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"Please Hold" - A Tutorial For Creating Professional Voicemail Greetings

Posted By Bev Lynde, Friday, June 3, 2016
Updated: Monday, June 6, 2016


(Do I have a choice?)


My name is Bev.  You probably know me as the “membership lady” at National PDCA.  I have been with PDCA for a little over 9 years and spend most of every day on the phone, answering calls and calling members and prospective members.  Needless to say, I’ve heard it all when it comes to answering machines and voicemail greetings.

I’m sure you would agree that first impressions are important, but you may not realize that your first impression with a potential customer occurs without your presence.  Your first impression is made by a piece of technology called your voicemail greeting.  Therefore, it is vital that you program your automated greeting to do your bidding. Here are some examples of what I hear each and every day:


                “Hi. This is Mike.  Leave a message.” 


                “Mike who?  I wonder if this is even a painting contractor.”


(Robotic Voice-monotone) “This- is- 3-1-2-2-2-2-3-3-3-3.  Sor-ry-we-missed- your-call. – Leave-a–mes-  sage-at-the-beep”   


                 Hang up and try to control giggling.  Call back and leave message.


“Please listen carefully as our menu options have changed”  Seven menus and 5 minutes later I am invited to type the first 3 letters of the party’s first name.  The next layer is a list of extensions, none of the names starting with the 3 letters I typed in.  Upon returning to the main menu and going through the 7 layers once more, I have an extension.  Hooray!  When I type in the extension I get a voice message.  “Hi.  This is Mike.  Leave a message.”


                Time for more aspirin.


(Very young child, 3 or 4 yrs old)  “This is the Smith house.  We aren’t at home.  Leave us a message.” 


I’m a sucker for kids, and if I were Grandma or Aunt Lil I would probably think, “How precious.”… but honestly…is this really professional?  If you run your business from your home, invest in a dedicated line to your business that has a number different from your home number.


 “Hi. This is John”  long pause 


I think I’ve got a live person, so I begin speaking.  Several seconds in the voice message continues with the remainder of the recording.  I realize I have a recording.  I feel like a dummy.  Sigh! Pacing is important.

VOICE GREETING:             

                “The person you have called has a mailbox that has not been set up.”


                ???? (Thinking—how can you stay in business if you can’t get messages?)


                “The mailbox is full.  Please try again later.”


                Same ME as previous example.


I could go on for pages, but I think you probably get the point.  Your voicemail greeting needs to make your potential client feel they are dealing with a professional.  Remember, you never get a second chance to make a good first impression.  The following are some suggested dos and don’ts when creating your voicemail greeting.


Use any of the examples listed above

Use your greeting as a commercial

Mumble or record the greeting with noisy background

Speak louder than your normal speaking voice


Speak Clearly

Identify yourself and your company

Apologize for not answering personally

Let the caller know how long it will be before you return the call

Thank them for calling


This article was intended to entertain but also to inspire and instruct. 

Here is an example of a good professional voice greeting.  Feel free to use it if you plead guilty to any of the examples above.

“Hi.  You have reached John Smith of ABC Painting Company.  I apologize for being unable to speak with you personally at this time.  Please leave your name, number and subject of your call.  I will return your call within 24 hours.  Thank you for choosing ABC Painting Company.”

Thanks for “holding” and feel free to call me at PDCA National if you have any questions.

Bev Lynde

PDCA National Membership Recruitment Coordinator

Tags:  Bev Lynde  Please Hold  Voicemail Greeting 

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Comments on this post...

Anita Dallas says...
Posted Tuesday, June 7, 2016
Good post, Bev. The only thing I would add is when you leave a voicemail for someone, say your phone number slowly. Yes, you know your number, but you want the person you are calling to be able to get back to you. So often I can understand the first three or six numbers but the last four are said so fast there is no way to understand them or write them down. Someone gave me this advice early in my career, and since then I try always to enunciate my return number clearly and repeat it.
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