Callers are often frustrated when the phone rings and rings, and then all they get is voice mail--even when you are at your desk. Sometimes this is unavoidable since when you are on the phone with another caller, the phone may have to ring several times before voice mail picks up. The best solution is to have a good voice mail message. Here is a sample of a good voice mail message:
"You have reached the voicemail of John Jones, coordinator of special services at Northern Virginia Community College. It is Monday, July 28, and I am in the office. I am either on another call or briefly away from my desk. Please leave a message and I will call you right back. If you need immediate assistance, please call Mrs. Nancy Nova at 555-1234."
Here are the things that make it effective, and that should be in all voice mail messages:
· It starts by identifying whose voice mail has been reached. (If it is a departmental number, it should be sure to give the department name.)
· It indicates that he is in the office but either on the phone or away from his desk, and if the caller leaves a message he will call right back. Ideally, you would record the message daily and include the day and date in the greeting so the caller knows it is current. You can easily have a second message for when you are not in the office. (Also, be sure to call people back promptly or make sure the message knows when they can expect a callback.) *
· It tells whom they can call if they need immediate assistance. (This is very important in all NVCC voicemail messages!)
* The voice mail system allows you to store and use several different greetings. So, if you are going to be away from your desk for any length of time, let the caller know not to expect an immediate callback. Put a note on your calendar or on your phone reminding you to change your voicemail message when you return. To work with your greetings, push the "Messages" button on the phone and follow the prompts. For further assistance, you can contact the IT Help Desk.
Picking Up a Ringing Phone Within 4 Rings
Some people have reported problems using call pick-up to answer another person's ringing phone within the 4 rings before it transfers to voice mail. The number of rings can only be set for all the phones on a campus and must be either 4 rings or 8 rings. Most people feel 8 rings are too many. Instead, here are several tips.
· Make sure to specifically ask someone to answer your phone when you are going to be away from your desk. Then, they will know to use call pick-up on the first ring instead of waiting for 3-4 rings before realizing they need to pick up for you.
· Transfer your phone to another number when you are going to be away from your desk. This eliminates the need for call pick-up.
· Practice using call-pick over and over so it becomes almost automatic.
· For busy departmental phone numbers where these tips do not solve the call pick-up problem, contact the IT Help Desk and ask to have an ITSS Engineer see about adding an additional line. By having an unanswered call rollover from the original number to the new number on the same phone, it will provide 4 additional rings and increase the time for someone to pick-up the phone. It is also a good idea for these numbers to have a distinctive ring so others in the office know to pick them up when they hear more than 2-3 rings.
Transferring Calls When a Second Call Comes In
When you are on a call and a second call comes in, you can place the first call on hold and answer the second call. However, it is not possible to transfer the second call to another number. Here are two tips:
· Ask the second caller to Hold until you finish with the original caller, then transfer the second caller after you hang-up with the first caller.
· Let the second caller know that you cannot transfer them directly. Then, give second caller the number they need to reach and ask them to dial the number directly.
Transferring a Voice Mail When You Know the Extension Number
The standard prompt for transferring voice mail asks you to spell the name of the person you are trying to reach. If you already know their extension, just hit the # key twice and it will let you enter the extension number instead.
Dealing with High Volumes of Incoming Calls on Published Departmental Numbers
Contact the IT Help Desk and ask to be considered for a having a call queue set-up to hold multiple callers so you can answer each in turn. This is not for individual extensions. It is only for published departmental numbers that receive high call volumes.
Still Have Phone Problems, Who Should You Contact
Send a request to the IT Help Desk and ask for phone consulting support. Also, briefly describe the problem(s) you are having.