As a small business, it’s important to find ways to keep your customers engaged, even when you aren’t able to answer the phone. Though social media marketing and e-commerce are becoming more prominent, connecting to customers by phone is still a tried and true staple of the business world. Your voicemail greeting is an opportunity for you to engage with your customers, an important touchpoint no small business should neglect. \r\nMaybe your business already has a voicemail greeting, but you’ve found it confuses your customers. Or perhaps you’re simply not sure how to create a voicemail message for your business that is informative, effective, and represents your business well. We’ll walk you through the process of creating a business voicemail greeting that leaves the right impression on your customers. \r\nUse Your Voicemail Greeting to Stand Out \r\n \r\n \r\nThough larger corporations and businesses are moving away from voicemail greetings, especially as much of their customer service is online or through social media, this doesn’t mean small businesses should follow suit. In fact, your customers will appreciate the high-touch service you can provide through an engaging voicemail greeting. You can stand out among your competitors and have a friendly, human voice for customers to connect with. \r\nYour business voicemail greeting is also your opportunity to gain and retain customers. Every voicemail message you receive is a lead that could result in a sale, or a repeat customer. Your voicemail greeting can help to increase your sales, and maintain a positive relationship with your customers. \r\nUse a Friendly, Inviting Tone in the Voicemail Greeting\r\n \r\n \r\nRemember that your voicemail greeting is a tool for customer engagement and service. Apply the same tone and approach to the voicemail greeting that you would use when you chat with a potential customer in your store or shop. \r\nAvoid a generic, bland greeting like, “This is [name], and you’ve reached [business name]. Leave a message.” Instead, give the message a more welcoming tone. For example, you might start with “Hello” or “Hi, there.” \r\nYou can then thank the customer for calling, similar to how you might show appreciation for a customer who visits your store, such as, “Hello, thank you so much for calling [business name]. I’m away from the phone right now, but please leave a message, and I will call you back as soon as I can.” \r\nYou can also add a line to show your appreciation and your commitment to customer service, such as, “Your call is valued, so do leave your name and number, and I will get back to you as soon as possible.” \r\nKeep the Voicemail Message Informative and Concise\r\n \r\n \r\nMake it easy for customers to leave a message, as you don’t want to risk them hanging up due to an overly long or complicated greeting. Your business voicemail message should not be longer than 20-30 seconds long, and the shorter, the better. Provide just enough information, with a friendly tone, for your customers, so they’re encouraged to leave you a message. \r\nInclude Contact Options in the Greeting\r\n \r\n \r\nIf you have a different number or extension for emergencies, or immediate requests, you might mention this in your voicemail message. For example, you might say, “For immediate requests, please dial ‘0’ to reach our head office” or “If you need immediate support, please contact my assistant at [number].” \r\nYou could also include your business’ website or email. For example, you could say, “Find us online at [business website]” or “I can be reached by email at [email address].” However, only include this option if you are sure it will be of help to your customers. The last thing you want to do in a voicemail message is lead your customers to a dead end. \r\nUse a Hold or Call Back Option\r\n \r\n \r\nIf you can set a hold feature on your voicemail, make sure you let customers know they can access this option. For example, your message might say. “I’m currently assisting another customer, but if you’d like to remain on hold, press ‘0’.” This might be a good option if you tend to get a lot of phone calls from customers at once, and you have limited hours when you can answer the phone. \r\nSome voicemail services also allow you to set a call-back number option, where a customer can input their number directly to make it easier for you to call them back. You may note in your voicemail message, “To leave a call back number, please press ‘1’.” Customers often respond well to this option, as it ensures you receive their number and can call them back easily. \r\nSign Off on a Positive Note in the Voicemail Message\r\n \r\n \r\nWrap up the voicemail greeting with a sign off that is reassuring and ends the message on a high note. For example, you might end the greeting with, “Hope you have a wonderful day,” “We look forward to connecting with you,” or “Thank you for your call and speak to you soon.” \r\nYour complete voicemail message may sound like, “Hello, thank you for calling [business name]. I’m away from the phone right now, but please leave your name and number, and I will get back to you as soon as possible. Thanks and speak to you soon.” \r\nPractice Before You Record the Voicemail Greeting\r\n \r\n \r\nWrite down the voicemail greeting in full and practice it out loud a few times before you press record. You might also ask an employee or co-worker to review the message to get their feedback and make sure it is striking the right chord. \r\nMost voicemail message services allow you to record the greeting and play it back to confirm it suits your needs and sounds good. You may need to record the greeting a few times to get the right tone and ensure it is as concise and informative as possible. \r\nTest Your Voicemail Message\r\n \r\n \r\nCall your business phone and let it go to voicemail so you can listen to the greeting, just like a customer would. Confirm that it works correctly so you can avoid any technical issues or lost messages from customers. \r\nRespond Promptly to Your Business Voicemail\r\n \r\n \r\nOnce you have a voicemail greeting you’re happy with and feel customers will respond well to, don’t let your voicemail messages pile up. Be responsive to your customers and try to get back to them within 2-4 business days. Following up promptly will ensure your customers stay engaged with your business and receive excellent customer service. It can also boost your business sales and help you retain your customers, so they’ll be sure to call you again.