Generally it's a good practice to have a voicemail greeting that's short and, for security purposes, doesn't contain anything indicating that you might not be home. Such as:
"We can't take your call right now. Please leave a message if you wish."
However, for people that you trust not to rob you or otherwise take advantage of you, it could be useful to be able to set a greeting that's longer and gives more specific information about why you may not be answering. For example:
"Press pound to go straight to leaving a message. The Smith's have gone sailing in the Caribbean for two weeks. We won't be able to check for messages often. We'll be back home on March 25th. If you still want to leave a message, go ahead now."
I suggest that this could be implemented as follows:
- Add the ability to record an alternate greeting in the same ways as the standard greeting.
- Add a check box to each contact entry that, when set, indicates that the alternate greeting is to be played when that contact calls, instead of the standard one.
- Add the ability to set an "alternate greeting" PIN in the same ways that you set your voicemail remote access PIN. You give this PIN to people you want to be able to hear the alternate greeting. If a person calls from a phone number that's not in your contact list, or doesn't have the "alternate greeting" box checked, they can press star (*) during the standard greeting. By entering the "alternate greeting" PIN, instead of the voicemail access PIN, the alternate greeting will be played, then a message can be recorded as usual.
- It could also be useful to have global setting that disables the alternate greeting and always uses the standard greeting, for periods when the standard greeting is good enough for everyone.