How to Create Voicemail Greetings for Your Business

how to create professional voicemail greetings business phone message

Nowadays, a business without good voicemail greetings is like a house without a front door. Yet, in spite of this, we often call a business with a question--only to get a mechanical-sounding message followed by static-infused muzak.

If this has happened to you--as it surely has--you think, "Why do I need this business? "Don't they have competitors?" "What kind of unprofessional voicemail greeting was that?"

And then you hang up, frustrated and angry. Unbeknownst to the business, they have lost a potential client.

Even if you weren't sure you were going to become their client, you are not likely to now. The business, no doubt in an effort to streamline, actually wound up hurting its reputation without even realizing it.

It seems traditional phone greetings have become a lost art. So, in this article, we will discuss the often unrecognized value of a professional voicemail greeting--a lone tree in a forest of convenience-enhancing technologies.

Voicemails Act Just Like a Great Receptionist 

Traditionally, when a great receptionist saw someone walk in the door, he immediately put aside whatever he was working on and gave the visitor a broad smile and a warm greeting.

Then he would find out how he could help. Maybe it would be answering a quick question or a request to see someone, either with or without an appointment. Then he escorted the person to the appropriate office or offered to make an appointment.

Being "consistently dependable" is one of the top qualities to look for and value in a receptionist.

So, why can't your phone greetings show this quality as well?

The Right Voicemail Greetings Make Quite a Difference

Who in your office has a pleasant and professional-sounding voice? A voice that exudes confidence and capability?

Approach that person immediately about being the "voice of the machine." No, don't ask for volunteers or choose someone based on seniority. Get the one with the voice! After all, it's about making a good impression for the business.

Develop a script for this person and have her or him make multiple recordings for practice. You don't want there to be any pauses, throat clearings, etc. on the recording.

You and a few others should listen to, reach consensus on, and approve those this employee considers her or his best.

Below are some very basic scripts, adapted from sample scripts on HubSpot. Use these if the message is for a personal office:

  • "Hello, this is [your name]. Thank you for your call. I'm away from my desk right now. Please leave your name, number, and a brief message and I'll get back to you as soon as possible."

  • "Hello, you've reached [your name]. I'm unable to come to the phone right now. But if you leave your name, number and a short message, I'll be sure to call back either later today or tomorrow."

And here are some more, also from Hubspot, for the main business number:

  • "Hello, you've reached [X company]. We can't take your call at the moment, but please leave your name, contact information, and reason for calling and one of our team members will be in touch within 24 hours."

  • "Hello, you've reached [company]. We're available by phone from [0:00] to [0:00] [time zone] Monday through Friday [optional: and from 0:00 to 0:00 on the weekends]. You can also contact us by going to our website, [URL], and live-chatting or emailing us. If you'd like us to call you back, please leave your name and number after the beep."

Remember, if you've promised a reply in your greeting, you should do so as soon as possible.

Phone Attributes Can Help To an Extent

The following are features we feel are important for any medium-to-large business--or even small businesses, depending on staffing.

Find Me, Follow Me (FMFM)

This service is also known as "call hunting" or "call routing." It won't make an employee less busy; in fact, it might add to workload. However, it makes it easier for the employee to receive calls while out of the office.

It's actually two call-forwarding services that are commonly used in conjunction with each other. Find me service allows the user to receive calls at any location; follow me service allows the user to be reached at any of several phone numbers.

"When you receive an email, you can read it from your computer in the office, your tablet at home, your cell phone on the road or any other device with Internet access." So why not the same convenience with voicemail messages?

In fact, with FMFM, this is exactly what's possible for phone messages. The busy employee can access voicemail messages from virtually any Internet-connected device, including e-mail. In some cases, the messages can be transcribed into e-mail or texts.

Want to know more about FMFM? Read this article.

Cloud-Based Phone Service (VOIP)

Businesses and private consumers alike now have access to various voice-over-internet-protocol (VOIP) phone services. You might already be getting this service through your home cable and internet package (sometimes called "triple play").

VOIP is a hardware and software pairing that enables people to use the Internet as the transmission medium for telephone calls by sending voice data in packets using IP rather than by traditional circuit transmissions (i.e., old-fashioned phone lines).

VOIP often provides the foundation for a private business exchange (PBX), which is an internal phone system. Having a PBX can offer a business many desirable phone features, including FMFM.

Menu Tree

Voicemail menu trees, which we've all encountered at one time or another, are helpful for saving employee time by not allowing a caller to reach the wrong person when needing to address a particular concern.

However, they can be tremendously frustrating to the caller, who might spend an hour or more selecting options in the tree--only to be improperly routed or disconnected altogether and need to start all over again.

Nowadays, trees are expected and grudgingly tolerated by people calling government agencies, medical centers, or other large bureaucracies.

But businesses should steer clear of these as much as possible--or at least find ways to mitigate their use. The last thing you want to do is put a potential customer through this kind of headache.

If you must use them, try to have a live human on the line no more than three selections in.

Consider A Different Kind of Voicemail Greeting

It's clear that outstanding service in the 21st century isn't about technology alone. Nor is it about moving away from the values of true, personalized customer service.

New voicemail technologies can add a lot of convenience for both callers and businesses. However, these need to be used with a mind to the attentiveness and "human touch" that characterized the classic "great receptionist" discussed above.

If you're looking for a way to add a human voice to the many technological interfaces, or you're looking for a simple solution that "packs a punch," we have it.

This voice over service could help you personalize your business voicemail greetings--and save you a lot of time and effort as well!

Some Final Thoughts

What good is a potential client who can never reach you? Or one who has an unpleasant experience with a business voicemail greetings menu or poorly recorded voicemail messages?

Remember that your personal voicemail greeting is part of your business's brand, and thus can have either a positive or a negative effect on your reputation.

Opt for the positive effect and have your voicemail recorded by a human being with a pleasant and engaging tone of voice. Do this now, before you lose clients!

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