Guide to voicemail greetings

The Complete 2020 Guide to Professional Business Voicemail Greetings

Are you struggling to come up with a voicemail greeting that you believe in? Do you find that everything you record comes out too casual, overly professional, or doesn’t seem to touch all of the bases that you want it to?

In this quick guide, we’ll take a look at what makes a good business voicemail greeting, breaking it down into the elements that every voicemail greeting should contain.

For many businesses and professionals, your voicemail greeting is going to be the first point-of-contact for your customers. This is especially true for service businesses, who often rely on their voicemail to collect information from interested parties.

It’s important that your voicemail makes a good impression and conveys professionalism to anyone who calls. Here at UniTel Voice, we specialize in helping business owners set up a virtual voicemail system that not only helps them sound professional but also keeps them connected with voicemail-to-email and voicemail transcription (voice-to-text) technology.

After helping tens of thousands of companies set up voicemail systems, we’ve learned that there is no set of rules defining what makes a great business voicemail, but there are definitely some key points that you should aim to hit. Before you hit the record button for your voicemail message, take some of these tips into account:


1. Thank Them or Apologize


Useful Voicemail Business Samples You Can Use


The basic rule of thumb is that callers should hear one of two things when they first connect with your voicemail — either an apology for not being able to answer the call or a “thank you” for having called. You can do both if you prefer, but keep it short and to the point.

Context does matter here. If the caller would reasonably expect you to answer the phone (such as if they were calling a store or other place of business), an apology for not being able to get to the phone makes the most sense.

If they are calling without an expectation that you always pick up (such as if you are a business coach or a one-man shop) then thanking them for calling might make the most sense.

There is no definitive answer here, but you should include one of the two at the beginning of your message based on what makes the most sense.


2. Quickly Provide the Relevant Information


When someone reaches your voicemail, it’s important that you help them confirm that they have reached the right person by providing all of the relevant information that they will need.

  • Who have they reached?
  • Did they contact the right person and the right business?
  • Should they leave a message?
  • When will you get back to them?
  • Is there a better time for them to call?

All of these questions are pertinent to their call, and it’s important that you answer any that is relevant to your specific situation. Make sure not to drag on too long going through all of the info.

Keep it short and sweet so that the caller can quickly leave their message and move on with their day.


3. How Long Should My Business Voicemail Be?


Business Voicemail Examples


If you drone on and on, there is a good chance that some of your callers are going to hang up before leaving their message.

People have short attention spans these days, and you should always craft your communications for the lowest common denominator with something as universal as your voicemail.

While covering all of the relevant information, aim to keep your voicemail to about 20 seconds. You definitely should not ever record a business voicemail longer than 30 seconds, and anything less than 10 seconds will typically mean that you are either speaking too quickly or aren’t providing all of the required information.

If you find that your business voice message is running a bit long, break it down into sections and decide which parts you can cut out to reduce the message’s length.

You don’t have to spell out every single thing that you think they might want to know. Have some faith that your callers will be able to figure things out on their own. Be natural but informative.


4. Remember, They Are Calling for a Reason


If someone takes the time to call and leave you a voice message, they usually have a reason that they are calling. It does convey a certain level of interest when someone is willing to hop on the phone with you. If they were less interested, they would probably send you an email or fill out a form on your website.

Generally, people that call and leave messages are more likely to be ideal customers of your business. Your voicemail message is often not much more than a formality to the person calling.

Your message is a period of time that they are forced to wait through in order to do what they called to do in the first place — relay information to you.

The biggest barrier is actually getting them to leave the voicemail in the first place. Don’t get in your own way by recording a long, drawn-out voicemail greeting that might do more to convince them to hang up than actually leave a message.

While they are listening to your voice, they are internally deciding whether or not it is worth their time to continue or hang up. Look at your voicemail message as its own short advertisement.

Your goal isn’t to impress them, it’s to convince them to leave you a message.


5. Business Voicemail Greeting Examples



With all of these things to think about for a short 20-second voicemail, you might be feeling a little bit overwhelmed. We promise it’s actually is much simpler than it sounds.

Try not to overthink things.

With that said, we thought it would be a good idea to provide you with a few examples of voicemail greetings. As you read through these, keep in mind that the effectiveness of your voicemail greeting is one-quarter what you say, and three-quarters how you say it.

Be cheery and warm, but professional.

Before you record your professional voicemail message, take a quick peek through these examples for some inspiration:

Example 1:

Thank you for calling. You have reached (Your Name) at (Your Business). Please leave your name, number, and a brief message and I’ll return your call as soon as possible.

Example 2:

You have reached (Your Name) at (Your Business). I’m sorry that I wasn’t able to get to the phone. If you leave your name and number, I’ll return your call within one business day.

Example 3:

Thank you for calling (Your Name) at (Your Business), where (What You Do). I’m sorry that I was unable to take your call. Please leave me your name, number, and a quick message and I’ll call you back shortly.

Example 4:

You have reached (Your Name) at (Your Business). We help (What Your Business Does). I wasn’t able to take your call right now, but leave your name and number and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

Example 5:

You have reached (Your Name) at (Your Business). I was unable to take your call, but if you leave a brief message I’ll call you back as soon as possible.


These are just a few ideas to get the gears turning. These are simple examples, but don’t be afraid to show a little personality.

Telling a quick joke or including a little more information can keep you safely within the 20-second timeframe while letting the caller understand a little more about you.


6. Don’t Overthink, Just Keep it Short and Relevant


The main point that we want to drive home with this article is that you shouldn’t overthink your business voicemail greeting. Just keep it short, and state the relevant information.

If you have enough time, tell a joke or share a little more.

Don’t be too hard on yourself. Chances are, that voicemail that you’ve recorded and deleted thirty times has been just fine. Your main goal is not to get in the way of the caller leaving a message, which is exactly what can happen if you overthink it or drone on too long.



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Editor’s Note: The article is part of the blog series Grow Your Business brought to you by the marketing team at UniTel Voice, the virtual phone system priced and designed for startups and small business owners.