There is a great list compiled by Nancy Friedman, Telephone Doctor that I have to share with my readers. I have to check my own voice mail as I probably left a message like this:
“You have reached the cell phone of Mike Blaney, I can’t get to the phone right now as I am with another customer or in a meeting, but as your call is important to me I will call you back as soon as possible.”
The truth is I should have left a message like this:
“Thanks to the wonders of call display I can see it is you and as I have not finished the project that was due yesterday I am not picking up. By avoiding your call and calling back at lunch time, thereby avoiding you again, I will get credit for calling you back without really having to speak with you and make a long list of excuses. You will then call me and I will have left the office buying me one more day”
Here are Nancy’s top five:
1) I’m not at my desk right now: Duh! That’s not news. Let your callers know where you are – not where you’re not. Tell them, “I am in the office all this week” or “I’m in a sales meeting till 3 pm.” Let them know if you will be checking your messages.
2) Your call is very important to me: When hearing this, the caller is thinking, “Well, if I’m so darn important, where the world are you?” Then again, think about it. Maybe the call isn’t so important to you. You just don’t need this phrase.
3) I’m sorry I missed your call: Leave this phrase out! It’s a given. Use the time and space for something more valuable. Like where you are and when you will return! Or, tell callers who they can call for immediate assistance. Mike’s note: Perhaps mention your web site where they can find the answer they are looking for.
4) I’ll call you back as soon as possible: Not interesting and not fun; and according to our Telephone Doctor surveys, probably not true. The truth is, most people aren’t returning their phone calls in a timely fashion. If you’re telling your callers you’ll call them back, make sure you do. Unreturned phone calls rank high on the frustration list. “As soon as possible” is not an effective phrase. All you need is to say, “I will call you back.” Then do it! (Or have it returned on your behalf.)
5) No escape: Remember to tell callers to press zero for the operator if they need more information. Better yet, give them another name and extension. The main point here is to offer an alternative if you’re not there. Plus, you’ve bought back some time to say something interesting or helpful to the caller.
If you have any others let me know and I will add to the list.