The Proper Way to Deal With Missed Calls

How to return a missed call professionally

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As far as business is concerned, first impressions are everything, and the way you handle a missed call may constitute a first impression. For your own sake, learn the proper etiquette for handling an important missed called.

The Intent of the Missed Call

If the call rang only once or twice, it may mean that the caller intended for the call to be missed, perhaps because they wanted to reach your voicemail. They may leave a message explaining the reason, such as, "Hello, I need to talk to you but don't want to use up my credit, so call me back."

If you have to call back, be mindful of how VoIP apps can save money on calls. You can place cheap and sometimes free calls to your friends and family.

Choosing Not to Answer

It may be considered rude not to answer a call—but it depends on the context. Whether it's because you don't want to be bothered, you're driving, or some other reason, it is good to be honest with callers. If you can't make a call, just tell them. If you can, send a text message to notify them, or better still, have an auto-response set up in your voicemail.

If you have an Android device or an iPhone, you can use the settings to set up a voicemail message. You can also set up custom text messages that automatically respond to missed calls.


To be polite and professional, give your caller a chance to say something. Allow them to leave a voice message. It leaves open the possibility of a future conversation, and it helps you determine the call's importance. Use an autoresponder for this purpose. Cellphone services and VoIP services have this feature.

The voice message your correspondent leaves can also go to voicemail, which gives you more power to deal with the missed call.

Visual Voicemail

In the age of Skype and Zoom, voicemail is increasingly old-fashioned. You don't want to sit and listen to every message in your inbox. You want to be able to choose which one to listen to and treat each one individually. This is possible with visual voicemail.

The chances are good your smartphone has this feature. Alternatively, check this list of visual voicemail solutions. Some services also transcribe voicemail messages into text and send the message to you like a simple text message or as an email message to your inbox. This makes it easier to verify voicemail and react without having to listen.

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