It is my pleasure to introduce to you my dear friend and mentor, Mary Jane Copps, otherwise known as The Phone Lady, as my first guest blogger. Here is her view on the personalities people take on for their outgoing voicemail messages.
by Mary Jane Copps
I’ve spent much of this past week prospecting for both myself and others and I’ve noted common characteristics among voicemail messages. Does your message match any of these … and what does this mean to your prospects and customers?
This message has the same intonation and pacing as the safety procedure message we hear at the beginning of every flight. It is well rehearsed, contains no errors or “uhms” or “ahs”. It is absolutely professional … but lacks all trace of warmth, interest and personality. Callers certainly receive the information they need but not an opportunity to engage or build relationship.
This message whizzes along at top speed. The words are spoken so quickly, fit together so tightly that they create a visual of the person taking one big breath at the beginning and not breathing again until their done. The impression this creates is of rush and stress – simply too busy to take on more business or to be of service. Rather than welcome a caller, the speedy message pushes them away.
Efficiency is valuable and we all admire people who get to the point, but being greeted by “Jane Smith’s office. Leave a message.” creates doubt. Does this Jane Smith still work for the company? Does she pick up messages? Am I calling the right person, the right organization? Where there is doubt, there is a caller who goes elsewhere for what they need.
As many of you know, I am an advocate of the dated message … but not the play-by-play of one’s entire schedule and an optional phone number and a website address and a bit of information about tomorrow’s schedule … . You know what I mean. The goal of a great voicemail message is to let the caller know you can be of service, not that you are constantly busy being of service to others.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Winnie The Pooh, Eeyore is the stuffed donkey in the stories and he’s generally characterized as gloomy and pessimistic. In animated versions his voice is low and slow and … tired and bored. And there is a wealth of voicemail messages out there that sound exactly like Eeyore. What the caller hears is someone who has no interest at all in the job or the company and this not only pushes them towards the competition, it shuts the door behind them as they go.
Now I did try to find a category for the great voicemails – the one’s that had energy, enthusiasm and expressed a desire to be of service but … each of them were as unique as the person who created them. And that’s what builds relationships!
Mary Jane Copps, The Phone Lady, provides salespeople, fundraisers, marketers, executive and administrative personnel with the skills they need to become powerful and effective communicators on the telephone. Read Mary Jane’s blog.
Alternatively, you could hire a professional voice to record your voicemail for you! I think you know who I’m talking about…(wink)