Thursday Grouporation: Answering Machine Message

January 11, 2007 - Get free updates of new posts here

I thought of something new to try for 2007. Grouporation!

The opportunity for us as a group to collaborate and help 1 new site, blog, offline product, mom & pop shop, etc… each week with a usability, marketing or other challenge.

This weeks challenge is Anwering Machine Message.

Problem: Many businesses miss out on an effective and more useful than “leave a message after the beep” message.

Question for you: What are some creative Answering Machine Messages you have heard? What are the key things for them to be great?

Update: Please leave a comment and help if you want your site, product or service to be reviewed in the future.

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6 responses to “Thursday Grouporation: Answering Machine Message

  1. Miles Reply

    cool idea, be glad to throw our project out there to be reviewed/slammed/laughed at – whatever it takes to make it better.

    As for voicemails – are we talking about leaving a voice mail or the answering message that you hear when you call a business? I know just a simple mention of a web site is great when you call a business after hours ‘we are currenly closed but you can visist us online anytime @” etc etc.

    Not rocket sciencetistry but helps to get more info.

  2. Noah Kagan Reply

    Thanks Miles!

    I was thinking about the answering machine message. I am also curious about leaving voice mails. One great tip that I always give to people is to leave there phone #s twice at the beginning and end of voice mails.

    I have called places and heard some compelling voice mails and others where they are still wishing me a Merry Christmas….

  3. Blake P. Reply

    Leaving something catchy is such a hit or miss deal. Most of the ones that I have heard you could tell that they were trying to be funny and ended up coming across as trying too hard. I am interested to hear what others have come across.

    Please feel free to help us if you can. You can go with Defy since I see you might do something for innertee (we aren’t competitors but it may be too similar).

  4. Michael Morisy Reply

    The BEST answering machine (ok, not really an answering machine, but bear with me) I can recall is Dale’s Den AdTalk. Sort of an underground sensation between my friends, myself, and a few others on the interwebs. Try it yourself at 334-756-3336.

    Dale’s Den is a BBQ joint in Souther Alabama. Basically, you call the number and a gravelly, endearing voice begins “Dale’s Den Ad Talk.” After that begins a rambling, nearly incoherent but hilarious recap of what Dale and his Den have been up to. Occasionally Dale will also wax about football, politics, and religion, and the message goes on … and on … and on. Every once in a while Dale will discourse, mystified, upon a bunch of youngins showing up asking all sorts of questions about Ad Talk.

    So what can this do for your answering service? Maybe create a voice prompt 1) leave a message 2) hear our ad spiel. But if you include the latter, make it as memorable as Dale: Create a compelling, endearing character (preferably one of your actual employees) to give advice, give corporate updates, etc. It’s kind of like a low-tech blog.

    Even if you don’t go full-blown ad talk, incorporating REAL voices can be very compelling. If your target demographic is middle aged mothers, have your kids sing a song, etc. into the voicemail. If your reaching a hipper demographic, maybe a local celebrity could make your stand out. Keeping it fresh and new, like Noah pointed out, also really helps.

    However, that is all marketing. As far as usefulness goes, Tony is right: Short is sweet. A cute little jingle is fine, but keep it little or risk people hanging up before they get to that all important beep.

    Just my 2 cents 🙂

  5. Berry Reply

    From a boring but practical point of view (by the way incorporating the website in the message is a good one).

    I really don’t know of any good original ideas. I suppose anything short and creative would be OK- as long as you cover the basics of who you are.

    Be upbeat- unless you are in a business where you should be professional sounding- like a funeral home.

    1. Identify you or your business by name (so they know they got the right number.)
    You can consider leaving your “tag line”
    2. Tell them you appreciate their call (thank you is worn out.)
    3. Prompt them to leave a message (so many sytems don’t allow that any more.)
    3. Tell them you’ll call them back. (so they know the action is in your court.)

    So (BORING!)
    “You’ve reached OKDORK- Home of Noah’s great blog. We really do appreciate your call- -leave us a message and we’ll get right back to you. Remember you can always find us online at”

    And if you have a voicemail system PLEASE make sure you have an after hours message- and a quick way to leave a message- don’t make them hunt a menu with no hope of talking to someone.

    If you are looking for an inexpensive way to have a toll free phone number, voice mail, and many call options and still use your mobile phone then check out places like

    Leaving your phone number and tthe beginning and end is something I do too!