Customer Service Matters – Even When You’re Not There

What does your out of office reply say about you?

Is your out of office message really that important? It’s not really something people give a lot of thought to and certainly don’t see it as part of the customer service they provide.

After all, you’re off sunning yourself on a beach somewhere without a care in the world; the office is the last think you want to think about and quite rightly so. But it’s important to think about your customers even if you’re not there.

How many times have you received a flippant out of office response, or one of those that goes on forever?

“I’m out of the office until 26th September. If you need xxx, call xxxxxx or email xxxxx. If your enquiry relates to xxxx, please phone Audrey on xxxxx. If you want xxxxx phone Bill on xxxxxxx or Alex on xxxxx….”

Confused? So is the reader.

The best out of office responses are simple, to the point and very easy to follow.

Start with your subject line. Rather than writing something along the lines of “Hey dude, I’m off surfing, catch you later”, try something slightly more meaningful such as:

“Away from 1st September until 25th September with only limited access to emails”

It’s simple, to the point and tells the recipient how long you’ll be away so they can decide whether to wait or to contact someone else.

The rest of your email should be along the lines of:

“I’m out of the office from 1st September until 25th September. Upon my return it will take a few days to catch up, so it may be a day or so before I can reply to you. If your enquiry is urgent, contact Bob on xxxxxxx, otherwise I’ll get back to you by 30th September.”

It doesn’t take a lot to create a meaningful and respectful out of office response. So if you want to come across as efficient and professional, next time you’re away give a bit of thought to the email response you set up.


Author: Sally Ormond, Copywriter and MD at Briar Copywriting Ltd. Follow her on Twitter and Google+

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