When people call you, what do they hear if they don’t reach you? OK, so it’s probably a voicemail or other messaging system so they can leave you a message and you can call them back. So let’s assume that’s true, and let’s focus on the message you have that people hear when they call your number.
Many people have a plain vanilla greeting, and often you’re not even sure if you reached a human being or just a machine. “Hi, you’ve reached 555-1212. Leave a message.” Who am I calling, and why should I care enough to leave a message with you?
“Hi, this is Phil. Leave a message. I’ll call you back. Thanks.” That’s a little bit better. At least I know I called Phil. Does he check his voicemail often? What if this is an emergency? Is there another way to reach Phil?
“Hi, you’ve reached Phil Gerbyshak. I’m not available to take your call right now, however your call is very important to me. If this call is between 7:30 am and 5:30 pm, please feel free to give me a call at work at 414-555-1212. Otherwise, leave your name, number, a brief message, and your favorite 80s rock bank after the tone, and I’ll call you back as soon as I can. Thanks for calling. Make it a great day!” Hey, now that’s pretty good. There’s another number to reach me at, I let the caller know they’re important to me, I injected some humor into the situation (favorite 80s rock bank, favorite 80s baseball/football/basketball player, you use what works for you), and I closed with energy: “Make it a great day!” I’ll tell you, most people do leave me a message, most laughing by my request for favorite 80s something or other, and then tell me what they need. Then I call them back as soon as I can with the same energy as I have on my voicemail greeting. After all, who wants to talk to someone plain vanilla boring? Not me!
Energy is the key to your voicemail greeting, so practice having energy. Put some alternative methods of reaching you, and you’ll ensure people leave you a message with the information you need to make it a great day!
Variety is also nice. Change your voicmail greeting at least once a month. 12 times a year to change your greeting. That’s not so hard, is it?
Last thing is uniqueness. How many other people can you name who have the same greeting as you? If the answer is more than 1, you’re not being unique enough. Think about this as your signature where people think of you when they hear it. My friends leave me messages that tell me to make it a great day because I’ve added that as my signature to all my voicemail greeting. Feel free to share yours with me by calling 414.640.7445 anytime. Don’t be surprised if I actually answer the phone though!
Phil Gerbyshak leads a team of IT help desk professionals in Milwaukee, WI, and finds that sharing his knowledge is a crucial component in his success as a leader and as a person. Phil’s personal philosophy is paraphrased from Tim Sanders’ fantastic book Love is the Killer App: “Share your knowledge, your network, and your love. The rest will follow.” For more musings by Phil, please go to http://makeitgreat.blogspot.com.