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How To Give a Professional Voicemail Greeting

The Business Etiquette of Voicemail Greetings

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A proper voicemail greeting can make a positive impression on your callers or it can alienate them before you even speak to them. Put yourself in your caller's place and ask yourself "How would I want to be treated if I couldn't immediately talk to the person that I called? What would I want to know from the voicemail greeting? What should I do?"

Voicemail Greeting Options

Depending upon the telephone system you have at your company, there may be different options for the type of voicemail greetings you are allowed to compose. These include:
  • General Voicemail Greeting
    The general voicemail greeting is used as the default voicemail greeting if no other greeting type is set.
    Read more: General Voicemail Greeting Examples
     
  • Internal Voicemail Greeting
    This is used to greet people who call you from within your own company (i.e. from another extension).
    Read more: Internal Voicemail Greeting Examples
     
  • External Voicemail Greeting
    This greeting will be played for people who call from outside your company. Your telephone system's automated attendant may play a general company greeting that all external callers will hear. If your company's name is mentioned in that greeting, you do not need to say it again in your greeting.
    Read more: External Voicemail Greeting Examples
     
  • Temporary or "Out of Office"
    The temporary or out of office voicemail greeting is set when you will be out of the office for a predetermined amount of time. Most voicemail systems will allow you to set an expiration date and time so you don't have to remember to turn it off when you return.
    Read more: Temporary or "Out of Office" Voicemail Greeting Examples
     
  • On the Phone (Busy)
    This greeting is used to inform callers that you are in the office but you can't take their call right now because you are on the phone with another caller.
    Read more: "On the Phone' or "Busy" Voicemail Greeting Examples
     

Basic Elements of Good Voicemail Greetings

  • Greeting
  • Your Name
  • Your Company Name and/or Department Name
  • Statement that you cannot take their call right now
  • Invitation to leave a message
  • When they can expect a return call
  • Who they can contact for immediate assistance (if applicable)
  • No longer than 20 - 25 seconds (rule-of-thumb)
  • Avoid giving out too much information and making an overly long greeting.
Read more: Basic Elements of Good Voicemail Greetings

Sample Good Voicemail Greetings

  • Hi. This is Jim Bucki at About.com. I can't take your call right now, but I would like to return it as soon as I can. So, please leave me a detailed confidential message after the tone. If you need immediate assistance, please call my secretary, Suzy Smith at extension 6336. Thanks for your call.
     
  • Hello. You have reached the Accounting Department. The department is currently closed. Our normal hours of operations are Monday through Friday, 8AM until 6PM. Please leave us a message after the tone and somebody will return your call as soon as possible. Thank you.
     
  • Hi. This is Jim Bucki at About.com. I will be out of the office until Thursday, July 24th and I will be checking my voicemail occasionally. If you would like to leave me a message please do so after the tone and I will return your call as soon as I can. If you need immediate assistance, please call my secretary, Suzy Smith at extension 6336. Thanks for your call.
     
  • You have reached the desk of Jim Bucki at About.com. I am currently on the phone right now, but I would like to return your call later. If you would like, please leave me a message after the tone. If you need immediate assistance, please call my secretary, Suzy Smith at extension 6336. Thank you for calling About.com.
     

Bad Voicemail Greetings

  • Hi. This is Joe. Leave me a message.
     
  • {Music playing for an extended period of time} Hey! Talk to me.
     
  • Hi. You have reached the XYZ Company. Please leave us a message.
     
  • Hello. You have reached the office of Joe Kartonia at XYZ.com. I will be out of the office having a vasectomy and will return on Thursday, August 26th at 8:30 am. I will be experiencing a lot of discomfort so I will not be checking my voicemail at all. If you would like to leave me a message please do so after the tone. You can leave me a detailed and confidential message and I will return your call as soon as I can. If you need immediate assistance, please call my secretary, Sally Johnson at extension 3663. Thank you for your call and I will get back to your when I return and I am feeling better.
     
  • The office is closed. Please leave a message after the tone.
     

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