Admit it: your automatic “out of the office” email is just an afterthought as you’re running out the door to your vacation (or even your business trip). A few quick words to let people know that you’re not tied to your keyboard these next few days, and you’re gone.
At the very least, you should be letting emailers know the dates you’ll be away from the office, and who they can contact in your absence. That’s the bare bones option. But what if you want to go a step further? Your out-of-office response is an opportunity to show your professionalism, to remind clients and customers that your company provides a service, or to let emailers know you have a sense of humor and want to brighten their day.
Here are some suggestions:
Share an article or sales material – Are you an assistant supporting the sales department (or its sales leader)? If you often receive inquiries by email or phone, consider sharing your sales materials as an attachment to your out-of-office message. Or, perhaps you’ve just read an article that you found informative or inspiring. If it’s professional in nature, consider sharing it and spreading the knowledge.
Share pictures – Sharing photos can be amusing and memorable. If you’re out of office on vacation, you can say something like, “Here’s a picture of me as I’m leaving the office for my vacation” or “This is what I plan to be doing for the next week.” Include a photo of manically happy you on your way out the door, or a picture of your feet as you’re lying on a towel at the beach. Or, go the Facebook/Twitter route and share a cute animal to make the emailer’s day better. “I’m sorry I’m not here, but behold…here’s a golden retriever puppy to help make up for that.”
Use your automatic response even when you’re working – If you’re offsite running an event or attending a six-hour meeting, use your automatic response option to let people know that you won’t get back to them right away. They’ll appreciate the heads up!
Brag on your co-workers – Let your emailers know that you’re referring them to the world’s best second-choice option ever: “I’m not in the office today, but feel free to reach out to Julie, who is perhaps the world’s best answerer of your question.” Doing so will help the emailer feel more confident about going to Julie, and Julie will feel extra good while you’re gone.
Share information your emailer might be looking for – If you’re managing an event or anticipate that people may be trying to contact you for specific information, consider sharing that information (or links to it) in your out-of-office, to minimize your need to respond when you return. OR…use the automatic responder even when you’re in the office to give others the information you know they’re seeking.
Let people know about business news or a recent accomplishment – Along with the basic out-of-office information, you could add, “And by the way, did you know that Smith, Incorporated was voted best consulting firm by Consulting Digest for the third year running?” Or, brag a little about yourself: “I’m out of the office today, taking a break after working with my team to open three new locations in the state of New Jersey!”
Revolutionary Assistants are standouts, and I mean in everything from the work they deliver to their manager all the way down to their out-of-office responses. Don’t miss an opportunity to set yourself apart from the herd. Put some thought and energy into your outgoing message!
Next Post: Wednesday, May 31