Ask Winnie: Column 4

Ask Winnie: Column 4

Dear Winnie,

We have voicemail at our company, but it seems like it causes more problems than it solves.

Most of us in the company like voicemail, because it gives us a chance to get something done while we're at our desks.

However, customers are starting to complain that they preferred the old days when they got a human on the phone.

We're afraid that the company president is going to catch wind of these customer complaints and take out our voicemail system. This has happened at one of our competitors.

What can we do to satisify both the customers and our needs?

Confused in Kansas

Winnie Responds

Dear Confused,

Most people like to answer the phone with voice mail; they just don't like to be on the other end. Put yourself in a caller's place. He or she often doesn't know whether you are planning to check your messages in an hour or in a week, or whether you will call back this afternoon, next Friday, or never. And, there is no real guarantee that the message is _really_ received, at least in some people's minds.

Here are a few suggestions to make voice mail more palatable to your callers. First, change your message to suit the circumstance; if you are going out of town, say so. Check your messages often--about every two hours, when possible.

Return your calls and do so promptly, especially ones from customers!

There are other solutions that involve your particular voice-mail system. It won't hurt to bring in some outside expertise to help you maximize your system's features. If used correctly, voice mail can benfit the parties on both ends.

Happy calling!


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