I change my voice mail greeting everyday, so that it references the current day. Why? Because I want people to know that I am on top of my messages and their message is important to me.
Whenever I discover a recurring activity like this, I try to “template” the process. By this I mean that I try to find a solution that represents the optimal way for me to perform the activity.
This is what Michael Gerber in his must-read book The E-Myth Revisited calls working on your business rather than simply working in your business.
I then document the process (which is also a template) and insert it into my “personal procedure manual.” This makes it very easy to pass the procedure along or train someone else. From time to time, I tweak the procedure to improve it.
To template the “change my voice mail greeting procedure, I first automated the process. I started by programming into my cell phone my voice mail telephone number and then all the keystrokes necessary to log in and initiate the ”change your greeting“ feature. I was able to reduce the sequence of twenty-seven keystrokes to two: I press the speed key to dial my voice mail number once, then, once I’m connected, I press a key to initiate the log-in process.
Next, I wrote a simple phone greeting script that I could reuse each day. It goes like this:
- I am in the office, but I’m either on my phone or away from my desk;
- I am in the office but will be in meetings all day;
- I am out of the office on business; or
- I am out of the office on vacation.
However, your call is very important to me. If you will leave a message, I will call you back at my first opportunity. If you need immediate assistance, press zero-pound to speak to my assistant, Vicki Parr. Thanks for calling.
Finally, I memorized the script, using the first bullet point, since that is the one I use most often. This enables me to change my voice mail message first thing in the morning, while I am driving to work. I simply recite it form memory. By now, I can do it in my sleep.