Personal vs. Business Voicemail Greetings
Sound Communication: The Holdcom Blog
Recording voicemail greetings for your business or personal life requires a separate list of priorities, because they are being used for two distinct purposes and will be heard by two very different types of callers. I have a friend with two cell phones - one for work, and one for personal calls - and if you call both lines, you would never know it's the same person. While the message on his personal line might not be ideal, he took the time to record a professional voicemail message for his business phone, which makes it stand out.
Business Voicemail Greetings
If you are recording a voicemail message for business, be sure you include your name and your company's name, so people know who they are calling and were they are reaching them. If you do not include the business name, they may think they have mistakenly called you at your personal number. You will also want to make sure to give callers the option to speak to someone who is currently available, an operator or other representative, by pressing a certain key (check with IT personnel to see what this might be).
You might also consider giving them the option to skip your voicemail message completely by pressing another key (again, check with IT). You also want to make callers aware what you will return their call, instead of telling them that you will try to return their call--and let them know when you are likely to do it, if possible. If necessary, provide additional or emergency information in your voicemail greetings. My dentist, for example, lists his cell phone number for emergencies.
Last, make sure you keep this voicemail account up to date, especially if you have some kind of "out of office" message, telling people where you are. Michael Hyatt updates his voicemail message every day-- it may seem excessive, but it lets his callers know that he regularly checks his voicemail, cares about messages he receives, and is likely to get back to them.
Personal Voicemail Greetings
The voicemail greetings you use in your personal life can be a little bit different--only if you do not use these lines for business purposes. This blog will help you if you are trying to record a cell phone voicemail greeting for business. If your personal voicemail really is personal, you can change it significantly from your business voicemail greeting. At home, make sure your recording uses your name or family's name. If you have unrelated people using the same phone number, consider setting up different mail boxes for each, or be sure to list the people who receive calls at the number. You might also want to consider setting up different mailboxes for these people, if your phone has this capability. For safety purposes, never say that you are "not home" or "away on vacation until August 16th!" Your personal voicemail can be a little more casual than the one you use for business and it can reflect your personality--but don't go overboard. It should still be short and simple.
Of course, there are a few things you will always want to keep in mind when you are recording any message. First, a voicemail greeting can be your first impression, so you'll always want to take the time to think about what you'll say when you record it. You might want to write a script or just go over what you'll say in your head. Be sure to ask callers for their name, a message, and a call back number, or you might get stuck with "Hey, it's me, call me back" (I'm notorious for leaving messages like this). Be sure you practice speaking slowly and clearly as you deliver your short, to the point message. It's also a good idea to leave 1 to 2 seconds of silence before you begin speaking, so callers have time to absorb your message.
Use this diagram to keep track of how to record voicemail greetings: