Are You Lost In Voice Mail Land?

Voice Mail is a time-saving, easy-to-use communication tool when used with respect and consideration. Unfortunately, that is not how it is used.

Consider . . .

When you call a friend, a business or require service, what is on vour mind? Perhaps satisfying a need that motivated you to call in the first place, right! You have something urgent to share or request. There are several aspects of filling that need - reassurance, promise, delivery, and ongoing service!

Points to Ponder—

Consider what is the subtext in your message:

Now, how do you feel when the recording plays on?

How important do you feel when the robotic message about “helping other customers” comes on? Instantly, internally a voice says, “Well, who am I, chopped liver?” I was calling to maybe become a customer. I don’t like how you treated me with that recording that is hardly a response. I came away frustrated and did not receive information that advanced my connection to you. For instance, useful information includes hours of operation, where you are and when to expect a return call and from whom. Are you on vacation, at a seminar or grooming your dog? How about an attempt at a connection?

A powerful reassurance tool is tone of voice.

In analyzing your own voice mail message, how does your voice sound?

Are you out of breath, do you sound sincere, is your voice tired and meek, do you mumble and stumble?

Sound attracts! Perk up your tone of voice by taking three deep breaths before recording your message.

What about your voice excites the prospect to hear from you again?

• Your voice sets a tone for a future relationship. Will prospects enjoy

the sound of your voice and hearing from you? (Practice with a

video recorder or tape player.)

• Enthusiasm evokes attention! Your message is a promotional opportunity.

• Confidence is contagious and people want to work with you. Teach hem how.

• Urgency—Be in a hurry without brushing people off. Give them a time to expect a return call or another number when appropriate.

• Greet your callers with a smile in your voice. You're welcoming and inviting them to do business with you.

• Write what you're going to say before you record so there is no question as how to do business with you.

• Write what you're going to say before you record so there is no hesitation.

Ongoing service

Will they think of you when their need dictates again?

Successful communication flows two ways. It requires accessibility to keep a fluid flow. Communication and accessibility are the foundations for exceptional customer service. They will set your business apart from most. Be available, or prospects and clients will go somewhere else.

What are you promising? Predictable, more of the same?

Content and language define your promise. Consider the hidden message when a caller hears, "We're either on the phone or out of the office". TRANSLATION -- "You can't catch me, and I will get to you when I darn well please!” Slip into the caller's moccasins, and you will remember what frustration is. It's subtly confrontational to the caller and destroys confidence that you'll be there when they need you!

How does the above phone message serve a need for further information?

Instead, consider using your “air” time as an infomercial to promote an award just received or a conference you’re attending to bring back information to clients.

Overcome Disappointment and Frustration

People are contacting you for a reason, and they become disappointed when faced with a multiple-choice menu, "We're either on the phone or in the refrigerator.” What difference does it make to them? You haven't answered their desire for information! Remember how you want them to feel when they hang up the phone!

In our short-attention span world, people want an instant response or at least information to keep them interested. What is the value of telling the caller you're with someone else or away. How does that serve them?

Vocal delivery counts

Are you memorable? Can prospects hardly wait to meet you? Refreshingly different and unexpected entertainment value is compelling. Personally, I change my phone message frequently so the message is not stale. Consistent positive feedback tells me callers are listening.

Ongoing service

Will they think of you when their need dictates again?

Successful communication flows two ways. It requires accessibility to

keep a fluid flow. Communication and accessibility are the foundations

for exceptional customer service. They will set your business apart from

most. Be available, or prospects and clients will go somewhere else.

This is a voice mail formula that has worked well for me:

1. Identify your business name. Welcome to (business name)!

Use a quick, memorable statement about your business.

(a tagline is useful.) Consider tying your offering into a current event or community item.

2. Offer alternative ways to communicate with you depending on the circumstances (pager, fax, alternate phone number, and email.) My personal favorites are recommendations are the best time to reach you, general business hours, appointments available and other contact information.

3. They can use this data. Define when a reasonable response can be expected (E.g. within 48 hours, by 6 p.m. today).

4. Refer to someone else if you are away for more than two days. "We're on vacation until (date). Please contact (name) if you need immediate assistance. We will follow-up with you when we return. Thank you for your interest in (business name).

If you would like to create a customized, personal message that sets you apart from the herd, or a variety set of different scenarios including voice over, please call Michelle Cubas for details. Other languages are also available.

—MC

Author:. Michelle is a business analyst, certified enterprise coach, entrepreneur, business author, and national public speaker. Her entrepreneurial practice focuses on contemporary business issues like Business Literacy™. Business Literacy peels away years of ineffective behavior and habits.  It builds an interior scaffolding—to communicate, to operate and to apply intelligence at ... Go Deeper | Website

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