Most telephone answering services will give you the ability to customize your greeting, or how the answering service agents answer when they pick up the phone. An effective greeting is one of the most important factors to the success of the answering service campaign. How callers are greeted sets the tone for everything else that follows. So, how are the best answering services guiding their customers on how their phones should be answered?
We asked a range of experts from our own company – including customer service team members, operators, and sales staff – for their best tips. This article highlights our team members advice on every possible greeting type – from answering calls during business hours to the best ways to answer them after hours to how the service should answer if they’re managing your calls 24/7. You’ll learn our best tips in a fraction of the time it would take you to learn what works and what doesn’t by trial and error.
Greeting advice if the answering service is only answering during business hours
If your answering service will be handling calls explicitly during business hours, I tell customers to include that information in their upfront greeting. That way, your callers will know they are not reaching your actual business directly, and their expectations won’t be as high, plus the calls will be handled faster. Below are some examples of greetings you can implement:
Automated greeting samples: The two examples below are great because not only do they let the caller know they’ve reached the right place, but they also encourage them to stay on the line instead of hanging up and trying to call back later.
- Thank you for calling Cool Air HVAC. If you are getting this message, it means that all of our agents are currently on the line. Please wait and an operator will be with you momentarily.
- Thank you for calling, you’ve reached the overflow line for Smooth Sailing Caribbean Vacations. Please wait for the next available representative.
Live greeting samples: Having your operators say they are with the answering service or having them ask a driving question up front is a good way to discourage callers from asking questions that the operators may not be able to answer, but that the customer may expect if calling during business hours. And, it helps keep the call moving in one direction saving you money!
- Hello and thanks for calling Cool Air HVAC. The office is currently busy, so you’ve reached the answering service. How may I help you today?
- Greetings from the Caribbean! Would you like to book your next vacation today?
Kevin Kozeniewski, Sales Manager
Tips if you have multiple reasons why someone may be calling
If you’ll be using your answering service to handle all inbound traffic, that’s going to result in different call scenarios. Why not add an automatic greeting that allows callers to select which option they are calling for? For example, if they’re calling for sales, they can press 1. If they’re calling with a billing issue, they can press 2. IVRs are a great way to help streamline calls without eating up live operator talk time. Below are some examples of IVRs you can implement in your own office:
Automated greeting samples: I like to encourage customers to use IVRs when they have multiple departments or call scenarios that may come up. The IVR allows the caller to choose their own path, and decreases the risk of human error as the operators may accidentally transfer to the wrong person or department.
- Thank you for calling Bright Smiles Dental. If you’re calling to schedule, cancel or reschedule an appointment, press 1. If you’re calling for our billing department, press 2. If you’re calling for the doctor, please press 3. For all other inquiries, please press 4.
- Thank you for calling Jefferson Automotive. If you’re calling for parts, please press 1. If you’re calling for service, please press 2. If you’re calling to schedule a showing, please press 3.
Live greeting samples: Unless your answering service script is super simple, adding a screening question in the live greeting is a great way to steer the call and helps keep the operator in control of the interaction. And if you have many reasons why someone may be calling, having your #1 reason stated in the greeting, like ‘are you calling to schedule an appointment’, will lessen the operator decision making process and eliminate most human errors.
- Hello and thank you for calling Bright Smiles Dental. Are you calling to schedule an appointment?
- Jefferson Automotive, this is [OpName]. Are you calling for sales or service?
Courtney Pizzi, Customer Service Representative
Greeting tips if the answering service is handling calls 24/7
If your answering service will be answering and handling calls 24/7, you’ll want your greeting to be on the generic side so that it can account for all types of calls, no matter when they come in. Below are some examples of generic greetings that can be used any time, either with your answering service or in your own office:
Automated greeting samples: When setting up new accounts, I often recommend either of the below examples because it allows our customers to have a lot of freedom with using the service. When you keep your greeting simple, you don’t have to worry about changing it for specific occasions as it can be used for basically any situation, at any time. Keeping things vague is great for around the clock outsourcing.
- Thank you for calling Amazing Grace Hospice, we’ll be with you in a moment.
- Thank you for calling Elevated Elevators. All of our agents are currently on the line, but we will be with you shortly.
Live greeting samples: The two greeting examples below are great for simple accounts that don’t have a specific time frame of using the service. The greetings are generic, and typically what you’d hear on any given day when calling a business.
- Hello and thanks for calling, my name is [OpName]. How may I help you today?
- Elevated Elevators, how may I help you?
Matt Baker, Sales Representative
Greeting advice if the answering service is only handling after hours calls
If your answering service is only handling calls after hours, it’s a good idea to announce that in your greeting so callers are aware. Below are a few examples of greetings you could implement, depending on how you wish to use your after hours service:
Automated greeting samples: For clients who are specifically using our service after hours, I always advise they include that information in their recorded greeting. That way their callers will know that the office is closed before reaching anyone, which helps weed out non-urgent calls and helps keep their monthly invoices low!
- Thank you for calling ABC Plumbing. You’ve reached us after hours. If this is an emergency, please stay on the line to be connected to one of our operators. If it is not an emergency, please call back during normal business hours. Thank you.
- Thank you for calling. You’ve reached the after hours answering service for Johnson Pediatrics. Please remain on the line and someone will be with you in a moment.
Live greeting samples: For customers who may not want a recorded greeting, or for those customers who just want to make it extra clear for their callers that they’re reaching the office after hours, it never hurts to use one of the below examples so callers don’t expect an immediate call back.
- Thanks for calling ABC Plumbing. The office is currently closed for the day, but I would be happy to assist you. How may I help you?
- Hello and thank you for calling Johnson Pediatrics. Are you having an emergency?
Barb Albert, Customer Support Manager