(Article by Laura Biewer, founder of Notary Symposium, owner of At Your Service Mobile Notary, and NNA Training Instructor).
Thank goodness for mobile phones and especially for texting. I wasn’t a mobile notary before they were available, and I know I wouldn’t have been as responsive to clients as I am now. However, I find using this tool is an activity that needs more thought and finesse both in creating your own outgoing message as well as leaving a message for someone else. In addition, how we use texting for business purposes is quite telling.
Creating a voicemail message, particularly for business, is as important to your brand as your business card, email, letters, signage etc. It is imperative the prospective client can confirm they called the right business. Leaving a voicemail is even more important. It is a conversation starter. Upon hearing the one you leave on their device, they should understand who you are and the purpose of your call. I am amazed how many times I receive a message and I don’t know who the caller is, cannot understand their message as there is disruption in the background, or cannot tell what they want. Even more cryptic are the text messages I receive.
Having a poorly delivered outgoing greeting can leave a bad impression with your callers. In addition, leaving a poorly designed voicemail for my clients lacks encouragement to leave me a returned message, may cause extra calls, and they may miss important details as they may just hang up.
Here are my best tips to help you create or leave the perfect voicemail or text and, consequently, a good impression.
Creating a great business voicemail
Speak clearly, at a medium pace and with energy. Make sure there are no competing noises in the background so you are understood.
Include your business name as well as your own name – i.e. ‘You have reached Laura Biewer with At Your Service Mobile Notary’
Indicate your availability: If you will be available shortly or will be unavailable for an extended time. For instance, I am with a client currently, and will get back to you at my next opportunity, or I am out of the office until Monday, if you need service before then please call name @ XXXXXXX
Ask for what you want: please tell me your name, best method to reach you, number or email and why you are calling.
Expected time frame for return call or text: by end of business day for voice or email, or I check text messages continuously.
For NSA work, I recommend these elements:
Leaving the Voicemail
1. Know what you want to say before you place the call. If you want to be the go-to notary, then you have to exhibit competence on all levels. Don’t spoil your confident image by hemming and hawing and filling your messages with “uhhhhs,” and “ummmms.” Consider writing out what you want to say beforehand. If the person picks up, great, you now have some notes to remember what you wanted to talk about. If they don’t answer, you can leave a clear and concise message.
2. Who you are: Loan Signing Agent representing X title company. You would think this would be so basic that it shouldn’t even be mentioned. However, I can’t count the number of times where people go on and on and I don’t even know who’s talking to me until the very end.
3. Phone number: Many people wait until the very end of the message to state their number. This will irritate the receiver of your message because if he doesn’t get it down, he then has to sit through the whole message again to hear it repeated.
4. Why you are calling: In as few words as possible, to get your loan documents/application signed and/or notarized. Is it in regards to confirming or setting an appointment? Are you following up on an assignment?
5. What you need: confirm preset appointment, set up appointment, go over items needed to complete the appointment: i.e. 4pm Tomorrow at address X. I will need Gov Issued Photo ID such as Driver’s License, non driver’s ID, or US passport that is current.
6. Options to communicate: People like choices. You don’t know what kind of person your listener will be, so leave the option on the table. Call, text or email.
7. Repeat your phone number again. Slow Down! People seem to forget that the receiver of their message has to write the number as you say it. Even when you say it slowly, it’s hard to get down the first time and the connection make not be perfect for every number. So repeat it again, so they can check to be sure they got it down right.
Include steps 1-5 as above, modify 6 if you are the texter to offer options to communicate back to you. Omit step 7. Add step 8.
8. Be Brief. Texting is not meant for long conversations. Those types of texts are annoying.
Consider your voicemail and text message as one of the many ways you brand your business. It is a method of communication that should be as professional and engaging as you are in person. We cannot always get to our phone in time to answer personally, so whether it is your own phone’s greeting or you are leaving one, make sure your message exudes confidence, competence and clarity.