Personally I can’t stand answer machines. I just get all nervous at talking to myself and in the end, I usually hang-up. On more than one occasion I’ve been mistaken for a heavy breather and a crank caller. However, I have absolutely no problem with having an answer machine myself and have had far more fun creating greetings for them than talking to them.
If you use any kind of VoIP app such as Skype or GTalk then there are various apps that can help you get going. If you don’t, then your options are far more limited although ISDN Answering Machine acts as a telephone exchange/answer machine for a network of landline phones. Alternatively, you can use Call Centre which does pretty much the same thing although allows you send faxes too.
One of the most unlikely applications to include a VoIP answering machine is, believe it or not, burning app Nero. Nero includes Nero Sipps which encompasses an entire VoIP package including an answering machine. Meanwhile KishKashSAM is an excellent add-on for Skype which allows you to record your own voice message. Also worth checking out is Skype Forwarder which not only has a fully customisable answer machine but allows you to forward calls to another phone too.
If you’re not a Skype fan, then try EzVoice which allows you to record a message, screen calls and reveals caller ID’s. The same goes for Call Clerk which apart from allowing you to design a voice message, also records conversations and even allows you to upload them to the internet immediately.
And if you’re stuck for inspiration about how your answer machine message should sound, try taking some tips from George Costanza: