Have you ever listened to your voice mail message? Do you like how you sound? Have you listened to the words you are saying, or are you on auto-pilot saying the same thing you’ve been saying for years?
Most people are in the latter category. Most outgoing voice mail messages are a horrible representation of you and your professionalism. Before you even read further in this article, call your office line and listen to what you are saying and how it sounds.
[ctt template=”3″ link=”86cue” via=”yes” ]Most outgoing voice mail messages are a horrible representation of you and your professionalism.[/ctt]
The good news is that you can fix the impression you are sending easily by following the steps below:
• Stand up when you are recording your outgoing voice mail. Your voice sounds better when you are standing as you are getting a good flow of oxygen to your lungs.
• Stop moving. Don’t multitask when you are recording your outgoing voicemail, either. I don’t want you to sound like you are running on the treadmill because you are out of breath, and I don’t want you to sound distracted, which is exactly how you will sound if you are multitasking. Take 30 seconds and stay still and focused.
• Smile. I know that sounds trite but smile when you are recording your outgoing message. While I can’t see your smile, I certainly can hear it.
• Slow down. I know that you want to record your voice message and be done with it, but as someone listening to what you say, I can barely understand when you go too quickly. A good test to find out if you speak too quickly is to see if people get your name right. For example, if my voice mail says you’ve reached the personal voice mail of Rhonda Scharf, and someone leaves a message that says “Hi Wanda” or “Hi Brenda,” I know that is my fault. I’ve said my name much too quickly. I’ve been saying my name my entire life, so it is pretty easy to say it too fast. Slow it down, especially if you have a name that is harder to pronounce or less common. If your name is Bob or Sue, you probably won’t get people messing it up, but most of us can have our name destroyed if we speak too quickly. That is your clue that the speed of your outgoing voice mail is much too fast.
• Pay attention to your word choice. Do your words sound professional? Do you sound like you will return the call, or do you even care that they called you?
For instance, here is the typical outgoing voice mail:
Hi. You’ve reached the personal email of Rhonda Scharf at ON THE RIGHT TRACK Training & Consulting. I’m sorry I can’t come to the phone right now. I’m either on the other line or away from my desk at the moment but leave me your name and phone number, and I will call you right back.
If this is what your outgoing voice mail sounds like, you are giving your callers a bad impression, as this is an example of a poor outgoing message.
Let’s look at it more closely. You’re either on the other line or away from your desk? Duh. What are your other options? You’ve got call display, saw that it was me on the other line, and decided not to answer the phone?
You’ll call me back right away? What does that mean exactly? To some, that might mean that in the next five minutes, so they should wait right by the phone as you will call them right back. To you, it might mean you’ll call them back next Tuesday as that might be the first chance you get to breathe.
Tell people what to expect exactly. If you said you will return the call right away and call back two hours later, the person on the other end of the phone might interpret the two hours as terrible customer service when you interpreted it as amazing! Tell them you will return the call before the end of the working day or within 24 hours. You do need to tell them what to expect, or your reputation is at risk.
I also don’t think that you saying you are sorry is worth saying either. Are you really sorry you can’t answer the phone?
[ctt template=”3″ link=”W93uP” via=”yes” ]Are you really sorry you can’t answer the phone? Is your outgoing voice mail message hurting your reputation?[/ctt]
I am being very picky over a simple outgoing voice message, but I assume you want to be as professional as you are. It doesn’t take much effort to create a professional and effective voice mail.
Thank you for calling Rhonda Scharf at ON THE RIGHT TRACK. Today is Tuesday, August 24th, and I’m in the office until 5 pm today. I return all calls the same business day. Have a great day!
While you’re saying the last line, be sure to have a smile on your face, be sure to be standing, nor speaking too quickly.
How long did that take? Not too long and well worth the time to ensure your image is professional any time someone calls your voice mail.