It’s summer and everyone is making their vacation plans! (What’s a vacation?) Almost every day I receive notices from partners and providers of their availability or unavailability.
Email autoresponders, also known as automatic replies or away/vacation messages are a staple of business communication. Quite often however they are engaged without a full understanding of how and when they should be used.
Here are a few easy tips to help you use your vacation away auto-messages properly. Following these simple guidelines will make sure your offer a great customer service experience!
Proper Out of Office Message Usage
- When using autoresponders for your business vacation/away message, the first thing you want to do is write yourself a note, alert or calendar reminder to remind yourself to disengage the autoresponder upon your return. When you get back to work, things will be hectic and it will be easy to forget. Nothing smacks of lack of organization or attention to detail than away messages still being sent after you are back in the office and available for business communications.
- Personalize your away message with a greeting and closing. It is also wise to note that your away message is in fact an automated message. This makes sure that Senders understand hitting reply will only produce another automated message. Your message should include the time-frame you will be unavailable, when you will return and when a response can be expected. The name, phone number and email address of the person that can be contacted in your absence is also recommended.
- It’s best not to setup an away message for an email address that you know you have used to subscribe to email lists, forums, Blogs or discussion lists. This is where having a separate address for those activities makes your life simpler. You don’t want your away message bouncing back to every message received from 3rd party services you’ve subscribed to. If you haven’t used a different address, as a courtesy unsubscribe from those services and resubscribe when you come back. To avoid this situation all together, have an alternate email address that you use specifically for such activities.
Here are a couple quick away-message examples:
You are receiving this automated message as I am out of the office. I will be unavailable from June 26th through July 7th.
If you need immediate assistance during my absence, please contact George Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I will respond to your emails as soon as I can upon my return.
Thank you for your message! This is an automated message because I am currently on vacation (with no email access). I will be returning on July 10th.
If you something comes up where you need my immediate assistance, you may reach me on my mobile – 555-555-1212. Otherwise, I will get back to you promptly upon my return.
Setup a message that works for your situation to ensure the best customer service experience possible for your contacts. Autoresponders are a useful business tool and when used appropriately can help keep others informed. Keep these issues in mind so that when you do use autoresponders, they are viewed as more of a benefit than an annoyance.
Hope you have an enjoyable vacation! Send me a postcard if you have time!