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Is your telephone answer message as bad as this one?

Updated: Apr 17

Which one of these pictures is representative of the voice on your business voicemail greeting?

Is it Dave 1?

A grumpy looking man having to record his business telephone message

He's bored, disinterested and would rather be doing literally anything else.

Or is it Dave 2?

A happy looking man recording his business answerphone messages

This chipper looking chap is welcoming, friendly and engaging.

I don't want to annoy anybody with yet another post about why it's so important to have a decent business answer phone message, so I made a demonstration video (which took me FAR TOO LONG).

Ok, it may be a ridiculous way to get a point across, but it's valid. It sums up what I wanted to say here pretty well.

Buuuuuut if for some reason you don't like watching videos, oh go on then, I'll tell you why bad voicemail greetings are... well... bad.

I included some stats in a previous blog about effective communication. But of course, it's based on face to face contact. Which is why it's imperative to consider this next statement - given the times we're living in, more and more first impressions of a business are being formed on the telephone.

Yeah? So what?

Well, people can't see the person at the end of the line. They have to make a judgement solely on tone of voice and the words being used. Research has shown that it can take as little as a tenth of a second to form an impression of someone when you are looking at their face, so you have to go that extra mile when your face is invisible.

It might seem silly to some, but paying a little attention to your brand image in this area, can really work wonders.

Ask yourself "what is wrong with my voicemail?". Be honest.

If the recording...

  • has echo

  • has a noisy background

  • has a bored sounding speaker

  • has a speaker who sounds like they're reading from a script (which they almost definitely are)

...then the caller won't be getting an immediate feeling of professionalism and will find it harder to put their trust in you. What's worse is, they might not even know why. After all, it's just an answer phone message, right?

Well, actually, no.

It's an opportunity to...

  • represent your brand

  • build confidence

  • build trust

  • communicate effectively

  • give your company a human identity

  • make a positive impact

  • create a good first impression

I'm going to set you some homework now.

1. Have a listen to your answer messages. Are they really showing you in the best light possible? Perhaps a harder way of thinking about this is - do you care what they sound like? Or is it very much a "that'll do" affair?

2. Next time you phone a company, take note of their messages. Are they terrible? If they are, why not try and better them? Are they great? If they are, why not try and better them? On reflection, this is a rhetorical question but I won't mark you down for answering.

I spoke with someone recently who said their business mobile still has the service provider's standard automated answer message. I mean, it's popular, millions of people never change it. But if you phone Dave's printing and hear "you've reached the Vodafone messaging service" it won't sound as swish as it should. Yes, "should".

You should care about them.

You should spend time thinking about them.

You should have the homework finished by tomorrow.


Using a professional voice over artist for telephony work will not break the bank. If you'd like to get in touch to discuss refreshing your on hold prompts or voicemails, I'd love to talk.

If you'd rather not speak to me (because you haven't done the homework), you can purchase business telephone messages from my shop! You'll find office closed voicemail message examples, a selection of different on hold messages and busy messages amongst others.


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Martin Whiskin voiceover artist talking into a Rode NT1-a microphone
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