TelephoneWhat impression are callers getting when they reach your business after hours? A well-crafted voicemail greeting can help you impress customers and potential clients even when you’re not able to pick up the phone.

Here are some musts-haves and additional suggestions for an excellent after-hours greeting.

  • Up the friendliness factor. A warm tone and a welcoming greeting are a key for every call, and especially important for those you’re not able to answer. If you’re not sure your company’s greeting exudes plenty of we’re-so-glad-you-called energy, ask a trusted friend to call and give an honest opinion.
  • Start with the basics. If you’re not around to answer, your caller will surely want to know when you will be, so always include your business hours just after stating your company name: Thank you for calling ABC Company! Our business hours are…
  • Ask for what you need. Who hasn’t gotten the voicemail jitters and forgotten to include a phone number (or even a name) when leaving a message? Lend your callers a hand by politely asking for their contact info, along with anything else you might need to take care of business. Try adding your friendly request just before the beep: Please leave your name, telephone number, and account number at the tone. We’ll be happy to return your call!
  • Extra credit: Offer help. If your after-hours callers commonly have the same questions or issues, consider pointing them in the direction of an immediate solution. Perhaps you have an online FAQ page that could serve as a helpful reference until you’re able to return a call. You know your callers best — think about what after-hours callers might want to know, and do them a favor by adding it to your voicemail greeting.
  • Extra credit: Include an emergency option. If there’s a potential for urgency, you may want to let your callers know how to contact you after hours or offer contact information for another company or individual who can help when your doors are closed. Your dedication to customer service doesn’t have to wane when you’re away from the phone!