You never get a second chance to make a first impression, so the saying goes. The exact impression that you leave the first time around can set the tone for future exchanges, too; many people form an opinion of someone else less than seven seconds after being introduced to them.
This has particular relevance in the business world – so, when a potential customer or client calls your company for the first time, what are the first words they should hear from your end of the line?
Keep it professional – and relevant to your industry
The importance of professionalism in a call greeting shouldn’t be understated. As HubSpot staff writer Aja Frost attests, showing professionalism at this stage will make you seem more credible and confident, thus encouraging the listener to further their relationship with you.
Nonetheless, there are some industries where a little eccentricity can go surprisingly far. Just don’t overdo it with the humour, and remember which types of customers or clients you are targeting. If you instinctively feel that they wouldn’t appreciate the quirky touch, then don’t go for it.
What if you can’t always answer the phone?
This is a major dilemma for a business, as missed calls can mean missed custom. You simply never know when the person who has just set your phone ringing could be your next major, lucrative client. However, all the same, answering a call might not be practical in all instances.
Consider the case of your mobile ringing during a crucial business conference. Presumably, you would have switched that phone to silent beforehand anyway, but you could understandably feel your heart sinking as you feel your phone vibrating. This is where voicemail can come into play.
With a voicemail service, you can record a greeting message which explains that you aren’t available, but that you certainly will be soon, and will return the call shortly. The telecoms firm Planet Numbers even lets you play a different voicemail message according to the time of day.
What should you include in a voicemail greeting?
The Balance Small Business provides a few pointers on this subject – but, before you start recording your message, remember to carefully and thoughtfully script it. After all, you want to know exactly what you are saying so that you don’t stumble or ramble.
Neither would foster the most professional image; for instance, a customer who phones you will probably be pressed for time and so want not only accurate information but also to get it quickly. It can also be wise to seek a colleague’s approval of your voicemail greeting before you finalise it.
They may off invaluable insight, and point out small issues such as failing to spell out a name or email address, if it wouldn’t be easy for the caller to pick up on it from the uttered words alone. The essence of your message should be “I can’t currently answer the phone, but I will get back to you as soon as possible”.
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