, but if you’d like to remain on hold, press 1 on your phone keypad. I’ll answer your call shortly. If you’d like me to call you back, press 2 and please leave a message with your name, number, and other vital details, and I’ll return your call as soon as possible. You can also press 3 to return to the office main menu and speak with another company representative.
These different options let your customers choose to wait for a few minutes so you can answer their call during business hours. Or, they can simply leave a message and wait for you to call back or reach someone else at your business if they don’t have time to wait for you to finish your current call. You’d only want to use this voice mail greeting if you have a toll free number or multi-line phone for your office.
Just as there’s a right way to leave a voicemail greeting, there’s also a wrong way. Here are some examples so you know what to avoid in your outgoing message:
1. This is [name]. Leave a message.
This greeting provides almost no information. When will you call back? Do you need any information? If so, what? There are too many open questions for the caller. It’s also so brief it borders on rudeness. If your current voicemail message is along these lines, put yourself in your caller’s shoes. Would you like to be greeted like this?
2. We’re sorry, the office is closed. Please leave a message and we’ll get back to you.
Again, this greeting is overly brief and provides little useful information. What are the business hours? Is this a general line or is it specific to a certain company employee? How does the person calling even know it’s the right company if you’ve listed no identification in the message?
3. Hi, you’ve reached the desk of [name]. I am out of the office right now with [insert illness or ailment] and won’t be available for at least a week. You can reach me at [home or cell phone number] in the event of an emergency, or call my assistant, [name], at [number]. Again, I’m sorry I missed your call. Leave a message after the tone and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can or after I return from [illness or ailment].
This voicemail message lists too much information. The person calling doesn’t need to know the personal details of your life, including a potentially graphic medical ailment. It’s probably not a great idea to give callers your home phone number—it can destroy home-office boundaries. This message is also overly long and lacks organization and flow. It jumps around from thought to thought and gives the impression that the person recording it made it up on the spot rather than thinking it through.
Compare these bad greetings with the quality samples above. Note the differences in tone, professionalism, and clear flow of ideas as you craft an effective voice mail greeting. Also remember to craft this greeting without any background noise so your customers can hear you clearly.
Award winning voice professional, Spike Spencer, shared his thoughts, “We do not have time to mess around anymore. Your message needs to be short and to the point, or people will hang up. I recommend 10-20 seconds tops. You cannot SELL in a message. You just want to connect.”
These are simple templates that leave room for customization. The exact language used or the method of emergency contact can be changed—you don’t have to follow them to the letter. They should give you a great starting point, though.
Once you’ve decided on a template and recorded your message, the next step is to test it out.
You can set up the greeting and wait for some calls to come in, but you don’t have to.
Instead, ask for input from co-workers, peers, and friends. And when someone does call, ask them what they thought of your message when you call them back.
If callers frequently fail to provide the required information, adjust your message to ask for it more clearly. And listen to the feedback you asked for. This is a perfect opportunity to hear firsthand what callers think of your message. Make adjustments to get your greeting right.
It’s also a good idea to periodically check your voicemail message and make sure it still aligns with your business goals and clientele. You may also listen back after a few months and enhance your greeting so customers can leave a voicemail that aligns with any changes your business has undergone. For example, if someone has left the company, you could remove their name from the voicemail greeting.
With your voicemail greeting in place, the only thing left to do is check your mailbox, respond to your messages, and watch your business grow as a result.
Surveys indicate only 33% of respondents listen to voicemails left by business contacts—these people are leaving a lot of opportunity on the table, and you’d be surprised at the impact that simply staying on top of voicemail can have on your business.
Take time to listen to messages, call back if necessary, use your cell phone if you’re out of office, and take care of anything actionable mentioned in the messages rather than letting your mailbox fill up. This sort of attention to detail can go a long way toward building a good reputation and company image.
Voicemail services may be a dying tradition for big companies, but that just means your small business has even more opportunity to own the space. Consider your audience and brand voice, record a short and professional message that covers all the bases, and watch your reputation for responsiveness skyrocket.
If you need a powerful and flexible phone system that includes great voice mail and answer service features, take a look at the Frontier Business phone service. Frontier offers advanced, scalable phone solutions and a VoIP service for small-business owners that takes customer service seriously.
Did you find this guide helpful? Stay tuned for our next article on virtual auto attendants and how they benefit your phone service.
Recap the highlights for Small Business Voicemail Greetings:
Thank you to Snap Recordings, Jackie Silver, and Spike Spencer for their insightful and professional contributions. They can be reached below:
Jackie Silver, JackieSilverVoiceover@gmail.co
Spike Spencer, SpikeSpencer.com