Answering Machine Messages (With Examples)

By Chris Kolmar - Dec. 8, 2020

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In today’s world of digital messaging, email, and text messaging, your business answering machine message might be an afterthought. However, you’d be surprised how many people still prefer to use phones and speak to a person directly or leave a voicemail message that can be returned at a later time.

That’s why your business needs to have a voicemail system and an appropriate message. When potential customers or important partners call after business hours, you need a way to capture their information and reason for calling. Every lead is a potential selling opportunity or partnership opportunity.

Being thoughtful about your answering machine message on your business line is significant. It boosts your credibility, helps make your company (or you) seem more competent, and encourages the caller to continue the conversation at a later date.

How to Make Great Answering Machine Messages

Voicemail greetings should be professional, but depending on you, the company you’re with or own , and the situation, the structure may vary. There are a few different considerations to keep in mind when you’re thinking about and recording your voicemail greeting.

  • Don’t be generic. Being generic is the best way to turn people off from your business and possibly hang up with phone without even leaving information for follow up. The phrase “Your call is very important to us…” or something equally as generic can be a turn-off for many people. Even worse, leaving your voicemail with the generic voicemail template we all know. Remember, this is your opportunity to make a great first impression. Don’t tell people you’re just like everyone else.

  • Confirm they’re calling the correct place. The first thing you should do on your voicemail message is to confirm where the caller has reached. Let them know who they have reached by providing your name and what business you are part of. If these things are not relevant to your situation, consider mentioning which department they have reached instead.

  • Apologize for missing their call. Next, apologize that you couldn’t answer the phone and reassure the caller that you will return their call at a later date and time. This is critical because you never know what kind of state a person may be in when giving you a call. Perhaps they have a very urgent message or were hoping they could reach you for a quick answer. Offering some reassurance will give them peace of mind and be more open when you do get around to returning their call.

  • Invite them to leave a message. Many people might hang up after hearing a voicemail begin. However, it’s essential to encourage your caller to leave you a message in your voice mailbox. Take this a step further and ask them for specific information such as their full name and a preferred call back number. This will encourage them to leave you a voicemail if they hope to receive a call back from you.

  • Give them a timeframe for a return call. Again, your caller might feel slightly frustrated or inconvenienced at missing you. However, if you provide them with a turnaround time for when they can expect a callback, this will reassure them that they will still get the answer they’re seeking promptly.

    However, be sure you can meet the timeframe you set and be aware of this if you are considering leaving this in your voicemail message for some time. For example, saying you can return their call in an hour is likely unrealistic, especially if you are in a meeting or not near your phone. Typically for these types of timeframes, you will need to have someone monitoring your inbox regularly. Giving them a day or two turnaround time is more realistic.

  • List additional contact options. If your caller’s message is very urgent, you should consider leaving them with a few other options for contacting you. For example, if someone is trying to reach you and you’re in a meeting or attending a personal matter, you can ask them to text or email you to limit the disturbance. Another option can be to ask them to call back during certain hours when you will be available.

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  • Avoid giving out too much information. When in doubt, keep it short and simple. You don’t need to give your caller a rundown of where you are and why you may not be available. A simple message that instructs them they will receive a callback and how they can contact you if it is an emergency will suffice. Too much information can be a big turnoff and cause people to not want to engage with you further. An optimal time for a voicemail message is 25 seconds or less.

Top 7 Business Voicemail Greetings Examples

Not sure where to start? We’ve compiled the top seven business voicemail greetings you can get started with. Of course, you can alter these to fit your own brand and tone of voice.

  1. Hi, you’ve reached Eliza Day, Founder and CEO of Green Truck Engines. I’m sorry to have missed your call. Please leave your name, phone number, and business name, along with a brief message at the tone. I’ll be sure to return your call within twenty-four hours. Have a nice day!

  2. Hi, this is Angie Kinney with Harper Collins. I’m either away from my desk or currently on a phone call unable to take your call. Please let your name, number, and a brief message, and I will return your call at my earliest availability.

  3. Hello, you have reached the office of King & King. Our offices are closed for a brief holiday until December 28th. If this is an urgent matter, please send your inquiry to info@kingandking.com, a monitored email inbox. For all other inquiries, we will return your call when the office reopens. Thank you!

  4. Hello, this is Kate Chadwick of Scholastic, Inc. I’m so sorry I missed your call. If this is an urgent matter, please feel free to text me at this number or sent an email to kchadwick@scholastic.com. Or leave a message at the tone, and I will respond to it once I am able. Thank you!

  5. Hello! You have reached LeadCatcher, Inc. All of our representatives are currently busy helping other customers, but we’re eager to serve you as soon as possible. For current pricing information or troubleshooting questions, please visit our website at leadcatcher.org for general information that may help your inquiry. Otherwise, please leave us your name, phone number, business, and a brief message so that we can return your call in a timely manner. To return to the main menu, please press one.

  6. Thank you for calling Apple, Inc. We are sorry to miss your call, but we are currently closed. Our normal operating hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Please leave a message at the tone with your name, phone number, business, and a brief message, and we will return your call when we are back in the office. Thank you for calling!

  7. Thanks for calling the office of Landscaping Unlimited. Unfortunately, we are currently away from the phone and are unable to take your call. Please leave us a detailed message at the tone with your name and phone number, and we will return your call as soon as possible. Thank you for calling, and have a wonderful day!

All of these messages are dependent on your situation and your business. For example, some companies may give each employee their personal phone number and voice mail, which means you should make your message more personal and individual. However, some organizations only have one phone number and an inbox that includes all messages, no matter the department. For these, you can use a more generic greeting, but still with your own flair.

Example Personal Voicemail Greetings

Personal voicemail greetings can be more casual, laidback, and even funny. These can maintain professionalism or simply be humorous to get a laugh from your caller. Here are some examples below:

  • Hello, I’m unable to get to my phone right now to take your call. But my answering machine is able to, so have a chat with it instead. Wait for the beep!

  • Hello, I am Maria’s answering machine. What are you, and why are you calling me?

  • Hi, this is Margot’s answering machine. She isn’t available, but I certainly am.

  • Hello. This is a recorded message capable of receiving messages. I should warn you that my owners do not need new siding, windows, a hot tub, or carpet cleaning. They’ve already donated to charities of their choice and don’t really like having their photos taken. If you’re not eliminated by any of those things, feel free to leave a message.

  • Hi, I’m probably avoiding your call. Leave me a message, and if I don’t call back, you’ll know why.

  • Hello, you’ve reached the number you’ve dialed. Please leave a brief message after the…beep!

  • Hi there. I apologize for being unable to pick up the phone, but if you hop three times, spin six times, touch your tongue to your nose, and say your name before leaving me a message after the beep, I promise to return your call within the next hour.

  • Hi, it’s Rachel. Moving forward, I am only returning voicemails left in this inbox as very catchy pop tunes. Good luck! Wait for the beep.

  • Hi, this is Matt. I’m sorry I missed your call but please leave me a message and wait by your phone for me to return it.

  • We’re sorry, you’ve reached a number that doesn’t exist. Try a different dimension. Thanks!

  • Thanks for trying to reach Michael, but he doesn’t exist at the moment. If you leave your message, name, and a callback number, we’ll let him know when he comes back.

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Chris Kolmar

Author

Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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