With summer upon us, team members and leaders are starting to plan their time away from the office, and with their families and loved ones. Everything seems to be in order: project deadlines adjusted, last-minute website updates completed. But there’s one thing that you may be forgetting: your email inbox!
Even when you or your team are on vacation, you should still expect to receive important business emails. Whether it’s a new business proposition or a special client request, failing to respond in an orderly time can result in squandered opportunities or a negative customer experience.
By setting an auto-response email informing the sender about your limited availability, you’ll not only reset your client expectations, but you’ll also give yourself a much-needed break from checking and replying to each individual message.
Each brand is different, so instead of prescribing a uniform message, it may be more useful to learn the most vital components for your vacation response.
Don’t overthink the importance of the subject line. You need only convey that you or your team will be out of the office. Sometimes, the subject line will be automatic and cannot be changed, but if possible, stick to “Out of Office”. It’s simple and easy to understand.
Auto-response emails can sometimes be off-putting. Don’t you hate it when you call a number and get put on hold by an automated message? Auto-response emails behave the same way. Start the email by thanking the sender for the email, even if it’s just a few words or a single sentence.
Give your customer or email sender some idea of when you’ll be back in the office. This will help save them the time of having to craft multiple emails just to get your attention. To give yourself some breathing room, give the date a day or two after you return, so you’re not tackling emails as soon as you’re back.
Although it’s not necessary, some people may direct customers and clients to reach out to the next available point of contact, usually another supervisor or manager. This can be useful in case of urgent matters or emergencies.
That’s all you really need! Don’t feel obligated to include a reason for being out of the office, nor should you feel required to reply to each individual message in a unique way. Once you set the auto-responder on, you should be all set.
Here are a few samples of vacation responses that you can modify to fit your needs. Some are adapted from Yesware’s blog post.
Thank you for your email. I am currently out of the office and will be back after [your return date]. During this period I will have limited access to my email.
For immediate assistance please contact me on my cell phone at (your cell phone number).
I will be away from [Leave Date] until [Return Date]. For urgent matters, you can contact [Alternative Contact Person].
Hello and thanks for your email! Unfortunately, I’m not in the office right now, but I will get back to you as soon as I can (expect a response by [return date] latest).
Looking forward to connecting with you!
Thanks for reaching out! I am currently out of the office from [Leave Date] until [Return Date], and will be happy to respond after I return.
If you were curious about learning more about our business, please feel free to [download relevant content] from our website, or to [relevant action related to your brand’s website].
Thank you for your email! This week I will be attending [conference or special event] and will have limited access to email.
For all matters and concerns, please reach out to [alternative contact person]. For issues regarding [specific subject matter], you can reach [alternative contact person 2].
If you’re also attending the conference, let me know and I’d love to connect for a few minutes in person. You can learn more about our booth and presentation here [if relevant].
These are just some ideas to get you to start thinking about how your brand would set an auto-response email. By taking just a few minutes to write a couple of sentences, you can better manage your inbox flow, leaving you precious time to spend with your loved ones this holiday season.
For more tips, guides and advice on achieving work-life balance while staying productive, follow Expansive ’s blog today!