I don't seem to get a ton of questions from friends or clients about how they should manage voicemail until they call me and hear my voicemail greetings. Voicemail is one more inbox that has to be managed in the scope of our productivity. In this article I'm going to share my feelings about how to manage voicemail along with my own scripts I currently use to help drive the right actions.
Voicemail Productivity Thoughts
- Phone calls are generally speaking distractions. They interrupt you in the middle of highly focused activity. In an ideal world you want to limit distractions and while you can't always influence the time when others call you, you can choose to let it go to voicemail so as not to cause a distraction when you are in the middle of a high priority task
- When I send someone to voicemail I need to train that caller to work based on my system of productivity. This is good for the caller since they want a response as quickly as possible and good for me since I can choose how/when I'm going to respond to various inquiries
- People always inflate the urgency or priority of their own requests. Most people who call me always think that whatever they are calling about is urgent and important. By giving them a good voicemail greeting I can force them to re-evaluate how urgent it really is.
- I ALWAYS ask people to be descriptive in their message/email/text. This will avoid emails that say “call me when you can.” I hate those.
- I always prefer an email or text to a voicemail because they imply that I can and should reply via email or text. Voicemails imply that one should respond with a phone call. Perhaps I'm not as social as I should be but the truth is I like the flexibility and it better plays to my schedule and timeline of availability and productivity.
Script for my Office Phone:
You have reached the phone of %Insert name% with %Insert Company name%. I check (or don't check) my voicemail often but the fastest way to get a response from me is to send me an email at %insert email%. Please be descriptive in your email so I can support you in the most effective way possible. If this is an emergency please call my cell phone at %insert cell number%. Thank you.
When I'm Traveling:
You have reached the phone of %Insert name% with %Insert Company name%. I'm traveling and may not check my voicemail often until my return. The fastest way to get a response from me is to send me an email at %insert email%. Please be descriptive in your email so I can support you in the most effective way possible. If this is an emergency please call my cell phone at %insert cell number%. Thank you.
Script for my Cell Phone:
You have reached the phone of %insert name%. Please send me an email. I really don't get to my voicemails very often but if you email me I'll reply in short order. If you don't have my email address send me a text to this number and I'll gladly reply with my email address. If this is an emergency send me a text message with the details so I can respond accordingly. Thank you.