Being Customer-Centric … Even on Vacation!

empty office

Picture this … it’s mid-July or late August. You call a company or individual for some necessary information. They are on vacation, which is to be expected – especially this summer! What’s unexpected, frustrating and annoying is the voicemail message you reach.

The message you reach might:

  • be delivered at the speed of light and impossible to understand, or
  • lack any valuable information, or
  • include so much information that you have to call back multiple times to get all the details you require.

None of us want to create this experience for our customers and prospects. It creates misunderstandings and missteps that can add to our workloads when we return from vacation. It can even jeopardize important relationships.

How can we enjoy time off without leaving our customers and other contacts frustrated?

Here’s how to create a customer-centric vacation message, allowing you to relax and enjoy your much-needed break:

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…”

Be honest.

You are going on vacation and you deserve to enjoy it without work interruptions. We all deserve this, most especially now. 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 your caller will instinctively know that you won’t be calling back.

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 you give the information 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 check what they’ve written down.

Sound happy.

After all, while your clients and prospects are listening to this message … you are on vacation!

Download this mini ebook – Business Messaging Tips for a Tech-free Vacation – for more ways to “turn off” for vacation.


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  • Creating and delivering phone etiquette module for new industry-specific college

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