A general voicemail greeting is what callers will be greeted with if you are unable to answer the phone at work. It is the everyday greeting, used as the default, unless you have set up a temporary greeting, such as an away message while you're on vacation, or a special message during a holiday. This general voicemail greeting will be played for both external calls originating from outside of your company and internal calls made by people calling from another extension within your company.
Since you never know when callers will hear this message, it’s best to keep this greeting brief, professional, and general. Here are a few tips and ideas you can use to record a suitable voicemail greeting.
Tips for Recording Your Voicemail Greeting
When recording this message, you should speak clearly, and your message should be concise. Be sure to spell out your name or email address if you’re asking the caller to follow up with written correspondence.
You'll also want to make sure to record your greeting at a time and place with minimal background noise. That way, your voice will be clear, and your message easy to understand, without anything like a garbage truck outside or noisy meeting next door to drown you out or distract the caller.
Most importantly, you’ll want to practice your recording several times, listening to each attempt until you are satisfied that it's polished and professional.
Avoid dates and time frames for when you'll return calls—after all, you have no way of knowing when the caller will hear the message.
General Voicemail Greeting Examples
Here are a few ideas for greetings that can get you started, ranging from strictly businesslike to a less-formal greeting.
- Hello, you have reached Jim Smith. Unfortunately, I cannot take your call right now, but I would like to return it as soon as I can. So please leave me a message after the beep.
- Hi, this is Jim Smith. I can't answer the phone right now, but if you leave me a message with your name and phone number, I will return your call as soon as possible.
- You have reached Jim Smith. I can't take your call at the moment, but please don't hesitate to leave a message after the tone. I will return your call as soon as I am able. If you need immediate assistance, please call my assistant, Susan Jones, at extension 6338. Thank you for calling. Good-bye.
- You have reached Jim Smith in operations technology. Unfortunately, I can't take your call right now, but if you leave a message and include your name and telephone number, I will get back to you as soon as I can. You can also contact me via email at JSmith@XYZ.com. Thank you for calling.
- Hello, you have reached Jim Smith. I cannot answer the phone right now, but I will return your call as soon as I can. If this is regarding a recent order, please call our Customer Service Department at 1-800-555-1212. They are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Eastern time. Or you can log in to our website at XYZ.com. Otherwise, please leave a message after the beep.
- Thank you for calling. You have reached the office of Jim Smith. I am either speaking with another client at the moment, or I am away from my desk. If this is an emergency, please call my answering service at 1-800-555-1212, which is operational 24/7. Otherwise, please leave a detailed message after the tone, and I will return your call when I am available. Thank you.
- Hi, you've reached Jim Smith in the XYZ department. I'm not available at the moment, but if you leave a message with your contact information, I'll be sure to get back to you by the end of the business day. If you've reached me after hours or on the weekend, and you need immediate assistance, please contact our call center at 1-800-555-1212. Have a great day.
Tweak and personalize any of these options to fit your corporate culture and your personality, but try not to stray too far from these basics.
Grabbing the Listener's Attention
Coloring outside of the lines isn't for everyone, especially if you work in a formal corporate environment. But if you work in an upbeat profession like sales or even have a more reserved position at a place like a science foundation, don't be afraid to get creative to get someone's attention. For instance, you can end your voice message by posing a fun fact question such as, "If you drill a hole in the earth from top to the bottom and jump in, how long will it take to reach the bottom?" Let the caller know that if they answer correctly (42 minutes) they'll reach the top of your call-back list.
If you earn a living as a motivational speaker, you can end your message with a motivational quote. In both cases, be sure to keep your closing remark brief and professional.