Do you update your voice mail daily? If not, you should.

How often have you heard simply “Please leave a message” or “I’m out of the office and unable to take your call”? Simple greetings like these may be easy to implement, but what kind of impression do they leave your caller? These messages convey nothing to inspire confidence or provide direction to your caller. They don’t let your caller know why you are unavailable, or for how long. In short, they say “I don’t really care about my voice mail, but go ahead and leave a message, and when I get around to it, I might listen to it”. Is that really good enough? Does it say “I care about your call and what you are saying”? I don’t think so.

Your voice mail should give your caller an idea of what to expect, and some direction. For example, here is a simple sample script I’ve developed, that lets the caller know:

(1) Who I am.

(2) When I am available.

(3) Where I am (in or out of office).

(4) redirects non critical issues to email where the message can be addressed in a more leisurely fashion.

(5) let’s the caller know I am committed to responding to them.

“Hi, you’re reached the voice mail of [insert first and last name here].

Today is [day of week], [month] [day], and my office hours are X:XX to Y:YY, [timezone].

I’m currently on the phone or away from my desk. (or if you are out of the office “I’m out of the office this [morning / afternoon / today], returning [when].” )

For non critical issues, email is preferred, however all voice mails will be answered in as timely a fashion as possible.

Thank you and have a great day!”

It takes all of an extra two minutes in your daily routine to record a new greeting, but the results for both you and your callers are tremendous. You can even do it from your cell phone during your morning commute.

Photo courtesty of tungphoto