How to Give a Professional Voicemail Greeting

There's an Art to Creating Friendly, Professional Voicemail Greetings.

woman on telephone in front of computer in office
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A voicemail  greeting is likely the first impression an incoming caller will have of you, if you are not able to answer the phone or take their call. It is therefore important to leave a greeting that is professional, courteous, and brief and to make a positive impression.

The voicemail greeting that you create will be key to the number of voicemails that you receive and the quality of those messages.

  If the voicemail greeting that you create does not convey what you want the incoming caller to do, then chances are this will be a missed opportunity. If this is a potential or existing client calling, it is all the more important that the voicemail greeting that you create is polished and to the point.

Types of Voicemail Greetings

 Below are several different types of voicemail greetings you may need to craft.

  • General Voicemail Greeting
    The general voicemail greeting is used as the default if no other greeting type is set.
    Read more: General Voicemail Greetings
     
  • Internal Voicemail Greeting
    This greeting is used to greet people who are calling from within the same company; hence, these callers are your peers or managers.
     Read more: Internal Voicemail Greeting Examples
  • External Voicemail Greeting
    This greeting will be played for people who call from outside your company. These callers are likely existing or potential clients, vendors, suppliers and others.
    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: How to Create Out of Office Voicemail Greetings

    Elements of a Professional Voicemail Greeting

    There are a few, but necessary elements of a good voicemail greeting, including:

    • The Greeting itself (i.e. “Hello”)
    • Your Name
    • Your Company Name and/or Department Name
    • Statement that you cannot take the call at this time
    • Invitation to leave a message
    • When they can expect a return call
    • Who they can contact for immediate assistance (if applicable)
    • The greeting should be no longer than 20 - 25 seconds
    • Avoid giving out too much information.

    Sample Professional Voicemail Greetings

    • Hi. This is Shahira Raineri. 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 message after the tone, including your call back number.  If you need immediate assistance, please call my assistant, Paula Zee,at extension 4224. Thanks for calling.
       
    • Hello. You have reached the Marketing Department. The department is currently closed. Our normal hours of operations are Monday through Friday, 8 AM until 6 PM, Eastern Standard Time. Please leave us a message after the tone and somebody will return your call as soon as possible. Thank you.
       
    • Hi. This is Shahira Raineri. I will be out of the office until Monday, April 6. 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 speak with my assistant, Paula Zee by pressing zero now. Thanks for calling!
      • You have reached the desk of Shahira Raineri. I am currently away from my desk, but I would like to return your call later. If you would like, please leave me a message after the tone, including the best number where you can be reached and I will call you back as soon as I can. Thanks and have a great day!
         

      Never Use these Voicemail Greetings in a Professional Setting

      Below are some examples of voicemail greetings that should never be used because they violate the guidelines that were described above.

      • Hi. This is Margaret. Leave me a message.
         
      • {Music playing for an extended period of time} Dude! I’m not here now.
         
      • Hi. You have reached the ABC Company. The Company is closed.  Call back some other time.
         
      • Hi. I’m out on vacation and I won’t be checking my messages during that time.  Call me back after April 6. Goodbye.
         
      • Hello, I am away from the office this week, traveling to see family and then to a professional conference in Frankfurt Germany. Maybe I'll see you there! Anyway, you won't be able to reach me by phone this week so you can leave a message at the tone. There's a good chance, though, that I won't get the message if the voicemail box fills up, so you'd be better off calling me back after the 22nd. Of course I'll be jet lagged... hope you don't mind!