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Voicemail Etiquette

Aparna Iyer Mar 14, 2019
Although voicemail has become indispensable in modern telephonic systems, many times people tend to misuse the system by not following proper etiquette. Here's what you should know when leaving a voicemail.
With the advent of the transmission of messages over communication networks, development of email systems that supported audio were but natural. Voicemail allowed people to receive and leave messages by executing the appropriate command in the email system.
Business firms purchased such systems, or rented them from a chosen service provider. Considering that voicemail has become an indispensable mode of communication, in the business world, one is expected to observe certain unspoken rules and etiquette.


The recipient of voicemail should take the effort of recording a personalized greeting, although the automated attendant feature, that accompanies voicemails, allows people to use a prerecorded greeting.
Personalized greetings have the effect of conveying to the message bearer the recipient's interest in what the latter has to say. The greeting should be courteous and should carry all the relevant information, viz. the recipient's name, department, designation, and other details as deemed necessary.


The message bearer should ensure that the recipient is able to identify the latter. Telephone etiquette demands that the message should be concise and should impress upon the recipient the benefit of reverting. The caller should also provide a suitable time and date when the recipient can reach the former.

Keeping the Message Bearer Informed

It is important to keep the caller informed when one is expected to be unavailable for a short or an extended period of time. The following voicemail features can help the recipient keep the caller informed about the former's whereabouts.

Changing the Current Status

There are a number of options that allow the recipient to announce his/her current status to the caller. The options, viz. available, engaged in a meeting, currently unavailable, at lunch, on vacation, have the effect of communicating to the caller the recipient's interest in ensuring that the former is not left wondering about the latter's whereabouts.

Using the Call Forwarding Feature

The recipient of the message should ensure that he/she responds promptly. In case one is on a vacation, it would be best to use the call forwarding feature, so that the call can be routed to other devices like pagers or cell phones.

Referral Extension

This is preferred when one is expected to be unavailable for an extended period of time. People can direct the call from their voicemail box to another person's mail box.
The caller may be referred to a person who is expected to render the necessary assistance during the recipient's absence. It would not hurt to provide the caller the option of faxing the message to the recipient in case it is urgent.

Fax on Demand

Fax on demand allows callers to retrieve information via fax by following voice prompts. Fax on demand is useful for businesspersons since they can provide the necessary information to their customers at all times.
Hopefully, this piece would have provided some insight about the features that voicemail has to offer, and how best to use those to ensure that one observes proper voicemail etiquette.