Even though you may be working from home, it is important that you always present a professional image.  Part of that professional image comes in the form of your voicemail greeting.  You will not likely answer every call you ever get for any number of reasons.  When you can’t pick up, it’s crucial that your caller hears a professional voicemail greeting.  This should not take you long, and is relatively easy to do.  If you send the wrong message on your voicemail greeting though, it could be a small thing that makes a big negative difference.

5 Requirements for a Professional Voicemail Greeting

  1. State who you are – I would love to think that this one is obvious.  But I have made plenty of calls where I am sure I have dialed the right number, only to second guess myself because the person I am calling does not leave their name.  If existing or potential clients/customers have the number, make sure your name is on the voicemail greeting.
  2. Apologize for not being able to answer – If you are working out of a home office, it does not mean that people expect you to answer the phone at all times.  It is a good common courtesy to include something like “I am sorry I can’t take your call right now”.  To me, it lets the caller know that their call is important without coming right out and saying it.
  3. Let people know when you will call back – If you will call back same-day, let them know.  If you will call back within 24 hours, let them know.  It doesn’t necessarily matter what the time frame is, it just matters that you give the caller some indication of when they should expect you to return their call.
  4. Thank them for calling – This may not be a requirement, but I always do it.  I close my voicemail greeting by simply saying “Thank you”.  It might not help, but in my opinion, it certainly doesn’t hurt.  It’s another way to keep a professional tone to the greeting.
  5. Keep it short – If you follow these steps above, you should be able to get your message out in about 15 – 20 seconds.  If your message is anything much more than that, your caller is probably not listening any more anyway.  About.com suggests 20-25 seconds as well.

Out of Office Tips for a Professional Voicemail Greeting

If you are going to be out of the (home) office for any length of time, it is important to let your callers know this.  Going to be out of the office, but still taking and returning calls?  Then you can ignore this section.  If you will be on a business trip, or vacation though, and will have a hard time answering messages in your normal time frame, you should let your caller know.

  • Let them know the days that you will have limited or no access to voicemail.  You could say something like “Starting (day 1 of absence), I will be out of the office with no access to voicemail.  I will return to the office on (first day back from absence) and will return calls as soon as I return”.
  • Provide alternative solutions for time-sensitive calls.  Can they email you in the interim?  Or refer to your website?  If you have a colleague, or assistant, you should leave their name and contact information to allow the caller to attempt to find their solution prior to your return.

An Example of a Professional Voicemail Greeting Script

OK, so let’s put it all together.  Here is what I would typically say on my voicemail greeting:

Hello, you’ve reached Adam with Home Office Genius.  I am sorry I can’t take your call at this time.  Please leave a message with your name, phone number, and the nature of your call.  I will return your call within 24 hours.  Thank you.

That’s it.  A short professional voicemail greeting.  Simple, but effective.  What do you think?  Did I miss anything here?  If so, please leave me a comment below.  Thanks!

  • Updated August 16, 2016
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