Voicemail is a technological innovation designed to help people handle calls more efficiently. Instead of being helpful, it often generates frustration. This frustration is attributable to poor use of telephone technology.
The principles for the effective use of voicemail can help. These are:
Record an effective greeting
Whether you use a sophisticated, computerized voicemail system or a simple answering machine, when used effectively, voicemail is a valuable tool for you and your company. Voicemail is more effective when users record useful greetings and leave useful messages. Greetings that provide callers with specific information result in callers leaving more informative messages.
Leave effective messages
Consider the information that makes a voicemail greeting effective. Consider too, the specific information you need from a caller to make a voicemail message effective. Not all voicemail users record effective greetings and many do not leave effective messages.
When voicemail users neglect to state their name and position in their greeting, some callers may wonder whether they've reached the appropriate party. Without a date or estimated return time, the caller doesn't know whether to expect a return call in a few minutes, or a few days.
When leaving a voicemail message, remember to state your name, position, the nature of your business, your phone number, and a good time to call back.
Follow up promptly
When a caller leaves you a voicemail message, it is critical that you follow up promptly. Doing so lets callers know that your voicemail is a reliable way to communicate with you. Always follow up in 24 hours or less.
The principles for effective use of voicemail only have value when they are put into action. Voicemail is more effective when users record effective greetings and messages. Greetings that provide callers with specific information result in callers leaving useful messages. Callers know when to expect a return call, and whom to contact in case of emergency. You should consider what you will say before you record your voicemail greeting.
Your prompt follow up tells callers that your voicemail is a reliable way to leave a message, enabling some business to be transacted without an actual conversation. By using voicemail efficiently, you make it easy for others to do business with you.
When the principles for the effective use of voicemail are applied correctly, voicemail functions as an efficiency-enhancing business tool. Instead of an annoyance, it becomes a useful and valuable example of telephone technology.