5 Cell Phone Voice Mail Frustrations

By Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor

I’ll bet you have one or more of these phrases on your cell phone! (I don’t have them on mine.)5-Cell-Phone-Voice-Mail-Frustrations-alliance-wireless-communications

You’re going to want to check your cell phone message after reading this! Go ahead call yourself.

Voice mail (business or cell) remains a large frustration in this busy business world. And it’s not just voice mail. The automated attendant is also on the list.

I’ll discuss the auto attendant in another blog.

Today we’re tackling the “big five” most frustrating Voice Mail phrases on your cell or on the company automated attendant. Are they on your cell phone??? Our surveys show your callers don’t want to hear these phrases. 

  1. I’m not at my desk right now

DUH? That’s a hot lot of news. What a boring, semi useless statement. Live a little. 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 do or don’t check messages. Let them know when you will be back. (Yes you’ll need to re-record.)

  1. Your call is very important to me

OMG. Really? A major time waster. The caller is thinking, “Well, if I’m so darn important, where the heck are you?” And then again, think about it. Maybe the call isn’t so important to you. You just don’t need this phrase. Semi useless.

  1. I’m sorry I missed your call

Dull, dull, dull. Of course you are. (Although, there are probably some that you’re not sorry to have missed.) It is OK to 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, who they can call for more information.

  1. I’ll call you back as soon as possible

Not interesting and not fun. Mainly because your as soon as possible and my as soon as possible may not, and probably, be the same. And sadly, “I’ll call you back as soon as possible” is often a great big fib. Worse is saying, “I’ll call you back within 4 hours” or whatever time frame. Stuff happens, and you may not be able to do that. Don’t over promise and under deliver. (Tom Peters)

The truth is most people aren’t returning their phone calls in a timely fashion (if at all). If you’re telling your callers you’ll call them back, make sure you do. If you think you may not return the call…then try this: “Go ahead and leave your phone number and I’ll DECIDE if I’ll call you back or not.” (Just kidding! Do not do that.)

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 return your call.” (Then do it! Or have it returned on your behalf.) Not returning a phone call is like not using your turn signal. Just rude.

  1. No escape

Remember to tell callers to hit ZERO for the operator (or whoever) if they need more information. Or better yet, give them another name and extension. Although for the most part, that voice mail may come on also. (Then you’re into what is called Voice Mail Jail!!!)

Main point here is to offer an alternative if you’re not there. Perhaps your email. Plus, you’ve bought back some time to say something more interesting or helpful to the caller.

Reprinted with permission of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training. Nancy Friedman, president of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training, is a featured keynote speaker and subject matter expert on customer service and communications skills at franchise, association and corporate meetings. She has appeared on OPRAH, Today Show, CNN, FOX News, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning and many others. She has been published in Wall Street Journal, USA Today as well as hundreds of other publications. Nancy is the author of eight books on sales and customer service and is the spokesperson in the popular Telephone Doctor customer service training programs. For a demo packet of Nancy call 314.291.1012 or visit www.nancyfriedman.com

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