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By Nancy Friedman the Telephone Doctor 

If you use your John Wayne imitation on your voice mail message you may have qualified for this year's Top Ten Voice Mail Pet Peeves.

Nancy Friedman, president of Telephone Doctor
, warns that giving "good voice mail" is essential in the workplace today. "This applies to all departments and all industries," said Friedman, a keynote speaker and author on the topic. "Whether it's government, customer service, retail, manufacturing, health care, utility, or any other type of organization, this list is critical in giving and getting voice mail."

Here is the list of Top Ten Voice Mail Pet Peeves, (in no particular order.) Remember please... the automated attendant has it's own list!!

1. Getting dumped into Voice Mail without being asked. 
CURE: Give the caller a choice. Not everyone wants to go to voice mail!

2. "Your call is very important to me..." 
CURE: Let's leave that one out. Callers feel if they're that important, 
then why aren't you there? 

3. Not recording your own greeting. 
CURE: Take the 30 seconds to do your own greeting, or callers feel like 
you don't want to be bothered with them. 

4. Unprofessional, cutesy messages. 
CURE: Leave the John Wayne imitation at home.

5. "Hi, I'm not here right now..." 
CURE: That's not a lot of news. Replace those words with positive information. 
Tell where you are...not where you're not. 

6. Outdated messages. 
CURE: Happy New Year heard in February is embarrassing to all. Take the 
time to change it. You spend more time brushing your teeth than re-recording 
the greeting.

7. Ring and runs. 
CURE: These are people who get voice mail and hang up before they leave 
a message. If you've called someone--leave a message.

8. "Sorry I missed your call..." 
CURE: Of course you are. The caller already knows that you're sorry. Use 
valuable time for other information.

9. Rushing through a phone number. 
CURE: Always give a phone number twice and slowly. 

10. Not giving an escape route. 
CURE: Don't put your caller in voice mail jail! Have a 
place where the caller can reach another person.

Nancy Friedman is a KEYNOTE speaker at conferences and corporate gatherings and author of several books on the topics of customer service and phone skills. You can reach Nancy, president of Telephone Doctor at 314-219-1012 or visit her web site at www.telephonedoctor.com

                                                           ExpertMagazine.com 2001