How to nail your after-hours
Let’s face it: voicemail greetings can make a big difference for your business. They are the very first thing your customers hear when they call you, which means that you often get only one chance to make a good impression (or at least not to annoy them if they are contacting you frequently). Here’s how you can nail your after-hours voicemail greetings.
Every message a caller hears is important, but especially if there’s no one available to take the call. If your business closes at a certain hour or no one works during the weekends, you should definitely create an after-hours voicemail greeting. Luckily, we’re here to help you out with that.
Why you need personalized voicemail greetings in the first place
When calling a company outside business hours, you are likely to hear an automatic recording that will inform you what time you should call back. And rightly so, as the after-hours greetings are a professional way to let your customers know why you’re unavailable at that moment and when exactly they can reach you.
It might not seem like a big deal at first, but hearing such a message is much better than forcing a customer to either sit through endless ringing, or to wait for their call to finally failover to a voicemail box. In fact, setting up an after-hours voicemail greeting can help you not only impress your customers but potentially win their business. Provided that you record a short welcoming message with relevant information instead of a long and confusing one, that is.
You should also consider personalizing your after-hours voicemail greetings. After all, such messages are as much a part of your company’s image as the design of your website or the layout of your brick-and-mortar shops. If you’re using high-quality call center software, you can easily record voicemail greetings that are in line with your brand identity, set the right tone and ensure your customers are getting the experience they deserve.
How to come up with a proper after-hours voicemail greetings
There’s no single best way to craft an after-hours greeting. Yet, there are some things you should keep in mind in order to show your callers that you value their time:
#1 State your business name
Be sure to mention the name of your business at the outset. This may seem obvious, but it’s an important token of professionalism.
Example: Hello you’ve reached CloudTalk…
#2 Mention business hours
You should also state your business hours upfront. Otherwise, your customers might wait in vain and potentially get annoyed.
Example: Our business hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central European Time.
#3 Suggest clear next steps
Make sure you detail the next steps to your callers. If your customers know that there’s no one to answer the call at the moment, they can easily decide to leave a voicemail message or call you back another time. Depending on the specificity of your business, there might be other options to take into account as well (directing callers to a phone menu, listing individual voicemail boxes of different employees or forwarding calls to an external destination, just to name a few). If you’re using a proper call center software, you should be able to set up a phone menu along with call forwarding quite easily.
Example: If you’re calling about an existing order, please press 1. If you’d like help placing a new order, please press 2.
#4 Indicate other contact methods
Indicate other contact methods, if available. Even if there’s no one present to take the call at a given time, there might be other ways to get in touch with your business or receive some additional information about your offer. If that’s the case, make sure you include them in your after-hours greeting. You can, for example, “redirect” the callers to your website, email, or social media profiles.
Example: Agents are available to assist you via the live chat function on our website. You can also send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
#5 Keep it simple
Above all, keep it simple. If the recording is vague and long, your customers will most likely lose interest and might even give up on contacting you again. Don’t waste time, but keep your message simple and short instead. A professional voicemail greeting should last 20-25 seconds, which is enough time to equip your customers with the essentials.
#6 Keep your recording up-to-date
Keep your recording up-to-date. If there are any changes in your business hours (because of holidays or emergency situations, for example), you should update your voicemail greetings to clarify the problem and avoid confusion. Mention the issue upfront and, if possible, specify when you’ll be back in business.
#7 Make your callers feel important
Make your callers feel important. Most likely, your customers have a good reason to get in touch with your business. Even if there’s no one available to take the call, the caller should still feel encouraged to try to reach out one way or another. The worst thing you can do is to waste your customers’ time and keep them from ever contacting you again, which is precisely what you can achieve with generic and impersonal voicemail greetings. As already mentioned, you often have only one chance to make a decent first impression — make sure you take full advantage of that chance and personalize your messages.
#8 Provide your callers with relevant information
Speaking of the essentials — provide your callers with relevant information. They should be able to tell right away whether they dialed the right number and if there’s anybody available to take the call.
Personalizing your after-hours voicemail greetings in a nutshell
- Take care of the quality of your messages
- Don’t bore your callers — keep it short, simple and up-to-date
- Include all the essential details your caller needs (company name, opening hours, any anomalies at a given moment)
- Explain why you can’t take the call, suggest the next steps and alternative contact methods
- Encourage the caller to leave a voicemail, stating their identity and phone number
- Use a powerful call center solution to create customized voicemail messages
- Get creative!
While a short recording may not seem that important, it can truly make a difference for your customers. Don’t lose them over a voicemail! Instead, invest a little effort in personalizing your after-hours voicemail greetings and make a great impression on your callers while you’re at it.
Luckily, personalizing your after-hours voicemail greetings doesn’t have to be difficult, especially if you take advantage of proper call center software. With CloudTalk’s Voicemail feature, you can set up personalized messages and make sure your callers feel attended to, even if you’re not exactly available to take the call.
Plus, inbound calls can be easily routed to voicemail, allowing your customers to leave a message, which can even be sent directly to a specific member of your team. If there’s any new message left by a customer, you will find it right away in the list of missed calls and the voicemail history, available to be played directly from your browser — anywhere and anytime.
Basically, with the right software, you can use various setting options and make your voicemail more efficient. This way, your customers will always be informed and assured that someone responds to their issue as soon as possible, while notifications and metrics will help you keep up with their needs, no matter when they call. Make sure there are no calls left unanswered — improve your customer service and encourage your callers to leave a message.
The Bottom Line
As we’ve outlined in this article, making sure you have high-quality voicemail greetings is really very important. Apart from paying attention to what you’re actually saying — which you certainly should — you should also put effort into how you say it. Basically, the messages you record should be clear, authentic, and nice to hear for your customers. This way, they will be more willing to contact you again or leave a voicemail.
Last but not least: Stand out! Try to record an attractive voicemail and don’t be afraid to add some “humanity” and humor to it (only if it suits your brand image, that is).