If automated email replies were useless then the email providers wouldn’t make them part of their program, now would they? You know me, it’s always my theory that if someone created an application there must be some need for it, otherwise they wouldn’t waste the time and energy. So let’s take a look at some uses for automated email replies.
Use them if you’re going to be offline for more than 48 hours
Most people who send you an email don’t expect an instant reply. We’re communicating with people all over the world and allowances are automatically made for time zone differences and holidays, and if you work online you don’t necessarily take your days off on the weekends, you take them whenever you can get them. So people are much more flexible than you realize.
That said, your business may rely heavily on email and if your clients have grown accustomed to your 24-hour response time it might be a good idea to use an automated email reply if you’re going to be offline for more than 48 hours. That way they won’t panic and, thinking you’ve gone out of business, go find a new company to handle their needs.
If you can’t answer in a respectable amount of time
If you’re working under a deadline you might not be able to drop everything and answer emails, especially if it’s going to take some time to formulate your response. But you want to let your clients know you’re around, you haven’t dropped off the planet and you’ll be with them as quickly as possible. In this case sending an automated email reply is simply a courtesy that makes you look more professional and responsive to your clients. It also allows you to ignore your email so you can focus all your attention on that project.
Provide emergency contact information
Providing customer support should always be one of your top priorities. They have your email address so they can contact you if there’s an emergency but do you really plan to sit there and watch your email 24 hours a day – forever? An automated reply with emergency contact information is an ideal way to provide that constant care and support for your clients. You do plan to take a day off sometimes, don’t you?
When is it wrong to use automated replies?
To hear one blogger tell it, his email in-box is jammed up every day with automated replies and he thinks thery’re worthless because he doesn’t open them. Well, bully for him. Maybe he’s not as popular as he’d like us to believe if no one is taking the time to personally reply to his emails, and maybe if he opened them he’d learn something about his contacts.
So don’t stop using automated email replies because some snooty blogger thinks he deserves special treatment. Automated replies are special treatment in the eyes of your customers and readers and it’s not like you’re going to send them out every day. Use them only when necessary and you won’t be bothering your contacts at all. You’ll be showing them some basic common courtesy.