The combination of technology and hybrid working has drastically blurred the line that separates work life from home life. Work can now be taken home at night instead of being left at the office. Personal cell phones and laptops are more than capable of performing essential work-related tasks. The project that used to be put on hold until Monday morning at the office can now be worked on through the weekend at home.
One recent study found that 73% of respondents had previously used a smartphone for business purposes. That included making business calls, sending emails, making presentations, and things of that nature. It’s become fairly common for businesses to give certain employees “work phones” for these exact responsibilities. However, a staggering 82% of these respondents said they use their personal devices — not one that was issued by their job.
In a perfect world, personal devices would only be used for personal matters, and business phones would only be used for business matters. However, it’s not a perfect world, and you’ll probably need to use your personal device to conduct official business. If that’s the case, then the first thing that you should look into is changing your voicemail.
What Makes a Great Voicemail Greeting?
Voicemail greetings aren’t very complicated. A voicemail greeting is simply a digitally recorded message that automatically plays after a phone call goes unanswered. The message plays just before the caller is given a chance to leave their own recorded message in the recipient's voicemail. It’s the modern equivalent of the answering machine that was so popular during the latter half of the 20th century.
It’s common for people to use clever and funny voicemail greetings as a way to have some fun with the idea. Setting up a joke voicemail greeting is fine when your phone is only used for personal reasons.
However, you don’t want someone important relating to your job to call and hear a silly voicemail. It might look highly unprofessional and get you into some hot water at work. If you need help with tone, maybe *67 call the business owner or team lead to hear what route they go for.
Ultimately, a professional voicemail greeting will make a positive impression on the caller.
Before we get into some examples, let’s go over some of the basics of what makes a good voicemail greeting:
Does It Provide the Most Important Information?
The business world is often extremely, well, busy. It’s highly likely that the first interaction that many potential business partners, vendors, or potential customers have with you is via voicemail.
As such, it’s best to think of your voicemail greeting as an audible business card. You would want to include your name and the business's name so the caller would know they have the correct number.
Include some additional information that the caller might be seeking: Specifically, a time when you can be reached via this number in the future and a timeframe to expect a return call (24 or 48 hours, for example).
Alternatively, include a way for them to contact you immediately in case of an emergency. If that’s not an option, give them the contact information of someone who could help.
Lastly, the best voicemail greetings will include a call to action. After letting everyone know you’re busy today or at the moment, give them another step. Whether that’s an email or messaging the business on social media, consider providing another avenue to get an answer to their question.
Is It Respectful To the Caller?
A large part of being professional is that you’re respectful to others at all times. You should make sure to take responsibility for missing the call and apologize to the caller.
Regardless of the reason, you may have a hard time not answering. You can include a brief explanation for why you missed the call. But it’s usually best to leave it vague as the reason for not answering probably won’t always be the same.
It’s also smart to thank them for calling you in the first place. Remember that they’re choosing to do business with you. They could just as easily take their business to someone else.
You want your greeting to reassure them that you’re extremely appreciative that they’ve decided to call. A simple “thank you” can often go a lot further than you might think in terms of customer experience.
Will the Perfect Voicemail Keep People From Hanging Up?
This one can be a bit tricky as a lot of people hang up when a call goes unanswered. It makes sense from the caller's point of view.
After all, why would they go through the trouble of leaving a voicemail when they could call again later or just wait for you to return the missed call? You don’t want them thinking that way because it’s in your best interest that they leave a voicemail.
Naturally, the purpose of their call will almost certainly be explained during the next conversation between the two. However, having a voicemail regarding the reason behind the call will give you some time to prepare beforehand. You don’t want to be caught off guard and appear unprofessional when it’s something significant.
How Long Is Your Greeting?
Speaking of not hanging up, the last thing you want to do is bore your caller with a long message. The average adult's attention span can only be measured in seconds; you really need to keep your message brief.
Besides, you’ve already wasted enough of the caller’s time by not answering. They’re really not going to be happy to sit through a minute-long voicemail greeting on top of that.
Ideally, keep your greeting well below 30 seconds at the very most. Recite all of the vital information, be respectful about missing the call, and that’s it.
Of course, you want to convey this information in a way that’s easy to understand. Talking like an auctioneer on fast-forward after six cups of coffee isn’t ideal. You want your greeting to be quick but not so fast that the caller’s head is spinning.
10 Examples of Professional Voicemail Greetings
It’s important to remember that you’re not trying to reinvent the wheel here. A voicemail greeting script is much easier to come up with than you might think.
