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englishivy
May. 19, 2010, 08:13 AM
It's not unusual for me to receive phone calls about trail riding, public horse rentals, pony/birthday parties, etc. My barn phone usually has maybe one or two messages a week with that inquiry. Typically the messages say "I don't know if you do XYZ, but if you do, please call me back at.....". Those messages I ignore b/c the services they want I don't provide, and the lack of my return phone call should be understood by both parties. If they ask for a return call irregardless, I call back and say "Sorry but no".

Lately, however, I've been getting TONS (3-4 a day) of calls with messages that say they are interested in "riding". I call them back, sometimes we play phone tag, and when we finally get to talk, we discover that they want rentals/parties/etc...all the services I don't provide. They'll then ask if I know someone who does, which I honestly say I don't, and the only thing we've accomplished is wasting each other's time.

So I feel like saying on my answering machine a nice little "btw, we do not provide trail rides, pony parties, etc". Would that be in poor tast?

If you were a client looking into services I do provide (boarding/lessons/training/showing) would having that on the machine turn you off to our program?

TIA for your input.

Mayaty02
May. 19, 2010, 08:19 AM
I think if you say it in a professional way, like:

"regretably at this time, we do not provide trail rides or pony parties"


I think it's fine. I would appreciate knowing up front that if I was looking for those, I need not continue to try to get in touch with you.

findeight
May. 19, 2010, 08:44 AM
Not at all. Fact if I was the one looking for that birthday party Pony? I'd appreciate not having to wait for you to not call back.

So you are clear, try something like "Hello this is Valley Farms. We provide boarding, training and lessons on your horse or ours. We do not offer rentals, trail rides or birthday party services. Please leave your name and number if we can help you. Thank you."

There is no need to say you are sorry or use words like regrettably if you don't offer these things. It's short so your regular clients don't have to suffer through it.

Until you have answered a busy barn phone? You have no idea how many of these calls can come in. And if you do call them back or happen to answer? They want to know who does those rentals...better to just say something up front on your greeting. There are ads in the yellow pages that clearly provide these services.

BoysNightOut
May. 19, 2010, 09:54 AM
I don't think it's in poor taste. My best friend runs a barn, and I know her voicemail is something to the affect of: "Thank you for calling XYZ Farms, where we offer boarding, showing, training, leasing, and sales."

Something like that might help you. Or what Mayaty02 said..."unfortunately, we do not offer parties/rentals/etc".

Mukluk
May. 19, 2010, 09:57 AM
I think it is an excellent idea that will save you and those who are looking for such services a great deal of time.

Heineken
May. 19, 2010, 09:57 AM
I would for sure put it on the voicemail message...saves everyone the trouble!

NorthFaceFarm
May. 19, 2010, 10:02 AM
I worked at barn that had the same on their machine, no problem.

MyGiantPony
May. 19, 2010, 10:03 AM
I think people would appreciate hearing up front what you offer, or don't offer.

A friend's message says something to the effect of "we do not offer trail rides but we do have horses available for lessons".

vxf111
May. 19, 2010, 10:04 AM
As a boarder, it wouldn't turn me off-- I'd consider it a plus. I don't want to board where there's pony parties and random strangers coming and going. I like boarding at a quiet, professional place. I don't need crazy liability or non-horsey kids running around.

I think it's quite standard for a voicemail message to indicate what you don't offer.

"Thanks for calling Greenacre Farm, a private boarding facility where we offer boarding, training, huntseat lessons, and sales. We do not offer trail riding or pony rides. If you're interested in hearing more about our rates and services, please leave a message and Mary Barnmanager will call you back. Have a nice day."

Phaxxton
May. 19, 2010, 10:09 AM
I don't think it's in poor taste. Just keep it short, sweet, and professional. If your current phone / voice mail service allows for it, I might even have a system where people can press a number to get more information about the services you offer, that way regular clients don't have to listen to it every time.

"Thank you for calling Blank Stables. Please leave a message after the tone and your call will be returned as quickly as possible. For a list of the services we offer, please press 2."

Then for those who press 2:

"Blank Stables is a full-service boarding and training facility. We offer full stall board, training, and lessons on your horse or one of our well-trained school horses. At this time, we do not offer pasture board, horse rentals, or trail rides. We often have a selection of horses and ponies of all levels for sale and lease. For more information, please visit our web site, www.BlankStables.com (http://www.BlankStables.com), or leave a message after the tone. We look forward to speaking with you."

Coreene
May. 19, 2010, 10:24 AM
"This is X. We do not rent horse or do birthday parties." And then the bla bla bla. Put it at the beginning so they hear it first.

