Recording a good voicemail greeting seems like a simple task. Most people buy a new phone and take 5 minutes out of their lives to record it quickly and never update it again until the next time they get a new phone. Instead of taking the haphazard approach, it will help to put a little effort into this, as it is a primary point of contact for calls that may be very important to you, professionally and personally.
No Lengthy Messages
First of all, get to the point. Clients and customers do not want to hear your life story, and let’s be honest—neither do the rest of us. Especially when someone has to call back and hear your voicemail a few times, a long, drawn out recording will get played out pretty fast. In the same vein, it’s unnecessary to go into detail about your business, such as a full, or even partial description of rates or current promotions. If they’re interested, your caller can find all of that information on your website, or hear about it when they speak with you.
Name Yourself to Avoid Confusion
If you’re the paranoid type, then a first name will do, along with the name of your business, group, etc. Including your first and last name is a good idea, though, just to be clear. You wouldn’t print only your first name on a business card, right?
Skip the Ring-Back Tone
It’s not that we don’t appreciate your gesture of providing us with your favorite music as your phone is ringing, but it is, first of all, slightly inappropriate. While hold music and promotional messages are perfectly acceptable, the last thing you want is for an important client to be subjected to T-Pain every time he is waiting to see if you will pick up the phone.
Record in a Quiet Place
Background noise can be one of the biggest turnoffs to your callers. If your business is important to you, then the idea is to treat this public greeting as you would treat a professional voiceover recording. If you were to hire someone to record a voiceover, you can be sure that they would never do it in their car with the windows open, or in a crowded bar.
Consider Your Audience
Who will be calling? As for any public work, whether it be published writing, artwork, film, or business publication, you have to think about who is going to hear this. Are you an intern fielding calls from potential employers? You should sell yourself a little, and your greeting should convey your value as a potential employee. Do you run a coffee shop? You could probably keep it a little lighter and creative. The same goes for whatever organization you represent; your greeting should reflect the nature of its audience.
Don’t Be So Funny
It will actually add to your greeting if it’s light-hearted, but there’s no need to be too funny. Remember, potential customers will be calling this line, and they are contacting you about serious business. It’s good if they are mildly amused, and then immediately forget about it. Your message to them should have a level-headed tone, which doesn’t come across if it seems like you’re just trying to make them laugh.
Once you have your voicemail greeting written out, plan out how you will deliver it and rehearse a few times before you record. When you’re ready, go ahead and run tape and see how it comes out. Don’t make it public until you are sure you’re satisfied with the finished product, and it also couldn’t hurt to run it by a few friends and get their feedback. An outside perspective is always a good way to check yourself.
Answer Your Phone
Last, but not least, answer calls whenever possible. There is no substitute for speaking with a live person, as opposed to waiting to hear back from someone, for an indefinite amount of time. If you have to miss a call, now you should have a good idea of how your callers’ first point-of-contact should sound. Responding immediately by picking up the phone, however, will always be much better.
Looking for some sample voicemail greetings for your business? Here’s a list of examples:
12 Fun & Professional Business Voicemail Greetings