Professional Voicemail Recordings Add Value On the Cheap

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If you route incoming calls to a voice prompt, that recording gives customers their first impression of your business. Keep them interested with a professional voicemail system.

Think that you're saving a lot by using the intern for a greeting? Online services let you get great results without overspending; you could pay about $100, or even less.

Snap Recordings lets you listen to samples from its stable of 60 actors. Some voices get annoying, sounding like Disney forest animals on a sugar high. But with that wide selection, you'll likely find a great option, including accents and Spanish-speakers. (If you still don't like the choices, you can browse a bigger catalog for an extra $150.)

You'll enter a script for your prompts, greeting, or any other need. Snap Recordings charges based on the word count. A quick greeting, up to 70 words, costs $50, while 155 words costs $100. You'll pay $50 for every 50 words over 155, so use your Twitter-inspired skills to create succinct messages.

Snap Recordings includes fields for special instructions to help actors nail pronunciations, acronyms, or other trouble spots. You could also add $50 to include an optional background music track, or just send the script off as-is. Your actor will record the prompt in about 5-7 business days, after which, you'll download the finished file.

Medium and larger-sized businesses likely have phone systems that let you directly upload the greeting. But if you're just shoe-stringing a small business, you could play back the message to a phone in a quiet room, or even connect your PC to a phone line to transfer the message.

It can take a surprising amount of experience to record simple voice prompts, and professional results show. Online actors can give you a great-sounding voice system for much less than you might expect.

Zack Stern is building a new business from San Francisco, where he frequently contributes to PC World.

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