Having to call multiple utility companies, I never once spoke to a person first – my calls were answered with professional voicemail greetings. And I’m ok with that – if done well.
I was surprised, though, at how many of the professional voicemail greetings sounded cold, robotic and unoriginal. But it was music to my ears when a call was answered with a thoughtful, original and well-written professional voicemail greeting.
The experience got me to thinking about the differences between a professional voicemail greeting that makes me feel like a person and one that makes me feel like a ‘caller’.
Seven strategies came to mind. Employ these strategies and your professional voicemail greetings are more likely to make your customers feel like a person – not a caller.
The first thing your professional voicemail greeting must do is to acknowledge that your customer has dialed the right number. Give them the name of your company, thank them for calling and apologize that you can’t answer their call immediately.
By acknowledging the fact that you can’t take their call, you are more likely to diffuse any frustration they may feel.
Never use that cliché term, ‘Your call is very important to us.’ After hearing that phrase hundreds – if not thousands – of times, it sounds insincere. Use something fresh such as, ‘We’re glad you called and look forward to speaking with you soon.’ Make sure your voice talent speaks with a bright, conversational, upbeat tone.
It’s easy to go for the status quo. But be different. Inject some humor, if appropriate. Share an interesting quote or helpful information. The point here is to capture their attention with a fresh professional voicemail greeting.
Be sure to use words that connect with your customers. The best way to do this is to make sure the call is about them not you. Use the word ‘you’ rather than ‘we’. Address their needs not yours. Make your customers feel like you care about them and they are more likely to feel a connection and do what you ask.
If you’re long-winded, you might lose your customers. People are busy and often impatient. Serve your customers well by keeping your professional voicemail greetings brief and to the point.
If you can’t answer the call, leave detailed information on how your customers can get help. Direct them to your website and if appropriate, include a number for emergencies. Don’t leave them with a problem. Give them solutions.
Customers may be disappointed that they can’t speak to a human. Smooth that disappointment over by promising to return their call within a specific time frame. For example, say something like: ‘A member of our team will call you back within the hour’; or, ‘We will return your call before the end of the day.’ Specificity is more likely to motivate your customer to leave their number.
As technology does more and more of the heavy lifting in our business communications, it’s important to remember that business is about people – not machines. Professional voicemail greetings are a tool to help you connect with your customers and to serve them.
And the best way to do this is to treat them like a person – not a caller.