Out of Office Autoresponders: Friend or Foe?

For anyone who knows the fantabulous Richard Tubb, he’s never one to be satisfied with allowing a stuffy old out of office response hit your inbox should you nudge him whilst he’s away. Instead, his usually sets out to raise a smile and make you remember that we don’t (or shouldn’t) sit watching our inbox keen for our next email. For Ric, I guess having an OoO (worst acronym ever) response for him means that he’s always impressing upon people the type of person he is in a way that encourages them to understand he isn’t on email 24/7 and instead getting out there.

Having led a life in sales, I have always loved receiving out of office messages – they are typically a wealth of information such as mobile and landline numbers, job titles, and correct spellings of names that I can access should I be looking for ways to get a foot in the door to your business. You tell me that Janice Jones is in charge in your absence and hey presto, I have another contact to add into my CRM system… very useful if I’m being told I have to have at least 2-3 contacts per company on file.

And if I’m a spammer, well, all I need is your out of office to kick in and I know you’re there. Which suits me fine since I can sell on my data to someone else knowing that your email address is live. Maybe in this instance it would have been better to have not activated your out of office in the first place?

But let’s go back to the reasons why we set up automated messages; we want those who we connect and engage with to know that we’re still there, and whilst we can’t respond immediately, we’re going to be on the case just as soon as we can. I suppose that as long as you consider what it is you are communicating and how you deliver it is what makes the difference to the recipient. Like Ric’s, it can be a reflection of who you are and your ability to communicate it through your abilities as a wordsmith.

Perhaps if you are going to opt for an Out of Office response, you should keep it just to the accounts with your name on it. In future, you might want to create a generic email account to log in, or subscribe with so that you can keep all your interesting and call-to-action emails separate and in place to benefit from that wonderful out of office response you’ve always wanted to action.

Examples: Check out #5 on this link and some more sensible ones here.

Susanne Dansey is the Managing Director of Purple Cow Ideas Management – an organisation that helps technology organisations redesign their business models to help them build better relationships with their customers. You can follow the team on Twitter and join the conversation on Facebook.



4 thoughts on “Out of Office Autoresponders: Friend or Foe?

  1. Pingback: Getting the most from your signature | The Cowshed

  2. Pingback: How often do you take a break? « TubbBlog

  3. Pingback: Andy’s Techie Blog » Blog Archive » When did you last have a real break?

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