How Do I Create the Best Business Answering Machine Greeting?

G. Wiesen

The business answering machine greeting you use should be fairly short and to the point, though you can use it as a way to demonstrate what your business has to offer. Your overall tone in the message should be professional and indicate to callers that though their call has been missed at that moment, they are important and you plan on contacting them as soon as possible. Within this, however, you should not indicate that you are talking to someone more important than the caller. Your business answering machine greeting should also be customized in any way you deem appropriate for your business and needs.

Smiling while speaking can make a business answering machine greeting sound pleasant.
Smiling while speaking can make a business answering machine greeting sound pleasant.

A business answering machine greeting is a message recorded on the voicemail or answering machine of a company. Since this message is going to be heard by at least some of your customers, you should be sure to keep the message professional. For the most part, you should not create a message that is silly or funny, but instead provide important and useful information in a way that is professional and fairly fast. You can, however, use the message as a quick opportunity to include a brief statement about a particular service you offer such as “Thank you for calling The House of Pies, home of the world famous zucchini and artichoke pie.”

Jotting down the greeting will prevent mistakes when recording it.
Jotting down the greeting will prevent mistakes when recording it.

The information you provide in your business answering machine greeting can vary depending on your specific needs, though some basic information is common. You should indicate the business that has been reached, including a specific name if you have a personal business number or extension. If the message is for general use, you might indicate that you are unavailable, though a message for use after business hours can provide the caller with regular business hours. You should not, however, use any language that could be taken to indicate that you are busy with a task that is more important than your caller.

Any business answering machine greeting you use should also be customized and personal for your needs. If you have an emergency service, that a caller can activate through the press of a button for faster response, then you should indicate this in the message. It can also be helpful to remind callers of the information they need to provide in their message, such as their name, contact information, and reason for calling. You should also thank the caller for his or her call at the end of your message and indicate that you plan on returning the call as soon as possible.

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Discussion Comments


Nothing drives me crazier than a business answering machine message that is way too long. If all of this information is available on a website, then the message should include a line like "For more information about our company, please visit (website URL)". I think the hours of operation, a few lines about the importance of my phone call, and then a prompt to wait for the recording tone should be enough.


I think one of the most important things to include in a business answering machine message is the hours of operation. I've often called a local business during evening hours, hoping that someone might still be there to answer a question or take a message. If I get an answering machine, I always want to know when it would be best to call back. It could be that the business was still open at night, but no one could get to the phone. By including that information on the outgoing message, I'll know not to make any more after-hours calls.

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