Even the most dedicated notary can't answer the phone every time it rings. At some point, a notary has to:
Answering the phone during your chosen business hours is, of course, critically important, but it's just not possible that you can answer every single call.
If you can't answer the phone, it's imperative that you have a system in place that let's your customers and prospects know that you're a business that is still interested in serving their needs, even if you can't answer the phone at the time. How do you do that?
I've written extensively about how to answer the phone promptly and professionally (read "Hello…1876 Called and Wants Its Phone Greeting Back here).
But if you can't answer the phone, make sure you one or more of these systems are in place:
Let me answer your first question: No, it is not okay to use the automated greeting your mobile phone carrier pre-recorded for you (You have reached _______. Please leave a message after the tone). And, no, it is not acceptable to use the automated robotic "phone number greeting" (You have reached, 555-555-5555). Here's a little tough love for you...Come on, babe, you're a business! Get with the program and and level-up.
At the minimum, your voicemail greeting should:
If you really want to be a rockstar about it, record your voicemail greeting fresh every day, using the date and your call-back expectations. Let me give you an example similar to one I used in the past:
Hello, you have reached the voicemail for Bill Soroka at NotaryBlu, today is Monday, November 13. I AM available and in the field for mobile appointments today. Please leave me a message and I can usually return your call within an hour. For faster response you can also text me at this number. Thank you and have a great day!
Similarly, you can record a greeting for days when you're not available for service.
Depending on your phone/device, you can create custom text templates that are easy to access and send to callers, texters, emailers, and even direct message customers when you can't give them your full attention at the time. If your device does not have that function built-in to it, you still likely have a "notes" app where you can create a custom message and copy/paste when you need it. If you don't know how to do this, be resourceful and use Google or YouTube to find instructions for your device.
Your message can be short and simple. You're the boss. Try something like:
Thanks for contacting us/me! I'm currently with a client. I'll get back to you shortly.
I know several notaries who have fully embraced the idea that when their phone rings, their cash register dings. Calls are money. So rather than risk losing a job, and the future revenue of that client, they've taken extraordinary measures to make sure the phone gets answered by someone.
If you know you'll be unavailable for a certain time period, here's how call forwarding can work:
These simple systems may seem like common sense, but that doesn't make them common practice. In my boutique signing agency, we call notaries all day long. You'd be surprised how many times we do not encounter any of these three easy systems.
When we reach a notary's voicemail greeting that is either automated or still sounds like a personal line, we don't leave messages. Why? Because the notaries before you have let us down... a lot (you'd be surprised how many do not return calls or respond to texts). And your prospects have been let down too. When customer service levels, across all industries, have tanked (like we're experiencing right now), these extra touches, simple as they are, help you stand out in a sea of sameness.
When you communicate and set proper expectations, prospects and customers are put at ease. You renew their faith that someone may actually call them back.
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