Create a Professional Out of Office Voice Message

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It's summer! Time to  spend quality time with family and friends and to go on vacation. This means that voice messages and emails need to be modified to reflect the out of office status. It is critical that a professional voice message and Out of Office email auto reply be created in order to alert customers and colleagues that we’re taking a break from the business.

More importantly, it is necessary to provide information about how to contact someone in the business while away.

It would be very frustrating for a customer to be turned away and not know how to contact you. It doesn’t matter if your position is in sales, service or even product development. All customer calls are important and need to be attended to in a professional manner.

The content of the email alerting customers and colleagues trying to communicate with you via email should be consistent with the content of the voice message that will greet callers. If you are using Outlook 2010 and are connected via a Microsoft Exchange server, first click on the File tab, then click the Automatic Replies icon. 

This will then begin the process of the creation of a temporary email that is sent out to all that have sent an email while you are out of the office.  The automatic reply is sent out because you have enabled this temporary message. A step by step list of instructions for creating this email can be viewed here: Out of Office email for Outlook Exchange

If you are not connected via a Microsoft Exchange server, the process is slightly different because there is no “Automatic Replies” icon on these types of email accounts.  A step by step guide to creating this same type of email for non-Exchange users can be viewed here: Out of Office for all others

The next step is to create the content of the email that will be sent to all that send you emails while you are away from the office. This email should convey how long you will be out of the office, how you can be reached during your absence (if appropriate) and who in the business to contact instead of you if you do not wish to be reached during your time away from the office.

Example:

Hello,

Thanks for your email.  I am currently out of the office and will return on Monday, December 1.  I will have limited access to email during this time, hence my response maybe slightly delayed.  If you need immediate assistance, please send an email to my assistant, Barbara Colson.  Her email address is bcolson@xyz.com.

Happy Holidays!

Shahira

Microsoft offers templates and other examples that can be found here: Out of Office templates and examples. Don’t forget to turn off this temporary message when you return to the office, otherwise, anyone that emails you after you’re back at the office will continue to receive this same message.

Now that you’ve created the outgoing email, the creation of a similar, consistent outgoing voice message that greets all of your callers is easy. Use the same words from the email, reference who should be contacted in your absence and state when you will be back.

  For the voice message, it is necessary to provide the person’s phone number, instead of their email address.

Example:

Hello,

You’ve reached the desk of Shahira Raineri. Please listen to this entire message. I will be out of the office until Monday, January 5.  If you require immediate assistance, please call my assistant, Barb Colson.  Her phone number is 212-555-xxxx.

I look forward to speaking with you when I return. Thanks.