Most Frustrating Voice Mail Phrases
By Nancy Friedman,
mail remains a large frustration in this busy business world.
It’s not just voice mail, the automated attendant is also on
the list. In an effort to help reduce voice mail
frustration, here are the five most frustrating phrases that callers don’t
want to hear.
1. I’m not at my desk
right now: Duh! That’s
not news. Let your callers know where you are –
not where you’re not. Tell them, “I am in the
office all this week” or “I’m in a sales meeting till 3 pm.”
Let them know if you will be checking your messages.
2. Your call is very
important to me:
When hearing this, the caller is thinking, “Well, if I’m so
darn important, where the world are you?” Then again, think about
it. Maybe the call isn’t so important to you.
You just don’t need this phrase.
3. I’m sorry I missed
your call: Leave
this phrase out! It’s a given. Use
the time and space for something more valuable. Like
where you are and when you will return! Or, tell
callers who they can call for immediate assistance.
4. I’ll call you back
as soon as possible: Not
interesting and not fun; and according to our Telephone Doctor
surveys, probably not true. The truth is, most
people aren’t returning their phone calls in a timely fashion.
If you’re telling your callers you’ll call them back, make
sure you do. Unreturned phone calls rank high on
the frustration list. “As soon as possible” is
not an effective phrase. All you need is to say,
“I will call you back.” Then do it!
(Or have it returned on your behalf.)
5. No escape:
Remember to tell callers to press zero for the operator if they need
more information. Better yet, give them another
name and extension. The main point here is to offer
an alternative if you’re not there. Plus,
you’ve bought back some time to say something interesting or helpful
to the caller.
general voice mail has three parts – the automated attendant, the
greeting your callers hear, and the message you leave for someone on
their voice mail.
Automated Attendant: The
first voice you hear when you call a company sets the mood and tone
for all future interactions. Then why would you
leave a robotic, monotone, dull voice to greet your callers?
You can rerecord it in a style and voice that says, “We’re
so glad you called.” You want a greeting that is
warm and friendly.
Greeting: People want to
know where you are – not where you’re not! Also,
leave an escape for the caller. As for “dating”
your recording with the day and date, you might want to think twice on
this. An outdated greeting was high on the list of
voice mail no, nos! Play it safe and do not use a
day and date.
Message: Here are three
examples of messages:
Message: Hi this is Bob.
Gimme a call.
Message: Hi this is Bob
at Acme Widgets. Call me at
Message: Hi Nancy.
This is Bob Smith, at Acme Widgets. I’d
like to talk about the plan for the meeting on the 27th.
I’ll plan on having lunch brought in at our office.
I’m at 314 - that’s central time in St. Louis,
Missouri - 314-291-1012. Again, that’s
314-291-1012. If I’m not in, ask for JUDY, at
extension 42 and leave a message with her for me there.
not make voice mail any more difficult than it really is. Voice
mail can and should be a productivity enhancer. It
was installed to answer on the first ring, and expedite a phone call.
That being said, it’s still a big frustration in the business
world. Make it less frustrating for your callers!
Now that you’ve read this article, trying calling into your
own voice mail system and see how many of these frustrating phrases
you use and then eliminate them.
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