A Better Voice Mail Greeting

I change my voice mail greeting everyday, so that it references the current day. Why? Because I want people to know that I am on top of my messages and their message is important to me.

Whenever I discover a recurring activity like this, I try to “template” the process. By this I mean that I try to find a solution that represents the optimal way for me to perform the activity.

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/bouillabaisse, Image #3821334

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/bouillabaisse

This is what Michael Gerber in his must-read book The E-Myth Revisited calls working on your business rather than simply working in your business.

I then document the process (which is also a template) and insert it into my “personal procedure manual.” This makes it very easy to pass the procedure along or train someone else. From time to time, I tweak the procedure to improve it.

To template the “change my voice mail greeting procedure, I first automated the process. I started by programming into my cell phone my voice mail telephone number and then all the keystrokes necessary to log in and initiate the ”change your greeting“ feature. I was able to reduce the sequence of twenty-seven keystrokes to two: I press the speed key to dial my voice mail number once, then, once I’m connected, I press a key to initiate the log-in process.

Next, I wrote a simple phone greeting script that I could reuse each day. It goes like this:

Hi, you’ve reached the voice mailbox of Mike Hyatt. Please note you can bypass this message at any time by pressing ”1.“ Today is [day of week], [date].

  • I am in the office, but I’m either on my phone or away from my desk;
  • I am in the office but will be in meetings all day;
  • I am out of the office on business; or
  • I am out of the office on vacation.

However, your call is very important to me. If you will leave a message, I will call you back at my first opportunity. If you need immediate assistance, press zero-pound to speak to my assistant, Vicki Parr. Thanks for calling.

Finally, I memorized the script, using the first bullet point, since that is the one I use most often. This enables me to change my voice mail message first thing in the morning, while I am driving to work. I simply recite it form memory. By now, I can do it in my sleep.

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  • http://www.blogforbooks.com Stacy Harp

    Mike, this is a great idea. Do you do this on weekends too?

    Thank you also for the tips in the previous post, I will attempt to try tweaking the code again.

  • http://www.michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

    No, I just do this on the weekdays. Thanks.

  • Lin

    This reinforces the value of blogging. By suggesting not dictating this procedure, I think that several people will make it a part of their daily practice. This creates positive change within the organization. In addition, it opens up your “Personal Procedures” for suggested improvements.

    Now for that critique … My initial reaction was this is a long greeting. I’ve made a effort to minimize the words in my own standard greeting. There appears to be some words that could be removed. Something as simple as mail instead of mailbox or skip instead of bypass to improve speech speed & continuity.

  • http://www.michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt


    Great input. I thought it was a little long, too. That’s why I added the “press 1″ by pass. However, I like your suggestions on using simpler words. Now if I can just retrain my brain!



  • http://www.activechristianmedia.com Stacy L. Harp

    I don’t think it’s too long at all :) and I just implemented this practice on my cell phone, and it’s interesting because I also now feel more compelled to follow through on returning my calls. I do anyway, but somehow doing the voicemail daily makes it seem like I’m more accountable.

  • Jim Gerkin

    Michael, Right on target again. I try to do the same but always seem to get behind so I have taped the scripts to my visor with reminder to do it before I get to work. I am using a headset for my Moto Q for listening to books so this should be a much easier task with speed dialing my cell and my office extensions.

    PS Don’t ever quit blogging, A while back you slowed way down for a short while and I went through withdrawals. I have met and emailed at least 10 to 15 people I would have never had contact with without reading your blogs.

    Index to my first book has also been recorded on paper. I have been using your suggestions and recommendations on writing in my material. I hope to get it published someday soon; it’s about teaching other men about being a great husband and father. Not a new concept, but I do approach it with a new eye and have been told it is and I am entertaining and on target. I work full time as speaker and trainer and use that opportunity as a sounding board for some of my ideas.

    Have a great 2007!

    To your Success,


  • http://www.voxxmail.com/a_better_voice_mail_greeting-archive.html VoxxMail

    A Better Voice Mail Greeting

    [Source: From Where I Sit] quoted: Because I want people to know that I am on top of my messages and their message is important to me. Whenever I discover a recurring activity like this, I try to template the process.

  • http://www.youmail.com marc

    nice article. Try our free cell phone voicemail service that allows you to customize greetings for individual callers and even create groups.

  • http://rosytorn-800phonenumber.blogspot.com/ voicemail greeting

    Voice mail greeting is the front liner in the business. So, making a professional and courteous greeting can drive in callers. Thus increasing response rate which would led to generation of additional sales.
    My recent post Customize Your Number and Build Your Brand

    • Crystal Clear

      What is really the point in changing it everyday if you are changing it to the same 5 different greetings? Why not be MORE CREATIVE?

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/jossecarr jossecarr

    The cordial and professional business phone greeting can create a very good and lasting impression from callers. Making you sound big in the competitive world of business.

  • Pingback: Business voice mail greeting()

  • Tarja Phillips

    Hello I just discovered your blog. It is great idea changing your voicemail greetings everyaday, it shows that you care and have concern for people calling you. Thank you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/KellyDilauro Kelly Harris DiLauro

    Hi Michael.  Any tips on voicemail for the company directory, such as Sales Dept, Order Dept.?

  • http://proudvoices.com/ Garrett

    i also have a tip for small business owners. Set up an automated voicemail system where callers can qualify themselves as customers, employees, potential employees, potential business partners. This way you can prioritize your calls and reduce your work load.

    Also my business (http://proudvoices.com) creates custom voice mails for businesses to add a little bit of extra professionalism.