When I get bookings for Groupon Strategy Calls, typically they’re with massage therapists who want to get more clients. Sometimes when I call at the scheduled time, I get their voice mail greeting. Often, that gives me a clue about why they’re struggling to build their practice.
Voice mail’s popularity isn’t what it used to be (I’ve often said that the growth of the massage industry is due to the invention of the answering machine). Many people don’t even bother checking it anymore. Potential clients who contact you by phone will probably be older. That means three things:
- They’re more likely to have aches and pains you can relieve.
- They’re more likely to have extra time and money to spend on massage.
- This is the way they’re used to communicating with their massage therapist, meaning they’ve been receiving massage for a long time and know it works for them.
Not having a voice mail greeting that supports their search for a massage equals flushing money down the toilet. Granted, these leads may be a small percentage of those who contact you but they represent a demographic that’s more likely to want ongoing treatment. Take a quick listen to your current voice mail greeting and see if it meets these criteria:
- It’s less than a minute long. When someone needs relief from tension and pain, they want to decide quickly whether or not we can help. A rambling greeting tells callers we can’t organize our thoughts and don’t value their time.
- Includes your name, the name of your business and identifies you as a massage therapist if your business name doesn’t include the word massage. For example, “Hi, you’ve reached [your name], massage therapist (if your business name doesn’t include the word massage) with [your business name].” This lets the caller know they have reached the right number. Not including this information says, “I’m not really serious about growing my practice because I don’t care if you know who you’re calling.”
- Contains the information you’ll need to reply efficiently, such as their name, phone number, day and time they’d like to book, and length of service. Asking for these details allows us to minimize phone tag should we get their voice mail when we call them back, which tells them we want to help. Not being specific about what we need to answer their request sets us up for poor communication.
- Includes your website, providing the option to get more information and schedule online (if available). This way, they can self-serve should they have questions about your rates, schedule, or services and book their own appointment, which saves time for both of you.
- Thanks them for calling and assures them you will return their call as soon as possible (be sure you do so you’re not giving false expectations). Depending on your community, there may be lots of massage therapists they could have contacted. We want them to know we’re grateful they chose us.
- If you will be unavailable to answer your phone for more than one day (perhaps during a family emergency or just checking out for a while), you may want to change your greeting so callers know you won’t be getting back to them that day. This tells them you value their interest but may need more time than is courteous to respond. Set a reminder on your phone to switch back to your default greeting when your normal life resumes (I have my greeting written down but your phone service provider may allow you to switch back and forth).
I have mixed feelings about saying something like, “I’m either with a client or away from my phone.” On one hand, it reminds callers that we don’t answer our phone while we’re in session. On the other, the reason we aren’t answering isn’t really relevant. I do apologize for missing their call because I want them to know it’s important to me.
Missing out on clients can be as simple as not being clear about who they are calling and how they can get more information. Although this may seem old school, it’s an important detail. Making it easy for clients to reach me and responding promptly is a nonnegotiable component to growing and sustaining the practice that I love!
What else do you think an effective voice mail greeting should say? If you don’t see a comment box below, please click the Leave a comment/comments link to share. Thank you!
Check out this post from Elicia Crook for more ideas to create a voice mail greeting that delivers.