What Are Automated Replies?
Excellent customer service is at the forefront of any successful business. You want to provide your customers with the best service possible so they continue to come back and even recommend your business to their friends and family. One way to achieve a better customer service experience is by reliably replying to each of your customer’s inquiries promptly. In some circumstances, though, there may be a reason you or your company cannot personally reply as quickly as your customer may desire. In these scenarios, setting up automated replies could give your customers the informed response they need to maintain that connection despite you not being immediately available. What are automated replies, and how can you best use them for your business? These questions will be answered below.
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What Is an Automated Reply?
Automated replies are preset responses that are generated by a business to communicate with its customers when an incoming message is received. Automated replies may be used in a variety of circumstances to either inform the customer the individual they are trying to reach is not currently available or simply to acknowledge the receipt of their message. Some reasons an automated reply may be generated are:
- The customer has contacted the business outside of normal business hours.
- The person the customer is trying to reach is currently out of the office.
- The business is closed for a holiday or other reason.
- The person the customer is trying to reach is on vacation or out of the office for an extended period of time.
- Notifying the customer that the business has received their inquiry and will get back to them shortly.
- Notification of the length of time until the customer speaks to a representative.
- Notification of order status.
How to Create an Automated Reply?
Automated replies should be well thought out and carefully written to ensure they are accurate and portray the correct message. If a message is being generated while running out the door for vacation, mistakes will no doubt occur and could influence the effectiveness of your message. Automated replies will be sent to every single person that sends a message to your business, so you want to anticipate who your customers are and create a message that will suit each of their needs. Below are a few tips on how to compose an effective automated reply.
Accurately Schedule Your Automated Response
If an employee is leaving on vacation for a set time period, be sure the automated replies begin as soon as they leave and are turned off as soon as they return. If they are set to send outside of business hours, be sure to set them to be generated at the correct times and days throughout the week.
Give the Right Amount of Information
You want to be informative to your customers, so give them enough to be transparent but not too much that you are breaching the privacy of your employees. As an example, an employee may be out for medical reasons or a death in the family; you do not need to share this information with every customer that contacts your business. A simple response informing them the person they are trying to reach is out of the office should suffice.
Provide an Alternative
Some businesses allow for out-of-hours contact in the case of an emergency or other incidents that come up. If your company has a supplemental means of communication, be sure to include that in your automated reply so your customers can still contact you if necessary. Another scenario would be if one specific employee is out of the office, but others are available to assist them, you would want to give a phone number or contact information for them to utilize.
Check for Clarity and Accuracy
This automated reply could potentially reach a large number of your customers, so you want to be sure it is correctly portraying your business in a professional as well as inviting manner. Double-check that all spelling and grammar are correct and the message is formatted correctly. You want your message to be brief and to the point but not come off as rude or impolite. Share the information necessary to satisfy your customers so they will be willing to wait for your response when you’re available.
Why Should a Business Use Automated Replies?
It has been said that 90% of consumers feel an immediate response is important when they have a customer service question. Customers want an answer within 10 minutes of their message going out, so setting up an automated response gives them the reassurance that your company does care about them and wants to support them. Even if your response is delayed, sending them an automated response maintains transparency and keeps the customer informed until you can contact them personally. Automated responses also help your business maintain a sense of constant communication with your customers, which helps you deliver quality customer service.
If you are ready to set up automatic replies for your business, contact 800.com today.