Live Voicemail Best Practices & Scripts

What to say and how to say it

Sales agent using a Live Voicemail friendly script.


Every time you reach Live Voicemail, you have a golden opportunity to engage your contact in a live conversation.

That is the goal of your Live Voicemail script.

Your contacts will be reading a real-time transcription of your message along with a bright green button that says, “Accept.”

So, what do you need to do to encourage more contacts to answer?

Here are best practices and scripts to help you improve call engagement with Apple’s new Live Voicemail feature.

Best Practices

1. Be concise - Don’t expect contacts to read 60 seconds of scrolling transcription to get proper context. Be concise. Calls are more likely to be accepted early on in the message anyway.

2. Speak clearly - You want accurate transcriptions, not jumbled text. Give yourself the best possible opportunity by speaking clearly and deliberately.

3. Be personal - Live Voicemail is no place for generic messages or nameless recordings. Get calls answered by invoking trust and familiarity. Be personal in your tone and delivery to improve engagement.

4. Include their name, twice - A name delivers a personalized feel and proves you’re not a machine playing a recording. We found that using a name at least once, but ideally twice, delivers the best results.

5. Include a day/time element - Stating the day and/or time is another quick and compelling way to personalize your message. And it provides helpful context.

6. Use appropriate pauses - In a live conversation, pausing encourages a contact to reply. Similarly, in Live Voicemail, pauses create an opening for a contact to accept the call and jump in. 

7. Come up with a short helpful phrase or hook based on your audience - Here’s where you’ll create desire to connect. Create a short phrase or hook that teases a live engagement, and provides compelling context. For example:

  • I’m live on the line to help with your solar installation
  • Here to discuss a unique mortgage option with you
  • If you could click Accept, I wanted to quickly discuss Val Evans election
  • Calling to work together with you on your insurance search
  • Checking in with a quick question about your e-commerce site
  • Calling you now with an interesting idea related to your home sale

Bonus Tip: End your phrase/context with an upward (essentially question-like) intonation to increase the likelihood of a pickup. “Calling you now to talk about a way to reduce your design costs?”

8. Consider context from your last engagement - When using a 1-to1- platform like PhoneBurner you’ll have time to review notes and prior contact history. Or, your call list may be composed entirely of people who have taken an action (booked a demo, just came in for service, created an account). This highly targeted information is gold when trying to get someone live on the line.

  • I’m live on the line to quickly follow up on our AI tools chat last week
  • You came in for an oil change yesterday and I have a question for you
  • I saw you started a free trial, and I’m here with a helpful tip for you

Bonus Tip: Consider using PhoneBurner’s “Pause and Preview” mode. This gives you additional time before a contact is dialed to review notes and call history that may provide valuable context for your voicemail script.

9. Avoid ad language - A surefire way to turn people off (and have your number blocked) is to use language that people typically associate with sales or spam. Avoid terms like “limited time offer” “50% off” or anything else that sounds like an advertisement. Keep it personal.

Trust & Safety Considerations

While Live Voicemail provides a new opportunity for live conversations, there is another side of the coin.

Consumers can block you.

They can report your calls as spam.

And now, they have tangible evidence in hand.

Like other call deflection technologies, Live Voicemail will help consumers distinguish good actors, like yourself, from bad actors. To increase call engagement while safeguarding your number reputation follow these guidelines:

  • Call people who have consented to hear from you
  • Respect the Do-Not-Call list and opt-out requests
  • Don’t double/triple dial, or leave multiple messages in a short time span
  • Follow all compliance regulations and industry standards 
  • Leave personalized messages and avoid anything overly promotional or salesy
  • Avoid sensitive information contacts wouldn’t want transcribed/visible to another person
  • Ask yourself, would I accept this phone call? Or would I block/report it?

Script formula

Greeting: Hi [NAME]!

🖐️ 1-second pause

Name + Time Element: [NAME], it’s Tuesday afternoon.

🖐️ 1-second pause

Introduce Yourself: This is [YOURNAME] from [COMPANY] 

🖐️ 1-second pause

Helpful Phrase: I’m here on the line to check in on [HOOK]

🖐️ 5-second pause

Conversation or Finish Voicemail: 1) Get a live answer 2) continue leaving voicemail live or via a disposition button

Script examples

Naturally, a winning script takes time to develop and depends on the audience and context for the call. The better your lead quality, and the more targeted your outreach (and therefore your script), the better your results will be.

Practice. Test. Iterate.

Here are some examples to help you pull the tips above into a workable script:

General First Attempt

Hi Jeff! (pause) Jeff, it’s Wednesday around noon. (pause) This is Jane from Acme, I’m live on the line to talk about your pet insurance inquiry? (pause) If no answer, finish leaving live voicemail or use a disposition button to complete your message.

General Second Attempt

Hi Sarita! Alex here from HouseCo. (pause) Sarita, it’s Tuesday morning and I’m reaching out again to connect about your mortgage. I have an idea to chat with you about? (pause) If no answer, finish leaving live voicemail or use a disposition button to complete your message.

Customer Upsell

Angie! (pause) Happy Friday! (pause) It’s John from CarCo. You brought in your car for service this week, and I wanted to run something by you? (pause) If no answer, finish leaving live voicemail or use a disposition button to complete your message.

Disposition button guidance

As you know, PhoneBurner disposition buttons can be configured to leave a pre-recorded voicemail while dialing the next contact on your list.

As suggested above, you may want to add an additional Voicemail button to your dialing sets so that your buttons accommodate both Traditional and Live Voicemail experiences.

  1. The Traditional Voicemail experience - you use a disposition button to leave a full pre-recorded voicemail. Note: as soon as you use a disposition button PhoneBurner will dial your next contact and you will be unable to engage with someone if they were to answer.
  2. The Live Voicemail experience - you speak the first half of your message (using the script framework above) in hopes of getting a live answer, then use a disposition button to leave the rest of your message if no one picks up.

For #2, do not use your standard pre-recorded voicemail, as it's important that the live and recorded components of your message complement each other. Create a unique disposition button for scenarios in which you will leave a live voicemail that includes a pre-recorded voicemail that picks up where your live voicemail will leave off.

Over to you

57% of US smartphone users have an iPhone StatCounter (2023)

With Live Voicemail enabled by default on iOS 17, you have a golden opportunity to leverage voicemail to increase answer rates and call engagement.

Android phones have a similar feature, and while it’s not enabled by default, Apple’s update may increase Android adoption, further empowering contacts to screen calls for context. 

With PhoneBurner’s 1-to-1 outreach solution, you’re live on the line with all of the necessary context at your fingertips to deliver compelling, fully personalized voicemails that earn live conversations.

Armed with the scripts and best practices above, you’re well on your way to making the most of this opportunity!

Please note: Guidance is provided based on our team's continued testing of iOS 17 including beta versions. The experience may continue to evolve now that Live Voicemail has officially launched, so experiences can not be guaranteed. We'll continue to update resources as we are aware of changes, and as new guidance is available.