Upgrading My Standard Messages

I thought it was about time to overhaul my standard voice mail greetings. I’ve been following the same procedure for several years.

An Office Telephone - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/MotoEd, Image #101363

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/MotoEd

I generally update my office phone message daily. I liked providing the current date to let callers know that I was checking my messages regularly. But that has proven to be more trouble than it’s worth.

So, I have now gone to this greeting:

Hi, you’ve reached the voice mailbox of Mike Hyatt. Please note: you can bypass this message at any time by pressing “1.” I’m sorry I am not available right now; however, your call is very important to me. If you’ll leave a message, I’ll get back to you at my first opportunity. If you need faster service, please send me an e-mail at mhyatt at thomasnelson.com or press “0,#” and speak with my assistant, Vicki. Thanks.

Note that I am trying to redirect people to e-mail. This is much more efficient to me than playing the inevitable phone tag, going through the usual chit-chat when we finally connect, and then getting to the reason for the call. Granted, sometimes calls—or even face-to-face meetings—are necessary. But in my experience, 90% of calls or meetings could be better handled via e-mail.

My cell phone greeting is similar, except that you can’t bypass the message by pressing “1”:

Hi, you’ve reached the voice mailbox of Mike Hyatt. I’m sorry I am not available right now; however, your call is very important to me. If you’ll leave a message, I’ll get back to you at my first opportunity. If you need faster service, please send me an e-mail at mhyatt at thomasnelson.com or call my assistant, Vicki, at (555) 555-5555. Thanks.

A few days ago, I wrote about trying to break my e-mail addiction. It is working out remarkably well. However, I have now shortened by auto-responder message. I want to set people’s expectations, but I don’t think I need to go into the long rationale I was previously providing. Here is my current one:

Hi,

I have received your e-mail message. However, I am not currently online.

Just so you know, I generally read and respond to e-mail twice a day—usually in the middle of the workday and then again before I leave the office. I do not check e-mail in the evenings or on weekends.

If you need faster response than this—and your request is truly urgent—call Vicki Parr, my assistant, at (555) 555-5555 or call my cell phone.

Kind regards,

Mike

Changing these messages is part of my continuing quest to be more productive and yet get people what they need.

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