Red, chili-pepper hot!You have just a few short seconds to gain someone’s attention, and a few short seconds after that to keep it…

What does your voice mail greeting say about you?

I called in to a place of business within the last few days, and this is what I experienced:

  • The organization name was not mentioned – There was no confirmation that I had reached the correct number.
  • The greeting was “I/me” oriented – The message did not differentiate between the person recording and the place of business.
  • Lack of instilled confidence – There was no word of promise that they would indeed call me back.
  • It was all about them – No reference that they were glad I called.
  • Absence of value – No inspirational quote, or mention of their drive toward a success that will make me want to call back again.
  • Rambling – The voice went on and on, and talked about the mystery person’s potential whereabouts, and gave lots of confusing instructions related with an upcoming event.

My reaction: I stopped really listening after a handful of seconds, and left my message while rolling my eyes.

My advice for crafting a voice mail greeting?

If you’re a small business owner or a nonprofit director, your greeting should tell someone where they are calling.  Ask yourself, “How will the caller know they have reached the right place?”

Feature your brand and give options to reach people. Unless you are operating as a personal brand, you have no business using the word “I.”  Show that you have respect for the organization, and the mission or cause.  Most phones with voice mail features offer options to lead callers to specific individuals.  Use your options.

Your voice mail greeting should be simple in a “Just the facts, Jack,” sorta way! It is a prompt to stay in touch with a valued contact and should be 60 seconds or less. Is rambling on and on respecting your callers’ time?  Use the KISS method in getting to the point.

Invite them to connect with you on social media! Email is the largest social network.  Phone is the oldest.  Your voice mail greeting provides an opportunity to strengthen a valued relationship and encourage more two-way communication.

Take advantage! Include something of value for your caller to keep them coming back.  Give them a short quote.  Better yet, tell them what your business is doing to nurture their community or bring them new value-added features.

Nix The Assumptions

You’re not your callers’ only option.  Today our world is smaller and options are many.  Your supporters can go anywhere to do or get anything they want or need.  As a small business or non-profit, it is your responsibility to court your audience.  You owe it to them to provide value and excitement in what you do.  Your voice mail greeting is no exception.  Do it, or they’ll go somewhere else.

Drive Traffic

Remember that website you spent lots of dollars getting up online?  Don’t you want your audience to visit it?  In your voice mail greeting provide the simple website address.  Put your event instructions there!  Use social plug-ins, and make it easy for your contact to find the necessary information.  Integrate your phone into your marketing plan and social media.

When your listeners call in, are they compelled to engage with you and take action?  Or are you boring them to death?

Have you evaluated your organization’s voice mail message lately?  Are you working all your options to be red, chili-pepper hot??

What are some ideas for great messages that keep callers engaged and get results?

What are you doing that brings success to your small business or non-profit?

Please share below…