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Please … Don’t Forget Your “Receptionist”

receptionist speaking on phone behind desk

For many, many years receptionists were an exclusive perk of the upper echelon of the business world. As an employee moved up the “corporate ladder”, they reached a point where someone else started answering their phone.

You can witness this in television series and movies (Mad Men, for example, or much further back, Bewitched).

And then … voicemail arrived. Now, courtesy of technology, we all have our own receptionists and there has never been a more important time to make sure they are fully informed and updated regularly.

Why is this more important than ever? And how can you keep your receptionist fully informed?

Our global pandemic has created a bit of chaos when it comes to reaching people. We no longer know if a company or government department or store is open. Or, we may know that staff are working, but are they onsite, are they able to answer the main phone number?

And even as we re-open, confusion remains. Some staff are not returning; they continue to work from home. The hours of some stores and offices have changed due to reduced staff. There are endless combinations and constant changes to when and how to we can reach people.

Since March, most of us have had the experience of calling somewhere and listening to the phone ring more than usual. Then, when the voicemail message begins, we start to wonder:

  • Is this the most current information?
  • Is anyone picking up messages?
  • Is this automatically forwarded to someone working from home?
  • Should I search for another phone number?

The result? Doubt and confusion for clients and prospects – and lost opportunities for businesses.

The quick fix is updating your voicemail message. The shifts and changes created by this pandemic are not going away anytime soon. It is important that we stop assuming our customers know what we’re doing, that they’ve read the notices on our website, that they are keenly listening to news updates.

Here are a few ideas:

  • If your office phone number is now automatically forwarded to your cellphone, your voicemail message might say “As of July and August 2020, I continue to work from home and you have automatically reached my cell.  I’m checking messages daily and will return your call as soon as possible.”
  • If your office phone is not forwarded, your voicemail message might say “For July and August 2020 this voicemail is not being monitored. You can reach me directly on my cell at 902-555-5555. That’s 902-555-5555. Apologies for any inconvenience.”
  • If your main line is answered or monitored less frequently, your voicemail message might say “For July and August 2020, we continue to organize everyone’s return to work. Know that we will receive your message and that we will return your call as soon as possible.”

Think of it this way … if you were paying a receptionist to answer your phone today, what would you have them say? What information would you ask them to share with your callers to create clear communication? How would this receptionist make all of your callers feel valued and provide them with a positive experience of your company, store or restaurant?

Whatever your answer, simply dial a few numbers and allow your voicemail to greet, inform and inspire.


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What's The Phone Lady doing?

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  • Sales training on outbound calls for financial advisors
  • Auditing phone conversations and creating phone communication protocols manual for Atlantic Canadian natural resource company
  • Custom communication workshop on the working with compassion, self-awareness, emotional triggers and detachment in both conversations and email for a Canadian university
  • Cold calling for lead generation marketing firm
  • Cold calling for corporate education specialist
  • Creating and delivering phone etiquette module for new industry-specific college

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