Here are ten different templates of the best business voicemail greetings:
Casual Voice Messages for the Busy Business Day
Hello! You’ve reached (your name) at (your workplace). Thank you for calling, and I’m sorry that I missed you. Please leave your name, number, and reason for calling. I’ll try my best to get right back to you at your earliest convenience.
Hi, you’ve reached (your name) at (your workplace). I’m unavailable right now, and I apologize for missing your call. Please leave your name and number so I can call you back as soon as possible. If you want to leave a message, then wait for the beep. Have a nice day!
Voicemail That Connects Callers to Another Team Member
Hey, you’ve reached (your name) at (your company name). I'm sorry, but I can’t come to the phone right now. If you need to speak with someone immediately, then contact (co-worker’s name) at (their phone number). Otherwise, please leave your name, number, and a brief message, and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.
Good day, you’ve reached (your workplace). Our regular business hours are (list times and days). If you need to speak with someone after-hours, reach (co-worker's name) at (their phone number). If not, please leave your contact information after the beep, and we’ll return your call when we’re open.
Hi! You’ve reached (your name) at (your workplace). I’m sorry to have missed your call and regret to inform you that I’ll be out of the office from (date) to (date). Please leave your contact information and a short message after the beep.
I’ll return your call as soon as I return to the office. If the matter is urgent, you can contact (co-worker’s name) at (their phone number), and they’ll assist you in any way they can. Thank you for your patience, and have a wonderful day!
The Positive, More Personal Voicemail Greeting
Hi there! We’re so glad that you called (your workplace). We’d be happy to help you with your problem, but we’re on the line with another client or out of the office!
Please let us know your name, phone number, and why you called us today. We’ll be thrilled to call you right back! Thank you, and have a great day!
The Very Professional Voicemail Message
Hello. You’ve called (your name) at (your workplace). I regret to inform you that I’m not able to take your call at this time. Please leave your name, number, and message after the beep. I’ll get back to you by (time or date). Thank you, and have a great day.
Thank you for calling (your name) at (your workplace). I apologize for missing your call. I’m currently busy at the moment. But if you leave your name, number, and a brief message, then I’ll return your call at the earliest opportunity.
The Voicemail Recording With an Email Address
Hello, this is (your name). I’m sorry for not picking up your call, but I’m away from my phone right now. Please leave your name, number, and a short message after the beep. I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. You can also reach me at (email address), and I might be able to respond to you faster.
The Voicemail Greetings That Include a Website URL
Greetings! You’ve reached (your name) at (your workplace). I’m sorry, but I’m not currently able to take your call. If you’re calling about (reason), then please visit (website).
If you’re calling about (other reason), then please contact (co-worker’s name) at (their number). For all other inquiries, please leave your name, number, and a brief message. I’ll return your call by (time or date). Thank you and goodbye.
The Work-Life Balance
The advances in technology have forever changed the way that business and society operate. In the old days, you would leave work at the office when you went home, and it would be there waiting for you the next day.
Nowadays, you can take work home with you, finish up what needs to be done and get a headstart on the next day’s tasks. Depending on your point of view, this new normal is either a good thing or a bad thing.
Regardless of your working habits, you’re almost certainly going to field the occasional business call from time to time. Depending on your job, you might use your personal cell phone for these calls. If that’s the case, you’ll want to ensure you have a professional voicemail set up.
Any of the examples listed above will work, as it doesn't have to be anything that rivals Shakespeare. Just something that quickly gives the caller the information they need is respectful and gently pushes them to leave a message.
Taking Your Phone System to the Next Level
If you’re like most people, then you prefer to keep your work life and personal life separated. Answering business calls on your personal cell phone isn’t exactly the best way to achieve this goal. However, you can easily separate them by downloading the Burner app.
For just $4.99 a month, you’ll have access to a completely separate phone number that you choose. You can use this number for work purposes instead of your personal number. You can set office hours where calls ring through, enable Do Not Disturb mode when you’re off work, and create your own voicemail message.
Visit Burner to download the app and start your free seven-day trial. You can keep whatever goofy voicemail greeting that you have on your personal phone and create a business one for your new business number. It’s one of the best ways that you can try to reestablish the line between work life and home life.
Our Attention Span Is Shorter Than a Goldfish’s. Here’s What We Can Do About It | Orlando Sentinel
What Does It Mean to Be Professional at Work? | US News
Voice Mail | Communications | Britannica
It’s Official: Most People Use a Personal Smartphone for Work | TechRadar