Auto Response

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When you write your auto response for your readers, ask yourself if your readers have concrete information about your time away and return. You don’t have to tell them everything, and yet, it’s nice to describe a framework. All professional or personal emails you send as an auto response create a concrete image for your readers when written with the reader in mind.

My last email blast received dozens of auto responses and the examples below, I imagine, are a good sampling of others.

The vague:
1. I am out of the office with limited access to phone or email. Please direct all questions to… What time frame? When was day one and when will you return? The reader doesn’t know.
2. Travel Alert….I am out of office with NO CELL Coverage. Does this mean you’re completely out of communication? Again, see #1 – time frame?
3. Thank you for your email. I’m out of the office and will reply to your email upon my return. When will you return?
4. Thanks for your e-mail, I am out of the office, I will respond as soon as I come back. “Soon”: one of my favorite words. What does that mean? It’s so subjective: “soon” could be a few hours, a day, a week, three weeks?

5. I will reply to your email as soon as possible. Ah, yes, “as soon as possible”; see #4.

Your “soon” and my “soon” seldom connect. Let your readers know.

Example:

Before: Thanks for your e-mail, I am out of the office, I will respond as soon as I come back

After: Thanks for your e-mail, I am out of the office 8/3-18/17, I will respond before 8/23

Now your readers know when you left, when you’ll return and when they can expect to hear from you.

Be specific, be concrete, be detailed.

The Specific:

  1. I will be out of the office beginning Friday, July 21st, and will return on Tuesday, August 1.
  2. I am out of the office on vacation, returning August 14. During that time I have no access to phone or email.
  3. Sorry to miss your correspondence. I am away on PTO and will get back to my desk Tuesday after Labor Day.

These give the readers a time frame and a picture of your away/return time.

The “Get Out Of Town Fast”

Thx for Your message. I’m on holiday until August 8th, 2017 and will get back to you then.
Pls notify that my emails will not be forwarded to anyone.
In urgent cases you can contact x at John.XXX@placeofbusiness.com)

Please write out your response; it’s a business communication and not a text. Take the time to spell out all the words. The substitute contact gives your readers another option, which is good, and not necessarily needed in all instances.

Auto responses also need to be kept up to date. I received two responses telling me they’d be back two months ago! One told me she was out of the office from 12/20/15 and back 1/5/16. Okay.

Give the readers concrete information, the same way you’d like concrete information on the auto responses you receive.

Enjoy your time away.

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