At Websystems, we have IP phones that forward our voicemail messages to our email addresses. This is very convenient, since we can forward the message to the appropriate person easily. The voicemail notification also contains any special information entered by the caller, such as confidential or urgent.

Naturally, when I saw a voicemail marked urgent in my inbox, I listened to it right away. It could be a client with a problem that is keeping his team from working.

It wasn’t.

About 20 seconds into the message, I realized the call was not an emergency; it was a sales pitch, for an outsourced sales call service. I immediately stopped listening to the message and deleted it.

My only regret is that I didn’t catch the product’s name. If I had, I would have made sure I never buy that product or any product from that company.

Leaving a fake urgent message to make sure I listen to it is disrespectful. It’s bad salesmanship. While it did get me to listen to the message, it had the opposite effect. It convinced me never to buy the very product he was trying to sell.

You get only one chance to make a good first impression.

He blew it. This salesperson blew it for his product and his whole company. If he had left me a regular voicemail message, I would have called back, if only to let him know whether we are interested in the product. It’s the decent thing to do.

The first contact with a potential client is so crucial. The impression they will get of your company and your product will be shaped by the way they feel they are treated on that first contact.

Guess who’s the first contact? Sales. Sales is one of the most important parts of the customer service team. They should be held up to the same standards of respect, courtesy and integrity as the rest of the company.