There’s nothing more meaningless and ineffective than a robotic autoresponder email. It reduces your customer to a ticket number and makes them feel like you see them less as a person and more as a data point. That’s not particularly conducive to your relationship – especially if the message is responding to a request for help. 

But unless you have the time to handcraft every single email without building up an infinite backlog of unresolved tickets, auto-replies are a necessity. They keep you connected to the customer when you’ve got your hands full. They let them know that their problem will be solved as soon as possible. 

The key is to craft a message that’s warm, personal, and informative. Having a template that you can follow will certainly help. Let’s take a look at one before breaking it down to understand what makes an effective auto-reply email. 

The Sample

Subject Line: 

Hang tight. We’re on it! – RE: (recipient’s subject line) 

Body: 

Hi (customer’s name),

Thanks for getting in touch! This is an automatic response to let you know that we’ve received your message and one of our service agents will reach out to you ASAP. During (business hours), that’s usually within (realistic timeframe). It might take a little longer on weekends.

For any general questions about (product/service), you can head to our (knowledgebase) for guides and FAQs. 

Please feel free to send us a reply to this email if you have any extra details that can help us assist you. 

We’re looking forward to hearing from you! 

Regards, 

(agent name) 

Signature Elements: 

There are several additional items that you may want to include in the signature of your emails. If your customers require immediate assistance, for example, then consider adding a phone number as well. Just be clear about when customers can expect the phone to be picked up and what the procedure will be if it goes to voicemail. 

If you run an e-commerce company, you should always include links to the customer’s most recent purchase along with delivery tracking and FAQs for returns and exchanges. Businesses that are capable of handling requests on social media can add links to their profiles. 

Now let’s break down the auto-reply email and look closer at its main components. 

Subject Line

Your subject line is imperative, as customers will see it before anything else. It should achieve two things: 

  1. Outline the most important information. 
  2. Provide a good reason to read the message. 

Putting something like “We have received your request” in the subject line is about as good as not having one at all. Those kinds of phrases do little to comfort and reassure the customer that you’re going to get back to them. They’re not particularly enticing either. Try something more compelling and informative, such as:

  • “We hear you. Here’s what will happen next…” 
  • “Thanks for reaching out. We’re working on it!”
  • “We got your message! Here’s what to expect.”

Keep it short and eliminate any filler words. Remember to RE: the customer’s subject line, so that it’s easy to see what the email is about. If it’s a possibility, consider incorporating their name. 

Opening Section

The opener is no less important, especially now that most user interfaces display the first few lines of an email in the notification. Since this section is meant to greet the customer, using their name is a good idea. But what if you don’t have that? Then you’ll have to use a “fallback” greeting. 

Tone is important here. Unless you’re selling Rolls-Royces, you probably shouldn’t use “Dear Madam/Sir.” Keeping it friendly with a “Hi there” should be sufficient. Of course, you’ll want to give some thought as to how you believe your customers expect to be addressed. Don’t hesitate to ask them. 

Another core component is the “thank you.” After all, just about every email that comes your way contains valuable information that can make your company better. A simple “Thanks for getting in touch” makes all the difference. 

Body

Now it’s time to give the email a why. The purpose of the body is to explain how you’re going to help the customer. It should offer clear and accurate expectations as to when and how you’ll respond. 

This is a suitable time to note your business hours. Don’t just leave it at “as soon as possible,” which isn’t particularly reassuring. The customer doesn’t know what you consider to be possible. 

Aim to under promise and overdeliver. If you know you can get back to them in a few hours, specify 24-hours, for example. Be sure to follow through, though. 

Delivering on the promises you put in this section is a great way to build trust with the customer. Keep in mind that you may not always be able to promise a solution, but you can always provide an update within the given time. 

Signature

Finally, we have the signature. This is where you can add some more tone and build on the human element of your email. Simply putting in a name goes a long way in achieving the latter. 

Giving one last “thanks” is another suitable way to end things off. Whatever you do, remember to keep it positive and try to leave the customer with a smile on their face. As always, it’s important to keep it short and sweet. 

You can potentially insert alternative contact options, especially when the autoreply is responding to urgent types of emails. Remember to be transparent about what customers can expect when using those contact options. If you include any dates, make sure that they can’t be misinterpreted. Don’t use 08/07 or 12/09/20, for example. 

Auto-reply emails might be short, but each line is saying a lot about your business and the way you handle things. Keep this in mind when crafting your responses. Of course, automation can’t replace genuine, human customer service, which is key to providing an exemplary experience. But when used right, it can be a mutually beneficial tool.