Why WHY do you bother with an autoresponder email that says something like, “I will be away July 12-19.” ?
OK. That’s good to know. But what do I do now? Especially if I have an issue that can’t wait?
Here are my thoughts on a good out-of-office message that communicates to your customers that you care about them even when you’re away:
1. Tell me how long you will be away.
Sometimes you might not know. Maybe it’s a family emergency and it’s unclear how long it’ll take to resolve.
Instead of just saying, “I am away from the office,” either give dates or say something like “I am away from the office indefinitely” or “I am away from the office; my return date is not firmed up yet.”
Otherwise, start and end dates help me figure out if I want to wait or find a plan B.
2. Tell me if you’re checking messages and if so, how often.
If you’re traveling for work and doing your best to handle business matters remotely, that’s different from hiking Kilimanjaro.
Maybe you could say, “I am traveling for work and checking email intermittently. My responses might take longer than normal. ” or “I will check messages each evening.”
That is, unless you are off completely, in which case it might be “I will not have access to email while I am away.”