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It’s one thing to route calls through a professional answering service and another thing entirely to have a personalized voicemail message that opens the door for communication with prospects and clients. Despite the fact that social media and email are popular ways to communicate with companies, many consumers still prefer to communicate the old fashioned way: by picking up the telephone.

Surprisingly though, a whopping 75% of business calls aren’t even completed on the first try. That means your customers are reaching your voicemail, and if it’s not personalized, you’re missing out on a remarkable opportunity to gain their business. Automated voicemails are easy, sure, but they do little to convey the personality of your brand. A personalized recording is so much more effective at delivering your message and retaining your customer’s attention. If you’ve never recorded a personalized message or have trepidations about doing so, these tips may help make it easier for you.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Before you do the actual recording, it’s helpful to write down a few possible scripts and rehearse them. While rehearsing, listen to the tone of your voice and how it’ll sound to your customers. You want to sound relaxed and friendly, not forced. It might help to practice while looking in the mirror or by role playing with a co-worker. Remember to speak slowly and clearly, and don’t rush! The more you practice, the more natural you’ll sound.

Writing the Perfect Script

The script is the most important part of your voicemail recording, so make sure you get the content right. You want to convey the basics of your message in a way that has a bit of personality. Automated messages have a tendency to sound robotic (because they are), but virtual phone systems like Booth let you record personal messages where you can say anything you want. Use that to your advantage. Look at the difference between these two messages; they both relay the same information, but which one would you rather hear?

  • Automated message: “Hello, your call is important to us, but we are unavailable at the moment. Please leave a message, and we will return your call as soon as possible.”

  • Personalized message: “Hi! This is (your name) at (company name). I’m sorry I can’t get to the phone right now; I’m either away from my desk or on the other line. But if you leave me your contact info, I’ll get back to you the moment I can. Thanks, and have a fantastic day!”

Both messages get the point across, but the first one is dry and boring while the second is friendly and warm. If you really want to get creative, you can even have a little fun with your customers. It’ll grab their attention and probably give them a good chuckle:

  • “Hi! You’ve reached (your name). Unfortunately, it’s not the best time to reach me, BUT I’ll get back to you as soon as I can if you leave me your contact info. And here’s a secret: if you tell me your favorite TV show, I’ll move you to the top of the call-back list.”

Adding something fun and unique will stand out to your customers. Ask them a question or leave a tidbit of information, like a random daily fact. It’s very personalized and fun and might just brighten someone’s day. The trick is making sure you get the pertinent information across while infusing your message with a little personality. Remember to have fun with it while you’re writing your script. Don’t take yourself too seriously, and think about what you would enjoy hearing on a business voicemail.

Going Beyond the Basic Voicemail

Of course, your voicemail doesn’t have to just say you’re away. You might be recording a message for an entirely different reason. For example, many realtors use outgoing messages to deliver information about property listings. They use virtual phone systems to route calls to extensions for each property, where customers listen to important information about each listing. Some realtors even use outgoing messages to educate customers on mortgage rates or how to secure a loan. The opportunities are endless. Whether you use voicemail to simply state you’re away, describe your products or services, or share some other information is up to you.

Time to Record…

When it’s time to record your message, make sure you’re prepared mentally and physically. You should record your message at a time (or place) where there’s no background noise. If you’re nervous, keep a stress ball or other item on the desk to fiddle with while you make the recording. Lastly, remember to smile while you’re talking! Your customers will actually be able to hear that you’re smiling, and you’ll come across as friendly and pleasant. However you choose to use your virtual phone system, remember to be the three most important things: relaxed, concise, and personable.

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Josh Christy

Founder of Booth, passionate about helping to grow businesses that matter.