January 30 is one of those quirky made-up holidays, "Inane Answering Machine Message Day." But let's be honest. That's every day for a whole lot of businesses, homes and cellphones. 

vvx-400-08Here are four ways to avoid making callers roll their eyes or hang up:

  1. Go pro. There's a lot of affordable professional voice talent out there. To help our customers avoid celebrating this holiday, Fonality partnered with Snap Recordings to make going pro easy as pie. There's even a link right in our Heads Up Display (HUD) Web Control Panel. In just a few simiple steps, your callers will think you're a fancy pants big business for as little as $50.

  2. Write a script. Not ready to foot the bill for voice talent? Write out what you want to record based on what callers need to know most. It may also include hours of operation or instructions to dial different extensions. Recruit the employee with the best phone voice to record the greeting. If bragging rights aren't enough to entice him or her, sweeten the deal with a coffee shop gift card or lunch on you.

  3. Be brief. Even your family doesn't want to hear you drone on. Read your script out loud, running a timer as you go. Play it back, imagining you are one of your customers. Did you include what you would want to know in their shoes? Would you be bored if it wasn't your business? Note: If you aren't sure, time the greetings for your favorite store or your bank. Then aim to match the length of ones that don't make you crazy.
  4. Practice, practice, practice. As in all things, practice makes perfect. Read the script out loud a few times before you record it. Are there words you stumble over or sounded better on paper? Tweak your script and try it again. Once you've recorded, play it back to make sure the recording is as good as its job as you are.

Of course, that won't fix other people's bad outbound messages. When you run into inane voicemail greetings in the wild, try these tips to skip straight to the beep.