Voice Mail with a Message

voice mail with a messageRing, Ring…
You've reached the voice mailbox of (Your Name). Please leave a message after the beep.

Thanks for calling (Your Company), we're sorry we can't take your call right now. Please leave a brief message and we will return your call as soon as possible.

What do callers hear when they reach your voice mail?

Is it congruent with your brand?

Is it interesting, entertaining or memorable?

You want a voice mail with a message…YOUR message.

This may well be someone's first impression of your company if they were referred to you and given your phone number. It may be their next stop after visiting your website. Either way, you want to take full advantage of this 30-45 seconds or so to engage and delight your callers. Just because it's a business line, there's no need to sound like a robot…unless that's what you're selling.   😆

Here are a few tips to help you prepare your unique voice mail greeting.

  • Allow your and your company personality to shine through.
  • Write out your greeting ahead of time and have it handy when you record.
  • Practice saying it a few times before you hit record to get a more natural sound.
  • Try standing up when you speak and feel the difference in your projection.

What do you want your callers to know? Of course you want to include the requisite information like your name, company name, and invitation to leave a message. I highly recommend including your website address and possibly an invitation to connect on Facebook, LinkedIn or another social media platform depending on your market. Here are some other considerations:

  • A time frame that the caller should expect a response. It boosts confidence that the call is important.
  • Hours of operation, including time zone. The caller may prefer to call back during normal business hours.
  • If you have other vital departments, explain how to reach them. i.e. “If this is in regards to a recent order, please contact our customer service department at 123.456.7890.”
  • If you will be unavailable for more than a day or two, let people know when to expect you back in the office. You don't necessarily need to let people know why you're away unless it is relevant to them. Your vasectomy or vacation plans are better left as insider knowledge.  😳
  • If confidentiality is an issue, inform callers as to whether yours is a confidential voice mail box.
  • If you need specific information to prepare for a call back, ask for it. i.e. “If this is in regards to a recent order, please include your order number.” 

It probably goes without saying but I'll say it anyway. Keep your tone upbeat and welcoming. Also, remember to be conscious of your message length, you don't want an overly long message that people hang up on.

Currently, this is what you'll hear if you call me and I don't answer:

“Hey, Teresa Cleveland, here! Thanks for calling The Entrepreneur's Toolbox where we provide business building tools at your fingertips. I'm excited that you called and I promise to get back to you within 2 business days, 1 if you tell me your favorite kind of snack. Me? I love Milk Duds. In the meantime, you can find us online at www.TheEntrepreneursToolbox.com or Facebook.com/TheEntrepreneursToolbox. Chat soon!”

Your turn. Share what your voice mail greeting says in the comments below.



  1. Katie Swinehart on March 1, 2015 at 6:22 pm

    I usually state that if the caller has been referred to me for them to please let me know who to thank.

    • Teresa Cleveland on March 1, 2015 at 7:47 pm

      Nice, Katie! It’s also a great way to let other callers know you are accepting referrals.

  2. Sara on March 24, 2015 at 4:32 pm

    I like Katie’s idea. I don’t currently have a dedicated business line. I do most of my communication through email or scheduled calls.

    • Teresa Cleveland on March 25, 2015 at 10:38 am

      Thanks for stopping by, Sara. I use my cell phone as my business phone and typically for set appointments. Anyone calling outside of appoinments gets the voice mail usually. I figure friends and family will understand when they receive the business message. They usually leave some kind of silly message and add that they’re going to hold me to the 1 or 2 day return call window. 🙂

      I really like Katie’s ideas also!!

  3. Ellen Mann on March 25, 2015 at 10:01 am

    Hi Teresa! Any recommendations on voice mail messages when your phone is used for personal and business? You ROCK!

    • Teresa Cleveland on March 25, 2015 at 10:47 am

      Hey Ellen~Great to see you here & thanks for the shout out…back at ya!!

      I use my cell phone as my business phone and I figure friends and family will understand when they receive the business message.

      I have heard messages that say something like, “You have reached the Smiths and the office of Jane Smith” along with whatever else they want to say. Personally I don’t care for it , I think it’s a huge credibility buster.

      You could check out Google Voice and see if that would be a good fit for you. You can check out the overview at https://www.google.com/googlevoice/about.html.

      Let me know what you decide.

Leave a Comment