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MyOnlineToolbox cofounder
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One of the topics during our recent webinar for Ideas for Contractor Website Leads was to ensure you have a phone number on each webpage. But more interesting is the number of thank you comments I got for reminding people to check their voice messages - a main reason why contractors can lose a future customer.

The worst so far is a client who actually has a great website that generates leads, but he did not realize his voice message said very nicely ... "We are on vacation until next week and do not have access to voice messages, please call back when we return". That message was forgotten and stayed active for many months. Wonder how many prospects decided to call back? Existing customers still left messages (since they already have paid) but not many prospects did. Hmmmm.

I get so many free sign ups and try to call almost every one of them - and here is what I go through on a weekly basis:

- An automatic message set up by the phone provider (#1 occuring) :rolleyes:
- Absolutely no greeting whatsoever and just go directly to voicemail (many times) :sad:
- "The Voice Mailbox of the person you are trying to reach is full, please call back again" (many times) :whistling
- "I'm not here, leave a message"
- "Hey, you know what to do." :jester:
- "We are working on a job, tell us whatcha need and will get back when we can"
- "We are on vacation returning (some date months ago) ...."
- And some others that I really do not know what to write down here :censored: , silly, sad and downright so far from business that I honestly do not know how they have any customers.

And there are some really nice ones :thumbup: saying "You have reached ABC company, we are out servicing other customers, your call is important so please leave your name, number and a general description of how we can help, and we will call you back as soon as we can. Also, please leave an email address so we can have another method to reach you after hours. Thanks for calling ABC."

Pay attention to the use of the words "we" above. Even if you are a one man show, it is OK to promote yourself as a company. It helps even with potential negotiating. Someone will eventually ask "Is this the best you can do?" and you have an out where you can say "I need to review it with my associate and will get back to you." It is always better to build a bigger image from the beginning rather than projecting a one-man show before meeting someone. "We" always beats "I" when it comes to building a company.

So go check your voice message now to make sure it is inviting to a prospect.

And if you are changing it for vacations, mark down on your calendar a reminder to change it as soon as you are back. Good luck everyone.
Brian
 

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My Voice Mail:

My voice mail says, "DO NOT LEAVE A MESSAGE". It tells the caller that I answer my phone 24/7. It tells the caller that I do not check my voice mail, to call back in a few minutes, and it gives the caller two other phone numbers to call so they can reach a live person.

While this may sound unprofessional that is the way it works best for myself. The problem I have with voice messages is my phone doesn't stop ringing for one minute and it is impossible to answer the phone and listen to voice messages at the same time. It makes no sense to listen to messages because as I am listening to them more messages are coming in and I don't have time to call people back. I can cut my phone use time by about 75% by having the people call back, and/or by having them call one of my employees who do well on the phones.

Answering the phone calls the right way is one of the most critical parts of our business. No customer should ever have to listen to any type of message and they should always reach a live person, but there are many trade-offs. I use many sub contractors and when I am calling them from a list I almost always hang up the phone as soon as I hear a voice message because I don't want to wait and very few contractors call back. I need answer within minutes and not hours, or days. This is the reason I tell my customers to call back in a few minutes, or for faster service they can call one of two other numbers.

My phone holds 20 voice messages. I empty it about once a month and I virtually never listen to one of the message.
 

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Going through the prompts to access your voicemail is time consuming. I would prefer if no one left messages unless it was actually important. I see that you called, I will call you back. The exception, of course, is for new customers and critical information. I'm 30, I prefer texting the other trades and phoning the customers.

My Iphone IOS6 has a cool feature for voicemails, instead of having to listen to them all and push 7 or 9 or whatever, It shows the names as a list and has a scroll bar underneath so I can see how long the message is and rewind with ease. It holds all the voicemails right in your phone memory so it never gets full.
 
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