Use these tips to make sure your professional greetings are both creative and appropriate.
When’s the last time you listened to your outgoing voicemail message? Hopefully, it hasn’t been too long. (It’s always good to keep voicemails up-to-date!) When you listen, do you pay attention to things like professional greetings, length, and content? If not, it might be time to prune and polish your outgoing voicemail to help ensure the people trying to reach you will leave a message!
In some businesses, there isn’t much room for creativity when you record your outgoing voicemail message. Sales, however, is another story. There’s often room for some personality. Of course, if you work for a company that thrives on formality, the professional greetings on your phone (and email) should reflect that. But you can still add a little pizzaz.
Getting a little creative with your professional greetings adds a human element to the outgoing message. Unless doing so is entirely out of line with your company culture, clients will most likely appreciate a unique and thoughtful approach to a voicemail greeting—which means they’re more likely to leave a message.
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What you need (and what you don’t) to keep your professional greetings effective, fun, and even engaging
Before you get started writing creative professional greetings, make sure that you include all the basics in your outgoing message. State your name clearly (spell it if a lot of people get it wrong), speak slowly and in a bright, upbeat manner, say the name of the place you work, and indicate an estimated time frame when you’ll be able to get back to the caller (preferably within 24 hours).
It’s not a bad idea to include your email address in your outgoing message, either. This leaves people the option to reach you there instead of receiving a call-back, which many people seem to prefer these days. If you do decide to leave your email address, make sure you spell it out (slowly!), so the caller can understand it and has time to write it down.
There should be a time limit to your outgoing messages as well. Don’t exceed 20-25 seconds. That should be plenty of time to get your message through clearly without going off on a tangent.
Finally, change your outgoing messages every month or two, if for nothing else, then just for a fresh sound for repeat callers.
Don’t, however, ramble on too long. An outgoing message is a means to get the caller to leave a voicemail without hanging up, not to give them your life story. Just as you wouldn’t want to talk for too long during a cold call or sales pitch, you also don’t want to do it with your outgoing messages.
Don’t change your voicemail every day to include the current date. Doing so may seem like a helpful thing to do, but on the one day you’re too sick to change it, or you forget, it may seem that you’re not attentive to detail or that you’re inconsistent, which could be a travesty with a first-time caller.
3 Examples of professional greetings you can use right now
Now that you’ve got your basic dos and don’ts, it’s time to get creative with your professional greetings! Being creative means doing something besides the standard, “You’ve reached John Doe. I can’t come to the phone right now…” For example:
“Hi, thanks for calling! You’ve reached John Doe, and I’m soaking up some much-needed sun on vacation, but I’d love to connect when I’m back on January 21. Leave me a message with your name and phone number, and I’ll get back to you as soon as I’m back on the mainland. Have a great week!”
“Hi, this is John Doe, I’m so glad you called. Unfortunately, I’m off doing something else right now, but I’d love to take your call as soon as I’m able. Leave me your name, phone number, and the reason for your call, and I’ll get back to you before you know it. Thanks so much. Can’t wait to speak with you!”
And if you work for a place that’s quirky, maybe even something like:
“Congratulations, you’re lucky caller number nine! Just kidding, I have no idea how many people have called me. Still, I plan to get back to all of you within 24 hours. Leave me your name and phone number, or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and one way or another, you’ll hear from me. Thanks for playing!”
The primary thing to keep in mind about professional greetings is that you want to keep people calling you. Avoid giving them a reason not to, or not to leave a message. Make your outgoing messages personable, friendly, short, and inviting, and you’ll have plenty of voicemails to listen to when you get back to your desk.
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