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Sea To Sea

Voice Mail
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Metro Atlanta, GA




Tips for Good Voice Mail Etiquette!

Voice mail and automated attendant can be your business' best friend or worst enemy, depending on how the system is configured. The following information is provided based on years of experience with good and bad configurations.

Automated Attendant Tips

  1. Make the salutation brief. No one likes to listen to 15 minutes of instructions just to learn the choice they wanted was the first option.

  2. Alert users they can immediately dial an extension, then offer other options. Likewise, print business cards with extension numbers. This allows users who are familiar with the system to immediately dial to the extension. This can save your business money on toll-free charges and helps reduce the frustration level of callers who hate to interact with automated attendant.

  3. Always give callers the option to make a keypress to speak with a live operator. This makes the system foolproof and, again, reduces the frustration level of callers who can't tolerate automated attendant. Make sure customers then speak to a live operator! Don't allow these transfers to go to a mailbox. Instead route them to a hunt group of several extensions to make sure someone answers the call, or send them to an extension that is really a bell on the wall to alert all that an incoming call needs to be answered. Warning: If the first option on the menu is to press 0 to speak with an operator, be prepared that the majority of your callers will bypass the automated attendant and speak with an operator. This will greatly reduce the benefits of having an automated attendant.

  4. Keep the options to a minimum!  If many departments must be listed, make logical use of simple sub-menus.  If the accounting department insists upon 4 options, be sure these are listed on a sub-menu and not all on the main menu.   The object is to keep things simple for callers.  (If supported by your phone system, consider special DID numbers for larger departments so callers will be directed to a 'main menu' greeting for the desired department.)

  5. Give callers a keypress to repeat the instructions. It's very easy to miss the option you want.

  6. Schedule open and closed salutations. Callers need to know that the business is closed and transferring to an extension will probably not result in the call being answered. Unless your business is large, it is probably not necessary to offer a full set of menu options from the closed salutation. It is more expeditious to offer a one-touch keypress to transfer to "company mailbox" and then have a receptionist retrieve messages the next day and transfer to the appropriate person. Also offer callers keypresses to transfer to audiotext information of frequently asked questions such as fax number, directions to the office, hours of operation, current shipping schedules, sales specials, etc.

  7. Alert callers prior to the auto attendant installation that your company will be installing the system.

Voice Mail Tips

  1. Personalize the mailbox greeting in your voice. Automated attendant and voice mail have been accused of being responsible for eliminating the personal communication touch. Nothing makes this more apparent than transferring to a male company employee's mailbox and having a sweet feminine voice explain that Bruce Macho isn't at his desk.

  2. Change your personal greeting daily. This alerts callers that you care enough about the call to update callers on your whereabouts and that you honestly check your mailbox daily.

  3. Record two personal greetings and toggle between the two, depending on what you are doing. If you're in the office but on the phone, record one greeting to reflect this and use it during business hours. After hours, toggle to greeting two which explains that you are gone for the day.

  4. Check your messages frequently and let callers know that you do this. Let them know when you will return the call.

  5. Respond to messages promptly.

  6. Tell callers how to dial through to another extension (a coworker handling your calls while you are out).

  7. Give callers the option to speak to a live person by pressing a key.

  8. Offer callers the option to skip your personal greeting by touching the assigned skipkey for your system.

  9. Never hide behind your voice mail! Answer the telephone when you are at your desk.

  10. Learn how to transfer callers into other mailboxes or extensions. Also learn how to transfer callers to the main WavMail greeting. What good is a voice mail system if you can't use it?

  11. Learn how to transfer messages to other mailboxes.

  12. This knowledge will also come in handy when trying to educate callers on how to best use the system.

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Etiquette tips may be reproduced if copyright notice is included.