What do you think? Automated Email Responses

I read Daniel Scocco’s post today, Anyone Else Find Automated Email Replies Useless? and I totally agree.

These are the kind of automated responses I don’t like:

  1. I email you about something.
  2. I immediately get an (automated) email from you telling me you get tons of emails and can’t respond to each of them personally but you really value mine.
  3. It’s still unclear to me whether or not I’ll hear from you eventually.

I do think an exception would be if you’re away (on vacation or on a trip) and won’t be checking email for an extended period of time.

An alternative

If you have a website, consider putting a note on your contact page letting your readers know you might not be able to answer their emails personally.

What do you think? Do automated email responses bother you? Do you like them? What alternative(s) would you suggest?

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  1. says

    Wow, glad I can across this post! I was considering adding an auto response to my blog, but after reading this post and the comments that followed, I will stick to a more hands on, non-automated approach. I will probably add a disclaimer on my contact page like many have suggested here. Thanks for shedding some light everyone!

    ~ Ferly
    Gifts We Use {to grow, love and serve}

  2. says

    This is weird because about two days ago now…I tweeted how much I hate this. I’m glad to see I’m not alone. Bloggers, if you do this: Stop. It’s off-putting. It’s also ironic – you get so much email that you might not get to mine, and yet you choose to clog MY inbox. To me, I put the auto-response email in the same category as SPAM. How would you feel if a rep from a company or a contact you really want to impress emails you and they get this auto response? Not a good impression to make, IMO.

    If you really need to warn people that you can’t handle your inbox, put it prominently on your contact page and don’t broadcast it to everyone that sends you an email.

  3. says

    Just today I received TWO auto-responder messages from two comments I had left on the same blog. Honestly, I was very annoyed. It was a blog friend I used to connect with very frequently, and had just rediscovered her blog. I left her a personal comment and I got an auto-responder. Twice. I will not use them on my blog. And I will probably never comment on hers again.
    For my blog, I use a plug-in that emails my comment responses to the person I was replying to. It’s been very nice and has enabled some wonderful conversations!

  4. says

    I got my first auto-response from a blogger who I used to consider a friend.. what a turn off that was! It made me feel like she’s now “too big” to bother with a tiny little email from someone like me. So, I’ll never use one on my blog… I actually enjoy responding to EVERY email I get. I love connecting with my readers and other bloggers who take the time to share a deal with me.

  5. says

    It depends on the reason for the auto response. I don’t like the “thanks for the 1st comment” responses but I do like the “Expect a response in xx” auto responses.

  6. says

    Thanks for the inspiration. After thinking about it we were able to get all the info. from our auto-responder onto the contact page. I hope it works!

    Our biggest problem and the main reason we put it on in the first place was people sending emails saying “did you get my message?”.

    I am hoping that the amount email doesn’t go back up but I think it’s worth a try!

  7. says

    I will accept an automated message for a vacation absence, such as- I am away until September 5th and will respond after that date. Or something similar.
    Every other automated message makes me crazy! I won’t comment on blogs that send an automated thanks for your comment email and I will unfollow anyone on Twitter that sends me an automated DM.

    • says

      I agree about the auto email responses. However, I do send an auto-DM for my Twitter followers, just as a way to let them know about my website. Sometimes I get people following who have never seen my blog, and I’d love it if they would visit, so I tell them so. Although my auto-DM is the same for everyone, I like to think that my personal touch shines through so that it’s hard to notice that it’s automatic.

      • says

        Hi Whitney. In my Twitter stream it is common practice to unfollow anyone sending an automated DM. If it has a blog link in it most people assume it’s automated. I would caution you to continue the practice without statistics to back it up. This is my opinion and my experience, if it is working well for you then carry on.

      • says

        Yup, I unfollow anyone that sends me an auto DM. It’s impersonal. I also believe it’s fast becoming a social media faux pas.

  8. says

    I personally hate them but we do use one. Why? It cut way down on the amount of questions we would get by more than half.

    We might just put all that on the site, most of it is already on there, but people just don’t read so we hope that the second time they see it they will read it.

    I do have 2 email addresses so that I can give to people who I will be emailing a lot so they don’t keep getting the autoresponder.

  9. says

    I appreciate knowing that you have a lot of emails coming in, so if I don’t hear back right away, I don’t worry too much. But, at least make it personal… not just bland.

  10. says

    Unless someone is away on a vacation or a family emergency, I don’t think there is a place for them. I think particularly heinous when someone asks me for something; I respond and then get a reply that they get too many emails to respond. Oh..really?

    I get a lot of emails; I’m marketing two businesses, so I hope so. If/when it gets more than I can handle, I have my assistant manage some from the website but I won’t be sending the message to potential clients that people commenting have felt…that I’m too important and they are less so…they’re customers and I want them to know they are VERY important.

  11. says

    I am always tempted to reply, “I realize your inbox is full, but that is no reason to clutter mine”. Except if I did, it would just generate another autoresponse. :D

    I do not mind receiving a canned letter that is specific to the content of my email. i.e. I send an email to a deal blogger sharing a coupon/deal that I found that I believe is unique and in return I receive a canned response telling me how such information is used.

  12. says

    I’m with you on this one. I usually know that the person I’m emailing gets tons of emails, and I never expect a quick reply. I do like the separate landing page that Carrie mentioned. I’ve run across a couple of those that mentioned spots on their sites that I might find useful. It shows a desire to help get you to the information you were seeking. But the canned reply just doesn’t seem necessary to me.

  13. says

    I don’t like them at all. I think its ok to do if you are going to be away for a period of time but otherwise no.

  14. says

    I can’t decide. I don’t mind them that much, personally, but I know a lot of people do. On my to-do list is to create a landing page for people that contact me through my contact form, with helpful information on the things I’m often emailed about.

    • Amy says

      When you say landing page, do you mean a page they land on after they submit the form or before?

  15. Heather says

    Totally agree! I put autoresponse users in my list of people I have no interest in working with. It comes across as “my time is so much more valuable than yours.” I usually decide it isn’t worth my time to contact them again.

    • Amy says

      Oh, your “do not work with” list sounds interesting. Would love to hear more about that — how you keep it, if there’s anything else you use it for, etc.

  16. says

    If the automated email leaves no timeline or even an expectation of ever receiving a response, then I’ll likely not contact that person again. When I get an auto-email that says “I don’t have time to respond to each email,” I read “I don’t have time for peons like you.” If you can’t respond personally, I think the “disclaimer” on the contact page is probably your best bet.