Have you ever emailed customer service and wondered:

Oh my gosh, did they actually get my email; maybe I should email again!?”

I recently emailed a yoga clothing company because my order confirmation had the wrong items listed and for a minute there, I panicked.

I should have sent the email from my personal Gmail rather than their “Contact Us form!

I thought, because this way, I’d have proof that I contacted them immediately. This was especially worrisome because they had a “no returns or exchanges” policy. It all worked out okay; the rep was awesome, but it took about a day of uncertainty until I got their reply.

This is when an “auto-reply” email comes into a play. It provides an opportunity to assure the customer you got their message; it’s not lost in some black hole, and you can even set expectations as to how long you’ll take to get back to them. It might even be an opportunity to point them to some resources in case it’s an issue that’s easily solved by having them read a blog post or Knowledge Base article.

I’ve been part of some young companies, and sadly, the support crew can’t always keep up! If you hit a really busy time, say, the holiday season when you work retail, you can write a blurb to let customers know that the wait time might be a little longer, but that you are working hard to reply to each and every single one.

I found myself managing support solo for a couple of months, and my first response time got to 48+ hours. Nowadays, people expect replies in under a day, so I set up email reply to relay the following:

Yes, I got your message

Thank you so much for taking the time to email Support. This is an automatic response, just to let you know that your message ({{ticket.id}}) hit our inbox safely.

It’s going to take about X amount of time to get a response back.

We make every effort to get back to you as quickly as possible and we’re striving to keep our response time under 48 hours during our regular business hours, Monday-Friday 9AM-6PM PST.

I really appreciate you, but I am a human so I’m sorry that I’m a bit slow! I will respond to each and every message as quickly as I can.

Thank you again for bearing with us through the wait. You’ll get a personal email as quickly as humanly possible!

The example above is a bit more apologetic than something I might use now that we’ve gotten the first response time down to ~13 hours, and I might even tone it up again if our team was to be away for a long weekend. However, it alleviates the anxiety that the customer is forgotten, tells them what a “normal wait time” might be, and assures them you will be there to help soon!

BONUS: If you have a helpful Knowledge base, blog posts, or video resources, you might even link there, allowing the customer to help themselves.

In my #dreamworld, I’ll be as badass as at team at Basecamp, who I really admire and I can turn my auto-responder off! They really reflect my #goals and respond in TWO minutes (not days), no auto-responder needed. In the meantime though, I’ll be leaving it ON!

Talk about support #goals. The time at BaseCamp responds in 2 minutes!
Talk about support #goals. The time at BaseCamp responds in 2minutes!