I know that as freelance writers, a vast majority of our communications with clients and other folks is done through email. With that said, most of us do keep a business phone line for those occasions when talking directly to a client will be the most productive alternative. When was the last time you thought about your outgoing voicemail message?
This issue arises because I had to make a phone call today. I called to resolve a problem and it was a bit time sensitive. On top of that, I was the only person at the shop and therefore responsible for taking care of any walk-in clients and any phone calls. When the call went to four rings, I got that feeling in the pit of my stomach. You know, the one that says you need to be prepared to leave a voicemail and yes, problem resolution was going to be more than a simple phone call.
The person I had to call works for a large company and they are obviously concerned about customer service. Unfortunately, their desire to provide outstanding customer service was overshadowed by the nearly three minute outgoing voicemail message. Yes, that’s right. Nearly three minutes. “My office hours are…My goal is to provide excellent service… My email is (spelled out)… If this is urgent contact my supervisor… His number is… His email is (spelled out)… I was so pissed by the time I received the beep, I could hardly remember why I called.
Way over the top. Short and sweet would work just as well, I think. If I was mad at the company or the person I was trying to reach, I think I’d let them know (even via voicemail) and then call the company. Pretty sure I could figure out how to get in touch with the supervisor. Office hours? Please. Does it really matter? I got the voicemail. Be it after hours or some other reason is of little import.
My outgoing? My name, thanks for calling, leave a detailed message and I’ll return your call. Bam. Done. Shows I’m business oriented and that I value the person’s time.
How about you? What is your outgoing like? For that matter, do you even have a business line? If you don’t, it may be a consideration. The few times you use it could pay big dividends with just a single client call. There are still some folks who would rather communicate via phone.