What Should My Voicemail Greeting Say?

IVR Voice Prompts
Voicemail Greeting

This is a great topic, and there are certainly many variations, depending on your occupation, company, hours, etc. I am inspired to check all of the voice mail greetings in the building! What about your voicemail greeting?

Here are some quick DOs and DON’Ts that will simplify voicemail greetings. For more ideas and information see the newer article called Guide To Best Professional Voicemail Greeting Recordings.

No need to apologize in your voicemail greeting.

In current times it is understood that we are all busy and cannot babysit the phone, so an apology is not needed. Also, today’s callers can be skeptical when they hear “sorry” or “your call is important”.  A stronger position is to get right to the point, telling the caller what to do such as, “Please leave a message.”

It’s perfectly fair to expect the caller to say why he/she is calling. If further correspondence is desired, they will volunteer an email address or phone number.

Our friend Nancy Friedman, a.k.a. The Telephone Doctor has provided lots of ideas and information I’ve been able to pick up over the years. Here are some DON’Ts for your voicemail message recording:

Please do NOT say:

  • “I am not at my desk” (Duh)
  • “I can’t come to the phone” (Obviously)
  • “I ‘m not here right now” (OK, I got that)
  • “I will return your call as soon as possible” (You mean you might call be back)

6 essential things to say in your voicemail greeting.

Try to cut down your voicemail message to these six points:

1) Your Name: “Hi, this is Tim Brown”
2) Your Department (if applicable)
3) Tell the caller what to do: “Please leave a message.”
4) Reassure caller: “I do check messages often and calls will be returned.”
5) An alternative: “My email address is “tim at easy on hold dot com.”
6) Optional cheerful expression: “Thanks and have a great day.”


Business Voicemail Messages and Automated Attendant / IVR Messages

There are other kinds of voicemail messages to consider. Here are some opportunities to communicate clearly to your callers and customers:

After Hours Greeting. Callers want to know if they can leave a message, when you will reopen, what to do in the event of an emergency.

Frequently Asked Questions. Phone Greeting. Some callers can get quick answers to easy questions by using your phone voicemail. You can offer a recorded message to help with directions, email address, website wiki, return policies.

Automated Attendant. This is used during business hours to answer incoming phone calls when you’re too busy during peak hours, or in place of a receptionist. These greetings must be carefully scripted and should be recorded by a professional voice recording service, such as Easy On Hold. Your brand image is on the line, and callers can easily get frustrated.

IVR Recordings. The Interactive Voice Response recordings are in use on larger phone systems, call centers, contact centers, etc. These can go several layers deep, and often require the service of a phone system architect. Easy On Hold is very experienced in IVR Recordings for clients such as Republic Services, Westinghouse, Shaw Flooring, Frontier Communications and many other companies.

Translations and Foreign Voice IVR Recordings. International companies must use dependable translation services and a professional foreign voice recording service, such as offered by Easy On Hold. There’s an online tool for auditioning foreign voiceover samples for international use, right at easyonhold.com.

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Founder of Easy On Hold and Brandi Music. Thinker, writer, speaker, tinkerer, husband, father, musician.