Voicemail etiquette applies not only to your inbox, but to the messages you leave for others as well. While a single rule may not exist for recording business voicemails, there are a series of “best practices” one should adopt to increase the effectiveness of the message.
Business Voicemail Greetings
Straight-forward, courteous, and concise — three words that should describe your greeting. With these adjectives in mind, include the following in your business voicemail messages:
- Name / Position — In your own voice (forget text-to-speech), identify who you are and what you do in the company.
- Request — Outline what you want the caller to do by inviting the person to state who he or she is, the purpose of the call, and whether or not it needs returning.
- Alternative — Provide other options for urgent callers, such as an after-hours department, email, or secondary phone line. Some professionals leave their “hours-of-operation,” which helps to schedule all future calls.
Try to respond to voicemails hastily. Remember to keep a clear and professional voice when recording and speaking to others over the phone. Lastly, listen to your own voicemail greeting several times and/or record several versions. Have others listen to these recordings to help you decide which is the most personable.
Leaving Business Voicemails
How can you stop people from deleting your messages? How can you captivate listeners for the full duration of your voicemail? Scripting voicemails helps avoid rambling, fumbling, and prolonging — three factors that result in message deletions. In no more than 30 seconds, hit upon the following:
- Relevance — Define your objective. Keep it short and to-the-point, establishing a context surrounding the call. This may be done by identifying the business’ needs or concerns. Always tie this section into your own professional credibility.
- Detail — In identifying the problem, state your name and company, explaining how you can be of service. Although many lead with this information, try delaying your identity to prevent listeners from forming assumptions based on previous corporate dealings and/or reputations.
- Call-to-Action — The more detail you include, the less likely they will call back. By only providing the essentials, you leave the listener wanting more information. Should you want the listener to perform a different action, specify it creatively in this section.
- Follow-Up — With a personalized email — a few lines at the most — encapsulate the voicemail’s main points and thank the person for his or her time.
Like the above, ensure that you review your script. By keeping to these best voicemail practices, alongside your corporation’s communications policy, your messages will be much more effective.