KateKat
May. 19, 2010, 11:25 AM
I think its fine. Just make it short and sweet like others have suggested otherwise I've found people stop listening to the message. Two or three sentences at the most to explain what you do and don't offer.

englishivy
May. 19, 2010, 11:55 AM
As a boarder, it wouldn't turn me off-- I'd consider it a plus. I don't want to board where there's pony parties and random strangers coming and going. I like boarding at a quiet, professional place. I don't need crazy liability or non-horsey kids running around.

:lol: me too. When I was a boarder, I wouldn't even consider a place that did pony parties. I've been accused of being a snob about it, but really it was b/c my sensitive mare didn't have the patience for the nonsense. ;)

Thanks for all the suggestions; I'm gonna change my message this afternoon.

half seat
May. 19, 2010, 12:49 PM
"This is X. We do not rent horse or do birthday parties." And then the bla bla bla. Put it at the beginning so they hear it first.

Just being honest, but starting off an answering machine message with what you don't do would turn me off as a client. No matter how nicely you say, I would wonder why you felt the need to tell me what you CAN'T do first. I always prefer to keep my target clientele in mind moreso than people who are just calling about pony rides and trail riding... just something to think about.

I think if you can keep it short and sweet, then it wouldn't be rude or bothersome.

oharabear
May. 19, 2010, 02:43 PM
Just being honest, but starting off an answering machine message with what you don't do would turn me off as a client. No matter how nicely you say, I would wonder why you felt the need to tell me what you CAN'T do first. I always prefer to keep my target clientele in mind moreso than people who are just calling about pony rides and trail riding... just something to think about.

I think if you can keep it short and sweet, then it wouldn't be rude or bothersome.

Agreed

Mtn trails
May. 19, 2010, 03:43 PM
Are you sorry, regretful, or unfortunate to not offer trail rides, pony parties, etc? If not, and you are not, then don't put it in your message. Keep it professional and short.

"This is XYZ stables, we offer blah blah blah. We do not offer trail rides or pony parties. If you would like more information about our services please call xxx-xxxx. Thank you for calling.

billiebob
May. 19, 2010, 05:20 PM
Our barn's answering machine says that we don't do trail rides, birthday parties, or horse rentals. It's awesome. You will still get the occasional message from someone who just doesn't get it but it weeds out so many of those calls. I think our message says what we offer first and then says we don't do XYZ.

Coreene
May. 19, 2010, 05:46 PM
Just being honest, but starting off an answering machine message with what you don't do would turn me off as a client. No matter how nicely you say, I would wonder why you felt the need to tell me what you CAN'T do first. I always prefer to keep my target clientele in mind moreso than people who are just calling about pony rides and trail riding... just something to think about.

I think if you can keep it short and sweet, then it wouldn't be rude or bothersome.If you were working in the office of an equestrian center with 420+ in an area that was completely devoid of other stables, you would put that on your message first because it would save you having to return, oh, 20+ messages per day.

There's more to it than the maybe boarder.

Somermist
May. 19, 2010, 06:37 PM
I think if you say it in a professional way, like:

"regretably at this time, we do not provide trail rides or pony parties"


I think it's fine. I would appreciate knowing up front that if I was looking for those, I need not continue to try to get in touch with you.

This! Not in bad taste at all. Easier for everyone.:)

Roxy SM
May. 20, 2010, 01:33 AM
I agree with everyone that says it's totally fine to include that in the answering machine message. If I were calling looking for one of those things you don't provide, it saves both of us time if I can find out right away instead of waiting for someone to call back.

Also, we used to get such inquiries at our barn often enough, and some of the people when you told them that you didn't rent out horses or do pony birthday parties, they would actually ask WHY! What was I supposed to say, sorry, we don't let random strangers take out six-figure jumpers or use said high level show horses to give little kids pony rides? I can't tell you how many people asked why.

SarahandSam
May. 20, 2010, 06:48 AM
My barn has that in their answering machine message--"I'm sorry, but we do not provide trail rides or pony parties at this time."

superpony123
May. 20, 2010, 09:42 PM
actually, it woul dbe a plus for me that you don't offer those things. i cant tell you how annoying it is to have a pony party going on while i'm trying to ride, or some other miscellaneous event. go for it. it will make so that youre not wasting your time or theirs.

Chall
May. 20, 2010, 09:54 PM
As a professional, if you know someone who DOES do pony parties and wants the business, you can include: We don't do Pony Parties: you can try xyz stables or abc stables for Pony Parties and guided trail rides".
To me that sounds very professional and friendly. You are being courteous, helpful and professional.