Your phone service is often the first opportunity your customers have to interact with your business. As with any first impression, you want to make sure it’s a good one. Like your website, any printed materials you have, your brick and mortar business, and the staff your customers interact with, the voice and messaging on your answering service need to leave your customers with a positive experience surrounding your company. Your choice of a consistent, authentic voice for your phone systems, therefore, needs to reflect your brand.
What Are The Components Of A Good Voicemail?
When customers contact you after-hours, you want to be able to take advantage of the opportunity to sell them on you as a business and why they’ll want to work with you or buy your products and services. You also want to encourage them to interact with you and leave a message. So before we talk about who does the talking for your business, let’s quickly cover what they should say – what components make a good voicemail.
A Mighty Call, a virtual phone system for small businesses has several tips on what to say (and what not to).
- Avoid overused phrases such as “your call is very important to us.” Callers have heard this enough. SHOW them instead by helping them get information or leave a message quickly
- Provide clear information – what person, business or department have they reached? Are there options such as going to the website for finding meaningful answers to their questions? If so, include the web address
- Be Polite – apologize that you are not currently available, invite them to leave a message and let them know when they can expect a return call (then be sure to call them back!)
- Keep it Simple, Short and Sweet
Tips For Recording Yourself (From A Pro)
So now that you have what to say, how do you say it in a way that sounds natural and not awkward, read from a page or forced? Perhaps you’ve never recorded yourself before and aren’t sure what to do. Here are some tips for recording yourself from my 25+ year voice over.
- Relax – when you do your voice will mellow and sound more pleasant. Yawn even – it’s one of Morgan Freeman’s tricks to settle down into the dulcet tones of his instrument before he speaks.
- Drink water beforehand to avoid mouth clicks or annoying (distracting) sounds.
- Sit (or stand) with your back straight and take a nice deep breath.
- Imagine you’re talking to a person on the other end of the phone line. See them as a real person – maybe even someone you know – like your favorite customer. Connect with them – imagine them hearing your voice and how they’ll react – hopefully pleasantly. Then, say the lines of your script. Say them, don’t read them. Reading comes out as stilted and disconnected. Saying “hi” or “welcome” and meaning it will leave a positive impression with your caller.
Why Using A Professional For Your Telephony Is the Smart Business Move
While many owners or managers record company phone messages themself or have someone from their staff do it on their lunch break, the smart business move is to hire a professional. A pro will match the tone of your brand and add credibility and importance to your company. I do telephony for many businesses. Healthcare to restaurants, to financial services to art and ad agencies. Another advantage to hiring a professional is that they will be available for updates when your staff changes (including perhaps the staff member assigned to recording the outgoing messages). They are there if there are alterations to your hours, have a sale or introduce a new product or location. If your company roster has multiple departments with lots of staff, keeping track of all the files needed for each name and extension is much easier with a pro who has the right tools to produce, name, and deliver each file easily.
Working in Canada, I often am asked to do a bilingual phone service message and while my French is fluent and good enough for anywhere outside of Quebec, in my home province, I will sub this out to a colleague whose mother tongue is French. I honestly think this is the best route for any business in any location. Another service your professional voiceover talent may be able to offer is the ability to manage your messaging in multiple languages. One of my West Coast clients is a large international firm. Their phone system service responds to customers in eight languages. I coordinate with them and handle translation, engage the voice talents and manage file transfers in each of the various languages.
How To Direct Your Pro Voice Actor To Ensure Their Delivery Matches Your Brand
Once you’ve engaged your professional (or non professional) voice over actor, having a clear understanding of how you want the customer/client who calls in to feel is important. This will dictate the kind of direction you give your talent in reading your phone prompts. If many of your customers are on edge or upset, you may want to soothe them or calm them down. That will be the direction you give your talent. On the other hand, you may want a cool and edgy sound if your business is a sports store or a bar. Warm and friendly fits the bill if you are a family-oriented restaurant. Trustworthy and sincere are good descriptors for the kind of tones I might use for a bank or health care institution. A professional voice actor will be able to take your direction quickly, incorporate your brand’s personality and give you the delivery you’re looking for. And if you’re updating your message on hold or need new interactive prompts regularly, being able to deliver those changes quickly will keep your systems current.