After Hours Voicemail and Auto Attendant Greetings

Most businesses will automatically play a recording if you try to call their office when they are closed. An after hours announcement is a professional way to notify callers of important details, rather than making them wait for the call to failover to a voicemail box or other destination.

While it may seem like a small detail, setting up an after hours announcement can help you win and keep customers. By presenting a clear, welcoming message containing relevant information about your business, you are showing callers that you value their time.

If your recording is vague, confusing, or drags on, customers will lose interest and hang up the phone instead of leaving a voicemail message. To help you create an effective after hours announcement, here are some best practices and sample scripts you can employ.

Sample business voicemail greeting

1. State Your Business Name

The first thing your callers should hear is the name of your business or organization. This assures them that they have dialed the right phone number and keeps them on the line. You may also want to include your address if there are multiple companies with the same name.

Example:

Hi. You've reached Teflon Carpeting. Our business is located at 103 Maple Pine Street, Atlanta, Georgia....

2. Mention Hours of Operation Upfront

Most callers expect their call to be answered. Once they realize that your office is currently closed, the most important piece of information they probably want to know is your standard business hours.

While this information can be tucked behind a phone menu option, it's best to state it upfront in your after hours recording. This way, callers can decide whether to call back at a better time, or leave a voicemail message.

Example:

You've reached Big Apple Cleaners. We are currently closed. Our regular business hours are from 9 am to 9 pm, Monday through Friday. If you would like to leave a voicemail, please include your name and phone number, and we'll respond to you as soon as possible. Thank you and have a nice day.

After hours announcement recording

3. Offer Clear Next Steps

For many small businesses, the announcement will send the caller straight to a voicemail box. But larger organizations may decide to direct callers to a phone menu or forward the call to an external destination, depending on the situation. These options can include:

  • Listing individual voicemail boxes for different departments or employees.
  • Forwarding calls to a professional answering service.
  • Giving callers an option to connect to an after hours or emergency support line.
  • Directing calls to a personal cell phone.
  • Presenting menu options for additional recordings about office locations, ongoing promotions, and other information.

If you have a business VoIP phone system that offers an auto attendant feature, you should be able to create a phone menu fairly easily. Be sure to state which key the caller should press to select an option on the menu.

Example:

You've reached Wainwright Packaging. We are currently closed and will re-open at 8 am tomorrow. For our office locations, press 1. To track a package via Fed EX, press 2. To track a package via UPS, press 3. To track a package via USPS, press 4. For after hours support, press 5. To leave a voicemail, press 6.

See our blog on Auto Attendant Greeting Scripts for more advice on auto attendant scripts.

4. Include Other Contact Methods

If there are other ways to get in touch with your business, or receive information about your products, you may want to include them in the after hours greeting. Websites and emails are often the most popular forms of alternative contact.

Example:

You've reached the Angola Yacht Club. Club hours are Tuesday through Sunday, 10 am to 10 pm. For more information about boat rentals, visit www.angolayacht.com. If you would like to join the club, please send an email to tim@angolayacht.com.

Phone menu greeting script

5. Be Brief

The best after hours greetings are brief, direct, and punctual. Do not waste the customer's time and give them a reason to hang up by adding in unnecessary details. The information in your after hours greeting should remain concise and essential to the caller's needs.

Example:

Thank you for calling Cutlas IT Solutions. Our office is currently closed. Regular store hours are 9 am to 7 pm, Monday through Saturday. Please leave a voicemail with your name and phone number for our staff after the beep.

6. Keep Your Recording Up to Date

If your business is closing on one of its normal operating days for a holiday, or is dealing with an emergency or unforseen situation, you should update your after hours announcement to avoid confusion.

Mention the details up front to notify callers of the situation immediately. If possible, specify which dates your office will be closed or when you will be back in business.

Company Holiday Schedule

Example:

You've reached New Age Construction. We are currently closed from December 25th to January 2nd for the holiday season. To speak to an on-call construction worker, press 1...

General Business Closure

Example:

You've reached Sierra Moon Surf Shop. We are currently closed until March 3rd. Please check our website for merchandise updates.

Local Weather Emergency

Example:

Thank you for calling Davidson Rentals. We're currently closed today and tomorrow due to the hurricane warning. We expect to reopen on Wednesday at 10 am. After hours support will be unavailable during this time period. Thank you for your cooperation.

Professional auto attendant greeting script

After Hours Greetings: Keep Customers Hooked

There's no single best way to craft an after hours greeting. The most important point is that you equip your customers with what they need to know, and give them an avenue to contact you, whether that's through voicemail, email, or other channels.

In a concise fashion, you should relate the hours your business functions, and note any potential conflicts such as holidays or business closures. Use an auto attendant if you have more than one menu option for the customer, such as a voicemail box and an emergency support line.

While a short recording may not seem like a place to win new business, the professionalism, courtesy, and clearness that you convey in your greeting will leave a favorable impression in a customer's mind.

For more tips and scripts on professional phone and voicemail greetings, here are some additional blogs:

Topics: SMB Leadership, hostedPBX, greeting script