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What Should My Voicemail Greeting Say?


New phone system, new phone voicemail greeting. Now is the time to ask, “What should my work voicemail greeting say?” It could be the perfect opportunity to put together a fresh, professional voicemail greeting.

This article was published in 2011 and has helped thousands. After COVID, there are a few more tips we can provide, so enjoy this updated article. Let’s think about the basic DOs and DON’Ts to help you craft the best voicemail greetings. For more ideas and information we also posted an article called Guide To Best Professional Voicemail Greeting Recordings. Take a look there, too.

FAQ for voicemail messages

We begin by addressing the tried and true rules of making a professional voice mail recording (greeting).

Should I apologize for not being available?

Should you apologize for not being unavailable? No. We are all busy and can’t always babysit the phone. Saying “sorry” or “your call is important,” might cause your caller to be skeptical.

What’s the most important part of a voicemail message?

The point of the voicemail greeting is to help the caller. We do this by telling the caller what to do. As an example, you can say, “please leave a message.” This is the most important part of the professional voice mail script.

Should I ask about the reason for the call?

Yes, it is okay to ask your caller why they’re trying to reach you. Your caller may volunteer some information you can use to prepare for a return call.

Should I ask for an email address?

Yes, you can ask for your caller’s email address in addition to a phone number.

What NOT to say in your phone greeting

Our friend Nancy Friedman, a.k.a. The Telephone Doctor has provided lots of ideas and information about communicating over the phone. Here are some of Nancy’s best 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)

Voice mail template: identify, instruct, reassure

Here is a helpful 3-point voicemail template you can use: Identify, Instruct, Reassure.

  1. IDENTIFY: “Hi, this is Sue Smith” (optional job title/department)
  2. INSTRUCT: “Please leave a message with your name, email address, and phone number” (optional: ” tell me when is the best time to call”) (optional: “and let me know the reason for your call”)
  3. REASSURE: “I’ll contact you as soon as possible” (optional: “you may email me at Sue dot Smith at easy on hold dot com”) (optional: “thanks”) (optional: “have a great day”)


Business Voice Recordings, Messages and Automated Attendant / IVR Scripts

What other types of voicemail messages are there? Here are some opportunities to communicate clearly to your callers and customers:

After-Hours Greeting. To help callers get the answers they need, indicate whether they can leave a message when you will reopen, and 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, and return policies.

Automated Attendant. The term Auto Attendant refers to a pre-recorded greeting used to answer incoming phone calls during business hours. Automated greetings are handy when you’re too busy, during peak hours, or in the place of a receptionist. In addition, auto-attendant messages should be carefully scripted. Consider using a professional service such as Easy On Hold. In general, the right greeting will improve your brand image while reducing frustration.

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. Republic Services, Westinghouse, NYU Langone Health Center, Shaw Flooring, Frontier Communications, and many other companies have turned to Easy On Hold.

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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