What Information To Include In A Voicemail Greeting
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What Information To Include In A Voicemail Greeting

Whether you have an electronic voicemail attached to your land-line or smartphone, or you own an actual answering machine device, you likely have a greeting. Take the time to create your own voicemail greeting and customize the information you wish to share with callers. Include your name or phone number, reason for absence, when you will respond, and directions for callers to follow.

Whether you have an electronic voicemail attached to your land-line or smartphone, or you own an actual answering machine device, you likely have a greeting. While many telephone companies provide a standard computerized greeting to use in place of your own voice, creating your own greeting is a more personalized option. Take the time to create your own voicemail greeting and customize the information you wish to share with callers.


Whether the voicemail is for your personal phone or for your business, including the name associated to the telephone number is a good idea. A name lets callers know they have dialed the correct phone number. They are also encouraged to leave you a message. As well, some business names are lengthy; saying the full business name reinforces the name for callers and also gives them the opportunity to write down the name if not already done.

If you have privacy concerns that prevent you from giving your personal name in the voicemail greeting, provide the associated phone number instead. For example, you may not want telemarketers to have personal information about you to add to their call lists. Providing a phone number assures callers that they have connected with the correct voicemail.

Reason for Absence

For personal voicemails, people often feel obligated to explain they are not home within the message. There is no need to say you are “sorry” you are not home to pick up the phone. You are allowed to leave; you do not need to apologize within your own greeting.

Be aware that saying you are not home within your greeting alerts callers to an empty home. If you simply say you are “busy” rather than out of the house, the opportunity for a break-in or other negative situation associated with unoccupied houses is less likely to occur.

For businesses, callers may connect with voicemail outside of work office hours. Include the office hours within the greeting and the days open. If callers are not already aware of the schedule, they are provided the information in a clear format.

When You Will Respond

For personal voicemail greetings, explaining when you will call a person back is not necessarily needed. An exception would be if you have a home office. Explaining when you will return the phone call is necessary for businesses.

For business voicemail greetings, be specific as to when you will respond to the message. For example, specify “the next business day” or “within 48 hours”. Providing a time frame is comforting to callers. The time frame also assures callers that the business cares about each message and has a plan in place to return phone calls.

Directions for Caller

Encourage the caller to leave a message. After all, that is the point of creating a greeting in the first place and having voicemail. Include the necessary information you want a caller to leave within a message.

Necessary information includes the caller’s name, his or her phone number for call-back, and any pertinent information about the reason for the phone call. Asking for the reason behind the phone call is useful as it allows you to do any associated homework. For example, an office manager can grab the client’s file and find the requested information prior to returning the call; time is saved for both caller and manager.

An effective voicemail is a great way for businesses to promote a professional image and keep their name in callers’ minds. Personal voicemail lets people keep track of phone calls missed and return calls as the necessary information is included in the messages. 

Photo Source:

Stock.xchnge http://www.sxc.hu/photo/741617 Petria Follett

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Comments (9)

Excellent and informative write-up. thanks

Yes the answering service is sometimes useful, especially fending off telemarketers. They cannot speak to an answering service because they cannot sell or involve a survey feedback and will hang up. They do not care for the do not call list either so we use the service in the target times they call.

Thank-you Abdel-moniem for your compliment. Peter, I agree that the answering machine discourages telemarketers and your plan sounds like a good one!

Great, helpful article for those getting their first answering machine or cell/smart phone! Great job, Christy! I used to like putting those fake messages on, where you say "Hey! How's it going? (pause) What have you been up to, man! Long time no see! Oh, wait, I;m not home..."

Excellent tips, I hated when people use their young children to record voice-mails which could lead to regrettable consequences...voted

NEVER have your kids leave your voice mail greeting. It is not cute to anyone but you, hard to understand, and could even put your kids at risk.

I agree that having your kids leave the voicemail greeting is not advisable Brenda. Marc, your comment is funny as I have heard similar greetings. Thanks Francina. I appreciate all the comments and votes :)

Great information, Christy. I'm gonna call myself and see how many of the tips I missed. I know that I say, "I'm sorry..." I may just have to rerecord that message. :)

Jane, thanks for the comment and I'm pleased you find the voicemail information helpful. I hope your revised message is a hit!