Voicemail, previously known as an answerphone machine, was developed in the 1930s and was widely adopted by businesses in the 1980s. It’s still widely popular but has had a bit of a facelift since its creation. What are these improvements and how can restaurants take advantage of professional voicemail to increase their revenue? Let’s find out…
What is a Professional Voicemail?
A professional voicemail is an automated answering service. It should include the following list of requirements for businesses, like your restaurant, in order to be successful:
01. A message that communicates meaningful and helpful information to your customers.
02. The message must sound perfect and create a positive impression of your restaurant.
03. The length of ringing before the message is played (and the message itself) is automatically adaptable for different times, days and purposes.
04. Voicemail messages trigger an instant notification (on the handset, PC, or smartphone app) and can be accessed and listened to easily and instantly from anywhere in the world.
05. The voicemail system should (if wanted) give restaurants the option for customers to “press 1 to be connected to the manager for out of hours service” if this is offered.
These are the high standards we set for ourselves when we reinvented the modern-day business voicemail.
Top 9 Reasons Why Professional Voicemail Is Important for Restaurants
Still not convinced that your restaurant needs a professional voicemail? Here are 9 reasons you should consider having one:
01. It helps you provide an excellent service to your customers.
02. It enables seamless communication with your customers which ultimately leads to more bookings at your restaurant.
03. The message that plays can help customers get the information they need.
04. A well-thought-out voicemail message gives you another opportunity to make money by promoting or upselling.
05. It shows customers you care about them and making their interaction with you simple and easy.
06. It satisfies customers and builds trust in your restaurant.
07. It can create a positive and professional impression in your customer’s mind.
08. It makes it possible to contact customers quickly and efficiently, and ensure they are still customers.
09. It’s the perfect opportunity to outshine other restaurants in your area that don’t have one and provide a better caller experience.
Questions you Should Answer Before Deciding how to set-up Your Restaurant’s Professional Voicemail
In this section we’ll look at the different features professional voicemail offers restaurants, and discuss the best ways to use them.
How Many Different Messages do we Need?
Is one message for any time of the day enough? Probably not. Let’s look at why.
By only having one message which plays both when you’re open and closed, your message will not be specific enough to deliver the correct communication to your customers. The message will also be tediously long.
Two messages usually hits the spot. One message for when you’re open but can’t answer and another message for when you’re closed. This way you can tailor the message to deliver useful, relevant information to your customers (it’s worth noting that modern Yo Telecom Phone Systems automatically switch between open and closed voicemail messages depending on the time and day of the week – so your customers always hear the correct message).
How do you Communicate a Meaningful and Useful Message to Customers?
The first thing you should find out is what do your customers want from a voicemail? Here are some things customers said they want from a restaurant’s voicemail:
– To know they’ve called who they intended to.
– The reason why the call wasn’t answered.
– When they can speak to you (opening hours).
– What alternative methods of communication are available.
– When their call will be returned if they leave a message.
– Guidance on what they should do to speak to you as quickly as possible.
Don’t try to fit all of those points into one message, otherwise it will be too long. Instead, decide which points are most important for different times of the day and create a message around what is important to you and more importantly your customers.
With the above information, you can start to tailor a meaningful message for your customers (or if you switch to Yo Telecom our talented script writers will do this for you).
Here are two examples of the types of message we can create for you:
OPEN VOICEMAIL MESSAGE
“Thank you for calling [name of restaurant]. We’re sorry we can’t take your call. We are currently busy helping other customers. We aim to return all calls within one working hour, so please leave us a message with your name and number and we’ll be in touch shortly.”
CLOSED VOICEMAIL MESSAGE
“Thank you for calling [name of restaurant]. We’re sorry we can’t take your call right now, we are currently closed. Our opening hours are [insert opening hours]. Please leave us a message after the tone and we’ll give you a call back as soon as we are open”
Will Returning Calls Promptly Lead to Happier Customers and More Revenue?
To be perfectly honest with you, yes. But why?
Professor James Oldroyd of MIT discovered that if you call back within 5 minutes of a customer’s enquiry, you are 100 times more likely to reach the client as opposed to calling back after 30 minutes.
If you miss a call and take too long to call back, all it takes is for that potential customer to Google ‘restaurants near me’ and they might just end up in that swanky new Italian restaurant that opened up down the road last week instead. This then turns into a missed opportunity for you and a loss in revenue.
Let’s think of a scenario:
A potential customer leaves you a voicemail message late Sunday night, enquiring about booking a table at your restaurant for 8 people for her 50th birthday, and she’s expecting to hear back from you when you open on Monday.
But you have a Yo Telecom hospitality phone system in your restaurant and get the voicemail instantly emailed through to you. You listen to it and are able to call back immediately. By doing this you exceed that prospective customer’s expectations on the first interaction with them. Which will stick in their mind. You don’t just say you offer great service, but you prove to this caller that you offer great service. What happens next? They repay you with that prestigious 5* Trip Advisor review and tell all their friends about you and the great service they received!
Should we Give Customers the Option to Speak to us Directly out of Hours?
If you offer an ‘out of hours’ service, you want to make it easy for your customers to contact you.
If you don’t, here are some things to consider:
01. It’s extremely valuable for both customers and your restaurant.
02. It differentiates your restaurant from the competition.
03. It can be a good (and sometimes untapped) source of new customers.
04. You can be on call for any issues or problems that might arise at your restaurant.
However, most restaurant owners and managers do not want customers to have their mobile numbers (even if they offer out of hours services), which is understandable. You don’t want a wake-up call in the early hours of Saturday morning because Mrs Peters has just remembered she needs to cancel her booking. So what is the solution for this?
Time-specific voicemail messages that will let your customers press 1 to be connected to the manager for out-of-hours enquiries. With these, you choose the hours that the messages play i.e. the hours you’re happy to provide an out of hours service. For example, this could be 2 hours before you open and 2 hours after closing.
A professional voicemail has many benefits for both customers and restaurants. Here at Yo Telecom, we can provide your business with everything that was mentioned in this blog post and more. Interested in hearing more? Just drop your details into the form below and a member of the team will be in touch!