One of the most frequently asked questions we get is "how do you get people to call you back?" It is arguably one of the most frustrating issues of our business. At Virtual Office Systems we have been answering this question for over 10 years and I must say, our answer has evolved over that time. This article will give you a clear and effective answer to a very important question.

Before we delve in to how to get people to call us back, we must first understand why many of them don't. Case in point, I received a voicemail message not long ago from a woman who mentioned something about her son playing on my travel baseball team.

There were a few inherent problems with her message. First of all, she did not leave her name. Secondly, her message to me was a series of seemingly unconnected sentences. As the receiver, I did not understand what she was asking or wanting me to do. Finally, she left her phone number one time, speaking rather quickly. So far, I haven't called her back.

Now, you're probably saying, well of course, but who would leave such an ineffective voicemail message? My answer, unfortunately, is ... most people.

After many years of closely examining this problem, we have identified the top reasons people do not return phone calls. They are as follows:

Talked too fast, slurred words, unclear purpose of call, did not leave name, left phone number too fast and only ONCE, not warm at all and finally, no urgency or call to action.

So, if you do the opposite of the errors listed above you should get more return phone calls, right? Absolutely! But, we didn't stop with just identifying what not to do. We have also clearly recognized the elements that make up a perfect voicemail message. Sounds interesting? Before we give the "final answer", imagine hearing this voicemail message on your answering machine:

Hello, this is Mark Helsel, calling from Altoona PA. This call is for Mr. Robert Black. Mr. Black, the reason for my call is you had completed an online survey regarding your personal health. I spent some time reviewing your survey and there are a few things that I need to discuss with you regarding your survey. I'd like for you to please return my call no later than 5:00 pm on Friday, March 15th. It's very important. The number for you to call me back is 814 932 4178. Again that's 814 932 4178 Thank you very much. I look forward to speaking with you.

Would you return this message? I'll be sure you would. You may not know exactly why, but we do because we have identified the top reasons people DO return phone calls. They are:

They know the person leaving the message, they trust the person leaving the message, they are interested in learning more, they have respect for the person leaving the message, they are curious, they understand the message, the person leaving the message sounds professional and warm, there is a deadline.

In fact, if you breakdown this simple message it has all the elements of an effective voicemail message. Here is a check list. See for yourself.

___ Your name

___ Where you are calling from

___ Who you are calling for

___ The purpose of the call

___ The reason to call back

___ When they should call back (urgency)

___ Return phone number

___ Warm ending

If you want to leave voicemail messages that get return calls on a consistent basis, use these practical tips and you will see your numbers of people returning your calls rise dramatically.