Our business wants to include a commitment on our voicemail message that we will return the call within 24 hours, but only counting hours on business days. For example, if someone calls on Tuesday at 10:00 AM, we will return that call before Wednesday at 10:00 AM, but if they leave a call on Friday at 10:00 AM, we might not return that call until Monday before 10:00 AM, since we are closed on Saturday and Sunday. Right now, the recorded message says "We will return your call within 24 business hours," but that bothers me because literally "24 business hours" is three business days, but I think people know what we mean. Is there a better way to say this? "Within 24 hours on business days" would make more sense, but it's a bit longer and seems less straightforward to me, even though the literal meaning is closer to what we mean. Any suggestions for a very short, clear way to communicate that we will return the call before the same time on the next business day?

  • The shorter the better, because the shorter the message is, the less likely it is that the caller will get tired of listening to the recording and hang up before leaving a message.
  • We want to communicate a commitment to return the call by a firm time.
  • It's probably not an improvement over "24 business hours" unless it has little to no ambiguity of meaning.

This question is similar to How to avoid ambiguity when referring to a 24-hour period?, but it is not a duplicate because that question does not address my problem with only referring to business days.

  • 6
    The normal wording in the US would be "within one business day".
    – Hot Licks
    Aug 7, 2015 at 20:03
  • "we will reply within the next business day". Why is committing (in a prerecorded message!) to the specific hour the call was received significant?
    – user662852
    Aug 7, 2015 at 20:04
  • @user662852 That commitment isn't as strong. We want them to know that we will do our best to return the call that same day, and if not today, than no later than that same time tomorrow. Those are time frames when we will likely be able to reach them: "Today" is probably a time when they are in the office, because they called today, presumably from their office. "Tomorrow at about this time" is another good time frame for a call back because, if they have regular habits, they will likely be available then. We have less reason to think they will be available "Tomorrow after this time".
    – browly
    Aug 7, 2015 at 20:12

1 Answer 1


I would say "we will return your call no later than this time next business day." It may not be very elegant, and may sound weird when next business day is tomorrow, but it is precise.

Or alternatively, if it is clear to the caller that you work on an eight-hour shcedule everyday, "We will return your call within eight business hours."

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