Because First Impressions Don’t Always Wait, this month, we take a look at, and listen to, three outgoing messages aka voicemail.
As always, we ask that you first please listen to the three sample outgoing messages (OGMs) below before reading our evaluations.
While doing so, evaluate each OGM using some of the same criteria as when listening to live calls, remembering that, although it is a recorded message, there is a real person receiving that message. Therefore, establishing rapport, conveying empathy, and exuding enthusiasm are as important as ever.
1. OGM Sample 1
2. OGM Sample 2
3. OGM Sample 3
As TAFI Masters already know, your outgoing message constitutes an important aspect of your prospective patient communications strategy. People call when it is convenient for them, not you. That’s why a carefully crafted and delivered outgoing message helps ensure a positive first impression, whenever your next new patient chooses to call.
- Most telephone systems today allow you to specify zero rings when your office is closed. That way, you offer your caller the convenience of connecting with and being able to leave a message for your office that much quicker.
- Avoid Reference to Hours & Other ‘Fluff’ – sharing hours may be appropriate for a dry cleaner or pizza restaurant, but not a dental office. If anything, sharing your hours gives callers one less reason to leave a message.
- The length of your message should never exceed 30 seconds (20 seconds is better).
- Be Enthusiastic! Vary the tone and resonance of your message. Show people you care about them, even when it’s not ‘you’ talking to them.
OGM Sample 1
This office employs several doctors and so has chosen to use an automated attendant to route calls to the desired party. The OGM commences after only one ring, which is good. In this case, it took over 1.5 minutes for the caller to reach the desired party, and was then disconnected! Exactly why is unclear (the caller apparently assumed he would recognize her, but was mistaken). With hope, this is an isolated incident.
The tone of the voice reciting the message is professional, but lacking in enthusiasm. The practice’s tagline is not offered, and the message is rather matter of fact.
OGM Sample 2
It took four rings before hearing this OGM. Again, the tone is rather flat, though the message does offer a nice Holiday wish at the end. At 53 seconds, the message could be shorter (simply removing reference to hours would save some time, although hours were shared quite quickly). Use of the office’s tagline (if you have one) is a great and simple way to exude some enthusiasm about the practice.
OGM Sample 3
Part of the issue here is how carefully a caller needs to listen to know what to be done (the length and inability to actually connect with a live person always raises into question the propriety of referring to it as a ‘hot line’).
As with OGM Sample 1, the tradeoff between automation and loss of the ‘personal touch’ needs to be considered, and a balance struck, which best suits your practice.
Here’s some verbiage to consider in crafting your winning outgoing message (should take no more than twenty seconds to deliver):
where we enhance the health of our community, one patient at a time*
We apologize we cannot take your call at the moment.
Please leave a confidential message, of any length,
so we can return your call, and give you the attention you deserve.
Thanks again for calling. Make it a wonderful day!
*Your Tagline Is: an expression of your Ultimate Value Proposition