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Why your voicemail greeting is more important than you’d suspect

Robert Pleasant

Content Writer

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“Thank you for calling. I can’t answer the phone right now. Please leave a message after the tone and I’ll get back to you at my earliest convenience.”

A voicemail greeting like that would barely stand for a home number; at the very least it would make someone think you’re incredibly boring. So why would you use a voicemail greeting like that for your business?

Your voicemail creates the first impression you leave callers with when they don’t reach you directly. It should make as good an impression as if they’re speaking to you directly—yet voicemail greetings are often overlooked or left as an afterthought.

So what makes for a great voicemail greeting? We searched around Quora and Reddit to see what professionals say makes for the perfect greeting, and compiled the best advice and insights.

Why your business needs professional voicemail greetings

Using a professional voicemail greeting can have a surprising amount of benefits for companies and employees. Specifically, they do three important things:

  • They can create a good impression even when you miss a call

  • They set the tone for future communications

  • They let callers know that they can expect to hear from you soon.

So what are the elements of a professional voicemail greeting script, and what can you do to make yours more memorable while staying on-brand? Let’s break them down and see what makes for a great professional voicemail greeting.

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What makes a good professional greeting?

First, we need to figure out which elements of a professional voicemail greeting matter. The thing to remember is there’s no specific script for the “best voicemail greeting”—although there are a few key elements you should take into account.

Looking around Quora, we can see business professionals offering some good advice. One telecom consultant suggests:

Quora answer

These elements will make sure callers have all the information they need quickly, so they don’t get distracted or forget to leave important contact information. (He also says not to say “I’ll give you a call back at my earliest convenience,” because that suggests to the customer that dealing with them isn’t a priority.)

In another thread, a freelancer offers several suggestions for professional-sounding voicemail greetings:

Quora answer voicemails

From these, we can identify a few core aspects of a good greeting:

  • An upbeat tone of voice, to make the caller feel at ease

  • Identification (like your job title), so the caller will know they’ve reached the right person (or to hang up now if they haven’t)

  • Validation (because no one wants to hear that their messages are unwanted)

  • The length of the greeting—remember that brevity is the soul of wit

  • And an invitation/motivation to leave a voice message (rather than hang up and call a competitor)

This also gives us a good checklist of what to include in your voicemail greeting:

1. Your name and company name, if relevant (“This is John Lastname with Generic Inc.”)

2. That you’re unavailable (“I can’t come to the phone right now, because I’ll lose my vacation days if I don’t use them.”)

3. A rough time frame of when you’ll get back to them—including your office hours and time zone, if you regularly talk to people in other countries or regions (“I’ll be back the next business day at 9am Pacific Time, and can get back to you then.”)

4. A call to action (“Please leave a message with your name, phone number, and the purpose of your call.”)

5. An alternate person or phone number to contact (“If this is an emergency or you need immediate assistance, you can reach my coworker Bob at…”)

Naturally, the specifics will vary from person to person, but these guidelines will give you a solid point to work from.

5 professional voicemail greeting examples

With these elements in mind, what does a good voicemail greeting sound like? Here are some examples of different kinds of professional voicemail greetings that you can use as templates. Number 4 is particularly fun if you want more of a personal touch:

1. The work voicemail greeting

“Hi, you’ve reached the office of Gary Pseudonym, General Manager at Hypothetical Corporation. I can’t come to the phone right now, so please leave your name and phone number after the tone, and I’ll call you back as soon as possible. If this is an emergency, you can reach my cell phone at (XXX) XXX-XXXX. Thank you!”

2. The short voicemail greeting

“Hi, this is Gary at Hypothetical Corporation, I’m sorry I missed your phone call. Please leave your name and number after the beep and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Thanks!”

3. The funny voicemail greeting

“This is Gary’s phone, and I’m sorry to say that he can’t answer me right now. Why? I’m not sure, I’m just a phone. But I’d still like to talk to someone, so if you can leave your name and number with me, I’ll make sure he gets it and calls you back. Have a great day!”

4. Seasonal voicemail greetings

“Ho-ho-ho! You’ve reached Gary, General Manager at Hypothetical Corporation, and if you’re hearing this message, then I’m probably stuck in the holiday shopping traffic. Leave your name and phone number after the tone, and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can get out of this parking lot. Happy holidays!”

5. Vacation voicemail greetings

“Aloha! You’ve reached the office of Gary Pseudonym, General Manager at Hypothetical Corporation. I’m out on vacation and will be unavailable until Monday the 21st. If this is an emergency, you can reach my boss Harry at YYY-YYYY, or my coworker Larry at ZZZ-ZZZZ during the business hours of [insert your business hours]. Otherwise, please leave a detailed message with your name and number after the tone, and I’ll get back to you as soon as I’m back in the office. Thank you!”

How to set up your business voicemail with Dialpad

Of course, to have a proper professional voicemail greeting, the first step is to set your voicemail up. Most VoIP and business phone systems should have this functionality built in, and it should be relatively easy to set up your voicemail recording. (If your communications platform doesn’t come with any type of answering service, it might be time to look for another solution as this is a pretty basic feature.)

For example, with Dialpad, you can record your business voicemail greeting from the web portal or mobile app. You can also use default voicemail greetings if you want to go with something simple but effective.

To set up a voicemail greeting from the web portal, simply navigate to Your Settings, then to Call Handling & Voicemail. You can either record directly from your device, or upload an MP3 file of your choice. (Just make sure you’re uploading the actual voicemail, and not an MP3 of a song called “Voicemail.” Long story.)

Dialpad Voicemail settings

If you want to set up voicemail from your phone or SIP device, just call your Dialpad number and enter your user and voicemail PIN. That’ll give you a prompt to record a new voicemail greeting.

And don’t be afraid to rehearse and give it another take if you don’t like how the first one turned out. No one is going to judge you for the takes you don’t use.

Bringing your business to another level with professional voicemail

Whether you’re a small business owner or just an office worker who needs a way to take messages and return calls after-hours, Dialpad’s unified communications platform comes with an easy-to-use business voicemail feature that lets you handle missed calls from potential customers and team members from anywhere, on any device.

One unique thing about Dialpad is that its built-in artificial intelligence can transcribe the voicemail messages you get in real time. It’s called visual voicemail, and this way you can check your voicemail without even needing to listen to it:

Visual voicemail blog size v4

You'll even receive an email notification when a new voicemail message is waiting for you (complete with the transcript) from Dialpad’s voicemail to email service.

If you need to forward the message to anyone else, you can do that too. Forwarding voicemail is just a matter of selecting the voicemail and who you want to send it to— that’s literally all it takes!

And if you’re on an outbound sales team that needs to leave a lot of voicemails every day as you’re cold calling prospects, Dialpad’s voicemail drop lets you “drop” in a pre-recorded voicemail message when you hit a prospect’s voicemail greeting:

Voicemail Drop in Dialpad blog size v2

This is great for companies that need to make multiple calls in a row, since it significantly cuts down on time left reciting voicemail messages over and over again.

Now, the next time you do have to leave a message, you’ll be able to pick out what works (or doesn’t work) with the recipient’s business voicemail greeting!

Want to see Dialpad’s voicemail for yourself?

Sign up for a 14-day free trial to try Dialpad’s unified communications platform. It takes just a few minutes, and you’ll be set up with a virtual phone number too. Or, take a self-guided interactive tour of the app first!