So you have a great new receptionist (or virtual receptionist service!), and now it’s decision time: Do you want your receptionist to take messages, transfer calls to voicemail, or offer both options to callers when you’re not available?

Our phone answering team suggests you consider the following:


Is it easier for you to listen to messages or read them while on the go? At Ruby®, our clients are emailed a .wav file of every voicemail they receive, so there’s no need to dial in and sort through old messages — just open your email, click, and listen! But if you don’t have this feature, it might be easier to have your receptionist email written messages to you — it depends on whether you keep your laptop or smartphone handy, and whether listening to a message is a reasonable option. If you’re in court, for example, you may not have the chance to listen to voicemail, but you can probably access your email and discretely check for new messages.


Voicemail allows people to talk candidly and directly to you, so if you value that openness, voicemail might be best. On the other hand, if you need a key piece of information with most messages (an email address, for instance), a receptionist can gather and confirm that info each time, whereas folks may forget to leave it on voicemail, even if your outgoing message contains a reminder.


Generally, an email will stick around as long as you want it to, and most systems can hold a lot of old messages before getting bogged down. Sorting and searching is also a snap with email, so it’s a great way to go if you need to hang on to many messages. Ruby clients get the best of both worlds — we can email written messages to clients, and we email .wav files of all client voicemail messages, so both are easy to save for as long as desired. But if you’re not a Ruby client and keeping old voicemail messages is important to you, check out your voicemail specs, as many systems delete old messages automatically after a certain period of time.

If reading and listening to messages are both convenient for you, letting the caller choose is a nice touch. This friendly offer works well for our virtual receptionist team: “I’d be happy to take a message or transfer you to voicemail.”

Do you prefer voicemail or written messages, or is either okay with you? Tweet us @callruby and share your feedback!