“Hi, this is Lee Rosen. I’m out of the office until October 5. I will not be checking my voicemails and returning calls until October 6. If you need immediate assistance, please press 7 to reach my assistant. Thanks for calling.”
That is NOT a message you’re likely to hear on my voicemail.
Mostly I say that I’m in the office all day. I make it clear that I’ll return the call as soon as I’m able.
Now, truth be told, I’m almost never in the office. I’m running from place to place, and I spend a fair amount of time out of town.
So why do I say that I’m in the office?
Because, while I get many voicemails each day, there is really only one kind of voicemail that I want to be absolutely certain gets left in my box. Those important voicemails are the messages from potential clients.
I really want potential clients to leave a message so we can call them back and bring them in for an initial consultation. Everyone else will leave a message either way: I don’t have to encourage them. They call and call and call.
What I don’t want to happen is for potential clients to hear that I’m out of the office and decide to call someone else. I want them to give us a chance to help them, so I tell them I’m available.
When they leave a message, if I’m truly busy, I forward it to someone on our team who will return the call immediately and explain my unavailability. Hopefully, we’ll schedule them for a consult, and they’ll retain us.
So yes, when I’m on vacation, I check my voicemails and do some forwarding. I don’t completely unplug. I’m sure that contradicts the advice of some work-life balance experts. Sorry.
However, I do make it a bit easier on myself. My voicemails are automatically transcribed by my phone provider. If you don’t have that service as part of your phone package, you can buy it from PhoneTag. This service does a great job.
When I’m out of the country or otherwise unable to keep an eye on my voicemail, I give someone else in my office access to my e-mail box (where my voicemails live) so that person can check it and do the forwarding. Basically, my message tells prospective clients and everyone else that I’m always available. In fact, I am always available because we always have someone who can handle the problem, no matter what it might be.
Are you turning away business through your voicemail message? Is that really what you intended to do?