Voicemail greetings are an important element of your business’ phone system because it’s often the first impression of your business that customers will have. Creating a really good voicemail greeting is a unique opportunity that you can use to impress customers by putting your best face on, while increasing the chances that you’ll retain their business in those times when you can’t answer the phone.
You should feel free to get creative with it if you like, or go with a more straightforward style if that seems to fit better for your business. No matter what style you decide to use, we’re including some simple guidelines that you can reference when you record your greeting.
The second portion of this article has 12 scripts that you can either take word-for-word, or use as a jumping-off point to create your own—but first, let’s go over 4 basic elements that every professional voicemail greeting should have.
When someone calls your business and reaches your voicemail, they should get from you one of 2 basic sentiments: The voicemail greeting should either thank them for their call, or apologize for missing it. Of course, it’s completely fine if you do both, but make sure you hit at least one of those bases.
This is a point where so many business voicemail greetings fall short, and it’s something you have to include as a standard matter of course. The cardinal rule when recording your greeting is to provide the caller with all the information that they need, at least the basic information. Did they reach the right person, and the right business? Can they leave a message? Office hours? Also, if there is a more expedient way to get in touch with you, such as through email, then this is something you might include, as well. We tend to overlook or neglect the simplest, yet vital things, which is why it’s important to remember this point.
If you have a very long greeting, then there’s a good chance that you will lose potential customers who become frustrated with waiting to leave a message and just hang up. Keep it short, pleasant, and concise. The best recordings run between 10 and 30 seconds.
Someone is calling you because they’re interested, and that’s step one. Once they’ve reached your voicemail, you’re then in a position to either retain or lose a potential customer. Listening to a voicemail greeting is mostly about waiting, and while waiting for their turn to speak, the caller is deciding whether or not it’s worth their time to wait. The greatest key to a professional voicemail greeting is to motivate someone to leave a message, so that you can retain their business, and you do that by getting into his or her good graces in under a minute. As you can see by the examples we’re providing here, that’s actually not as hard as it sounds.
For a more in-depth perspective on creating the perfect voicemail greeting, check out our prior article on the subject, How to Record a Good Voicemail Greeting: What Your Callers Aren’t Telling You.
TRY THESE VOICEMAIL GREETINGS ON FOR SIZE
This first set of examples give you an idea of how to use humor in a way that entertains the caller without being distasteful or inappropriate. (This is important.) You can probably come up with some ideas that are even better than these, but just remember that the key is to say something mildly funny that your caller will enjoy and immediately forget.
Elaborate jokes or dark/questionable humor can backfire and offend your customers. To illustrate the right way to do it, here are some good examples that you can take and use today.
You have reached ____ (your name) at ____ (your business). Thank you for your call. Please leave your name, number, and message…
1. …and I’ll call you back as soon as I put this fire out.
2. …and I’ll return your call as soon as possible. Losing your business would make me very sad.
3. …Sorry I missed your call. If you’re a telemarketer, then I’m definitely not sorry. If you’re not a telemarketer, then I’ll return your call as soon as possible. Thanks!
4. …If your phone has a Lady Gaga ring-back tone, then I can’t guarantee I’ll wait for you to answer.
5. …I would thank you for calling, but I haven’t heard what you have to say yet. Just kidding! I’ll return your call as soon as possible. Thanks!
6. …If you’re Jennifer Lawrence, call my emergency line. (Insert your celebrity crush here.)
7. …I’m sorry I missed your call, but I’m kind of a big deal. People know me. I have many leather-bound books. Just kidding! I’ll call you back as soon as possible. Thanks!
Some Straightforward Voicemail Greeting Examples
Doing it straight may be the best route to take, and this is always a great way to show your professionalism. Remember to keep it brief and get right to the point.
You have reached ____ (your name) at ____ (your business)…
1. …Please leave your name, number, and a brief message, and I’ll return your call as soon as possible.
2. …I’m sorry, but I’m momentarily tied up. Please leave your name and number, and I’ll get right back to you.
3. …Thank you for calling. I apologize for the inconvenience, but if you leave your name, number, and message, I will return your call as soon as possible.
4. …Sorry I missed your call. If you’re hearing this, then I’m especially busy today, but I’ll return your call as soon as possible. Please leave your name, number, and message. Thank you!
5. …I’m sorry, but I was unable to take your call at the moment. Please leave me your name, number, and message, and I’ll call you back at the earliest opportunity. Thank you!
Bonus: Check out our additional post, “6 Ways Your Voicemail Can Make or Break Your Business”
Whether you decide to go for a funny, professional, or really creative voicemail greeting, your business will be better for it! Thanks for reading!
Stephanie is the Marketing Director at Talkroute and has been featured in Forbes, Inc, and Entrepreneur as a leading authority on business and telecommunications.
Stephanie is also the chief editor and contributing author for the Talkroute blog helping more than 100k entrepreneurs to start, run, and grow their businesses.