All professional voicemail greetings aren’t created equal.

Depending on the size and complexity of your business, you may need different types of professional voicemail greetings to serve your customers well.

That’s particularly true if your company is large enough to benefit from professional voicemail greetings for departments. Just as you personalize your individual voicemail greetings you should also personalize your departmental greetings.

Departments often need to communicate specific information to callers as well as ask for specific information from callers in their professional voicemail greetings.

So when writing and recording your department greetings, keep in mind these seven key elements:

Element #1: State your department name clearly

It’s important to make sure your caller knows to what department he or she has been routed. If it’s not the right one, you can’t help them and you’re wasting your time and theirs. They’ll appreciate knowing they got the wrong department and can select a response to be re-routed. And if it is the right department, then they’ll feel reassured.

Element #2: State that you can’t take their call

Yes, this is stating the obvious. But assuming they know that you can’t take their call leaves an awkward gap in the conversational flow of the call. So just say, “We’re sorry that we can’t take your call right now’ – and then move on.

Element #3: Invite them to leave a message

Again, obvious – but callers really do need directions. Depending on your department, you may even need to ask them to personalize the message such as ‘Please leave your company name’ or ‘account number’. Ask for the information you need so that when you call them back, you’re ready to help them.

Element #4: Let them know when they can expect a return call

If you give the caller an estimate on when to expect a return call, you are reassuring them that they’ve been heard. How many times have you left your number never to receive a call back? It happens all too often. So you’ll be ahead of the game if you tell them when you’ll call back and then deliver on that promise.

Element #5: Offer additional options

Sometimes, it serves the caller best for you to offer other options: such a number to call in case of emergencies. Make sure to include these options when appropriate.

Element #6: Direct callers to the website

Direct callers to the website or social media platforms with information that may help such as: days and hours of operation, business locations and ‘frequently asked questions’.

Element #7: Be brief

Make sure your message is no longer than 20-25 seconds. Any longer and you risk the caller hanging up. Be brief and let the caller leave a message.

The Reward

Remember that professional voicemail greetings are your lifeline to callers when you can’t pick up the call. Do them well and you’re more likely to convert callers to customers and have a higher customer satisfaction rate.