Why Don’t People Leave Voicemails?

A lot of business owners assume voicemail is as good as a receptionist. It’s a sensible (if flawed) assumption because voicemail mostly works in our personal lives. When people know you well enough they’re comfortable leaving a voicemail, but when they don’t, like in a business setting, they won’t. But why don’t people leave a business a voicemail?

Now, you can come up with statistics to prove anything (78.4% of all people agree), and you might even think that your customers DO leave a voicemail. You might even leave a business a voicemail, but you aren’t your customer. You’re an entrepreneur. You’re special, more prepared to take risks.

Your voicemail message is probably very well-crafted, but it doesn’t matter what the words are; the impression is the important thing.

Imagine you’re at a wedding, party or a networking event. You see someone you’d like to introduce yourself to, they’re sitting alone. You walk over and start to say hi.

They interrupt you.

“Hi. Please write down whatever it is you wanted to say on this pad. I’ll probably read it later.” Would you do it? I know your voicemail message is nicer than that, but the words aren’t important. The customer won’t remember the words of your voicemail. In fact, they probably won’t even hear them. They’ll remember the impression it left them with.

By now you probably have an idea why people don’t leave voicemails:

  • They haven’t spoken to a person so they’ve got no one to trust with their message
  • They wanted to get something done
  • They don’t think it will be heard

What’s the real downside of that? It’s not about how good your message is or how you personally feel about voicemail. It’s not even about whether a customer leaves a message or not. It’s the impression that voicemail leaves your customer with.
Much like the social gathering above, your customer doesn’t know anything else. They don’t know how busy you are. They don’t know you drove an hour to help a client. They don’t know how hard you work to provide a wonderful service.
All they know is that you didn’t answer their call. It’s a bit like leaving the door to your shop closed. All they know is that you’ve turned them away. Unless they have a very compelling reason to try again later, (and they usually won’t) they’ll probably go straight to your competitor.

The only thing worse than treating your voicemail like a receptionist, is treating your receptionist like voicemail.

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