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4 Steps = Great Vacation Message

This Canadian long weekend seems like the perfect time to revisit how to create your vacation voice mail message. After all, summer vacation is coming our way!

In the excitement of summer vacation – or really any vacation – people become, well, thought-less. This can leave customers and prospects stranded while you are away and create misunderstandings and missteps that add to your workload the moment you return.

While it’s true that there’s nothing like that last day of work before a holiday, the focus we have as we “tie up loose ends” and that moment when we’re ready to walk out the door, embrace our well-earned time off. I’m guessing that this moment, the one just seconds away from freedom, is the one in which most of us remember our voice mail – and the need to change the message.

I’ve listened to a lot of vacation messages in my time. Most of them were delivered at the speed of light, many were impossible to understand, several lacked any valuable information and one had so much information I had to call back three times to get all the details.

This has got to stop! All of us hate reaching lousy voice mail messages; all of us are capable of creating great ones.

Here are a few tips that will make reaching your vacation message a joy:

1) Skip all the dates. You know what I mean – “I’m on vacation from … through to…” It causes confusion. Instead, simply state when you will be back at work, i.e.  “I’ll be back at my desk on Monday July 30…”

2) Be honest. You are going on vacation and you deserve to enjoy it without work interruptions. We all deserve this and it’s essential to our health and our creativity. So … don’t say you are monitoring and returning messages unless you mean it. The tone of your voice betrays you when this isn’t true and I know you’re not going to call me back.

3) Speak slowly – and repeat. Many vacation messages include the option to contact someone else, which is great customer service. But it’s totally defeated if the information is given so quickly that neither name nor phone number can be understood. As a rule, we are not prepared to “take a message” when we make outbound calls. Take this into consideration, stating names and phone numbers slowly and clearly, at the same speed it would take you to write them down. Then say them again so your caller can proof what they’ve written down.

4) Sound happy. After all, while I’m listening to your message you are on vacation!

Enjoy your PhoneWork everyone.

3 thoughts on “4 Steps = Great Vacation Message”

  1. Mary Jane you have “hit it on the head” with your Vacation comments. I am extremely pleased that you mentioned fast talking. This is a problem I face much too often not only on the phone but in person as well and I just say that my ears don’t work as fast as the words being said. It is annoying and disrespectful to talk that fast when giving information. I trust your words will change habits!

    • Thank you, Frieda, for sharing your experience with “fast talkers”. Often it is a product of someone’s “to do” list that they carry in their mind, so much to do that they feel they need to rush everything, including their words. I do like your comment about your ears not working that fast and will share it with others. It is a perfect way to ask someone to slow down without criticizing them.

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