If you need to step away from your office for more than a day, then an out-of-office message autoresponder for your email account is helpful. It stops people from expecting to receive a response immediately while you’re enjoying a vacation or trying to recover during a sick day.
The purpose of an out-of-office message autoresponder is that it lets your colleagues and clients know that you’re not currently available. You can apply one to a personal inbox to let your family and friends know the same thing.
If you use email marketing practices, then an autoresponder will help you to maintain the benefits you’ve built into a drip campaign. Instead of losing subscribers from a lack of a response, this tool gives you the time to come back and craft something appropriate when you’re in the office.
Is an Out-of-Office Message Autoresponder Necessary?
Do you need to have an out-of-office message autoresponder active for your email when you step out of the office for more than a day? No.
Should you have one in place? Absolutely.
Activating an autoresponder is more than a polite necessity. It is a professional courtesy that lets other people know that you’re thinking about them. You remove any guessing that occurs when a response doesn’t come back right away.
If you work in email marketing, having this personal touch at-the-ready is critical to your success. It is such an easy tool to use that there is an expectation that you activate it when you are away from your desk.
Failing to use this tool, even if you honestly forgot to activate it on your way out the door, increases the risk of an abandoned relationship. That means your job can become more difficult when you do get back to work.
Benefits of Using a Personalized Out-of-Office Message
Have you ever received a message that says someone will be out of the office until a specific date? It usually then directs you to one particular colleague if you require assistance immediately.
That kind of autoresponder takes care of the basics, but it may not offer any of the following benefits.
1) You can deepen your relationship with people.
When you have an opportunity to share a small piece of specific information with others, then you can deepen your relationship with them. It creates a connection that your clients and colleagues feel towards you.
These social encounters, even when automated, add depth and meaning to our connections with others. This process leads to more happiness and higher productivity at work.
2. It gives people precise information.
Your autoresponder message lets people know when you will return to the office. Your inbox might fill up unless you route messages directly to the trash, but it will also prompt the sender to seek help elsewhere if needed. If you don’t send this information, then that person could simmer in discontent, waiting for your response. Offering precise content in this message will reduce the risk of confusion.
3. You can generate more website traffic for your organization.
An out-of-office autoresponder can send people to your company’s website if they need immediate help. That means you can still secure new clients while you’re away from work with a carefully crafted message. If you have the authority to provide discounts, then consider adding a promotional offer to maximize the potential of this unique benefit.
4. It takes the burden away from others to explain your absence.
Being out of the office is going to place a burden on your colleagues. Whether you’re out for a day, a week, or longer, your co-workers are covering your job duties and their own until you return. When you take the time to compose a message that lets people know via email that you’re not around, then it will save some headaches for everyone else. That means a greater focus can be directed toward the tasks that require completion.
5. You can leave it on the entire time you are gone.
One of the best advantages of using an out-of-office autoresponder is that it is always on. It operates 24/7 without pausing to let people know that you’re unavailable for a specific reason. That means you don’t need to worry about following up with people while you’re taking some time away from work.
When you look at this benefit from a marketing perspective, the advantage evolves into automated communication. This tool allows you to continue sending correspondence with your clients and prospects despite being away from the desk.
6. It gives you a chance to express emotions.
Although some professionals frown upon the use of emojis, these characters make it easier for everyone to communicate specific emotions. We already know that using them in email subject lines creates a higher open rate, so it makes sense in some situations to use them when you’re going to be out of the office.
Examples of Excellent Out-of-Office Messages
If you are in a hurry because your vacation is about to start or you’re taking a sick day, then a basic message is good enough.
Hello! I’m going to be out of the office until [date]. If you need something before then, please contact [colleague] at [email] or [phone number] to receive assistance.
You want to include two different contact methods so that options remain available if one of them doesn’t work for some reason. What happens if your colleague decides to stop answering your messages?
Sharing a meaningful piece of information in your out-of-office message can help to start a conversation when you get back to work. It doesn’t need to be a profound secret, but a little personalization will help to create more connections.
Hi there! I’m out of the office until [date] because my spouse and I are celebrating 10 fantastic years of marriage. We’re enjoying a short trip to Costa Rica as a sort-of second honeymoon. If you need something urgently, please contact [colleague] at [email] or [phone number].
When you return, people are going to ask you how the trip went. We often see our colleagues as a resource instead of being a well-rounded human being. This kind of message makes someone become more than a co-worker.
You also have the option to share essential resources with people if you are out of the office with this message. Consider the following example.
Hi! I hope you are having a wonderful holiday season. This time is when I take my annual vacation, so I’m looking forward to responding to your message when I come back on [date]. Until then, I wanted to share this fascinating article I came across this week that can help you maximize the response you receive from an autoresponder out-of-office message. You could save a lot of people several hours of discontent by following these tips!
You have the option to be straightforward and aggressive with your autoresponder message. This example from Daniel Mallory Ortberg isn’t for everyone, but it also creates a conversation piece.
I am currently on vacation and not accepting any emails about anything. I’m not planning on reading any old emails when I get back either.
You could also try this tactic if you typically see two dozen or more incoming messages each day.
Greetings! I am routing all of my emails during my vacation to the recycling bin. If you feel that I need to see your message when I return on [date], then please resend it then.
You might not have any messages in your inbox to review when you return.
If you are going to be out of the office for professional reasons, it can be helpful to let people know this fact. Including this information will communicate your expertise to clients while promoting the benefits of ongoing educational opportunities internally. You could use the following example in this situation.
Thank you for your email! I’m currently off to Chicago to learn more about email automation and sending out-of-office messages. You can discover more about this unique opportunity at [link] to see what I’m doing. I’ll be back on [date], so until then, please contact [colleague] at [email] or [phone] for immediate assistance.
Can You Draft More Than One Autoresponder Message?
Some companies use an email system that allows you to create one note for your colleagues and another for messages that come from outside of the company.
Gmail gives you the option to send an automated response message to the people in your address book instead of blasting it out to every email you receive.
This option allows you to share some personal details at different comfort levels. Imagine that you have an extended absence because you’ve got a newborn at home. If you wrote an autoresponder message to someone outside of your company, then it might look something like this example.
Hello! My spouse and I recently welcomed our first child into our family. I’ll be on family leave until [date]. You can communicate with [colleague] until I return if you need anything. I can’t wait to connect with you when I’m able to return!
Then you could set up something more personal for your colleagues within the organization.
Hi Everyone! As you know, my little Sophia decided to meet us three weeks sooner than expected. We couldn’t be happier to meet her! I’m going to be on family leave until [date] to get to know her better. If you need something while I’m gone, then please speak with [colleague] for any requests that would normally route to me.
You could then include a picture of your family in the organizational out-of-office autoresponder message.
Do You Have Your Autoresponder Message Activated?
You’ve now seen the benefits of having an autoresponder message and discovered some examples that you can freely use. Make sure that you don’t forget to activate this tool!
If you use Outlook at work, then you can follow these steps to send an automatic out-of-office reply.
When Gmail is the service that you use, then you can turn your vacation reply on or off by following these procedures.
Your IT department can help you complete this process if you use a different system.
The best out-of-office autoresponder messages can provide more than essential information regarding your whereabouts. You can turn this short response into a relationship-building opportunity!
Now you have one final task to complete. When you’re away from the office, then avoid work at all costs. Stop checking your email! Let your out-of-office autoresponder take care of your colleagues and clients until you return.