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Business Voicemail Etiquette

A voicemail message from your business's top client could make or break your business, so provide an appropriate greeting on your voicemail system and get back to the caller as soon as you can. When you record your voicemail greeting, remember that you're at work and not at home. Record a professional greeting that includes your name and your business's name.

Most people change their message when they are out of town on vacation or away on business for more than a day. You can record a message informing the caller when you'll be out of the office and saying that you'll return the call when you get back. You may also leave the name and number of someone else in the office who can help the caller if he or she can't wait until you return.

When you get a message on your voicemail system, remember to return the call the same day, if possible, or the next morning.

When you leave a message on someone else’s voicemail system, the first thing to do — before leaving the message — is give your name, your company affiliation, your telephone number, and the date and time of your call. Then, leave a short message that's direct and to the point. At the end of the message, repeat your name and your phone number, slowly.

All this applies to answering machines as well as voice mail. But one issue concerning answering machines requires separate treatment: Never admit to using your answering machine as a screening device. If you want to take the call after the answering machine has begun, say something like, "Hi. Sorry; I was in the other room." This technique keeps your paranoid callers from (rightfully) feeling screened.

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