In business, time is money. An opportunity lost may never be regained.

Every day, people are searching the Internet for information. They want answers to questions, courses of action or resolutions to issues and concerns.

Clicking on your URL is a big step. The prospect is on your website. Your products and services prove to be interesting. The prospect decides to email you. From there, time starts ticking. The longer the prospect waits, the more opportunity wanes. If you had an email auto- responder, things would be different.

Mobile technology has made life easier for consumers. It has also made them less patient. Proof of this is that consumers expect a web page to download within 3 seconds. If your web page takes longer than 3 seconds, the prospect will abandon the search.

The same can be said for customer service. People want to be attended to as soon as possible.

If a handful of people visit your website and reach out to you, it would be possible; maybe, to attend to each and every one of their inquiries. Interested parties could send their inquiries via email, chat message, or social media. As a rule of thumb, responses to communication should be sent within 24 hours.

Immediate attention to inquiries shows professionalism and attention to detail.

However, what if your lead generation tactics were hugely successful and you received hundreds of communication from prospective customers? How would you be able to attend to each and every one of them within 24 hours?

The answer is by setting up auto- responses for common questions.

4Benefits of Using an Auto- Responder

An auto- responder is a program that systematically releases a sequenced list of emails to subscribers who have signed up for your service.

Auto-responder programs are popularly used with email marketing because the systematic release of responses makes it easier and more convenient to send content in a scheduled and timely manner.

Auto-responders also give businesses a boost in customer service rankings because inquiries, questions, and concerns can be addressed right away.

There are other benefits to using an auto-responder system for your business:

Establishes Strong Relationships with Customers –

Every time someone visits your website, you can initiate communication by sending out an email.

All relationships start out with a simple communication. An email merely confirms the interest of the visitor. After all, why would he/ she visit your website if there was no interest? If the recipient of your email likes your content, he/ she may sign up for your newsletter.

Allows Your Business to Run 24/7 –

It doesn’t matter if your website receives inquiries from Sweden or Mongolia, the auto-responder does not rest. It will receive and send automated responses to emails according to your schedule.

It will not matter if your website receives visitors very early in the morning or during the graveyard hours. The auto-responder system will perform its functions as expected.

Maximize the Performance of Your Staff –

With an auto-responder system in place, your people do not have to manage email support. You can designate them to work on other tasks.

This way you get to accomplish more and improve your business’ level of productivity. Related to this, an auto-responder system also reduces the risk of human error.

Can Help Achieve Your Marketing Goals –

For the reason that auto-responses should be customized, they can help you achieve your marketing goals.

For example, you can send an auto-response that says “If you want to learn more about email marketing and how it can help increase sales conversions, give us a call or drop an email. We will schedule you for a free 30-minute consultation!”

That particular Call-to-Action will encourage subscribers to take your offer for a free 30-minute consultation. It will give you the opportunity to convert the interest into a sale.

According to a 2013 study by Optify, 63% of the fastest growing companies in the Inc. Top 5000 list use an auto-responder program to support their email marketing campaigns.

Although there are no updated surveys on the growth of auto-responder use since 2013, it would be safe to surmise that more companies are using it because email marketing continues to be one of the best ways to generate leads and improve sales conversions.

Are There Risks to Using an Auto- Responder?

People want to be attended to right away. No one likes to be kept waiting. As a proprietor of a business, you know this. You try your best to be as attentive and prompt in sending out responses. Hence, you decided to incorporate an auto- responder system for your email or customer service.

However, people can be unpredictable. There are times where it seems that the expectations of customers can be contradictory or unrealistic. They want to be attended to right away, but they don’t like the idea of an automated response.

For the reason that they took the time to craft a well-written and comprehensive email, they expect the same level of effort from you. Are they being unreasonable? If the shoe were on the other foot, would you feel the same way?

Let’s review our definition of an auto-responder system:

“An auto- responder is a program that systematically releases a sequenced list of emails to subscribers who have signed up for your service.”

Let’s edit the definition a bit so that we can have a clearer idea of the best way to run an auto- response system:

“An auto- responder is a program that systematically releases a sequenced list of customizedemails to subscribers who have signed up for your service.”

Customization means to personalize your responses to emailed questions or inquiries. Is this possible given that the system is after all, automated?

Yes! Here are 2 simple tips on how you can customize or personalize your automated email responses:

Avoid Cliché Responses –

You know what these are. You’ve probably received them yourself. The following responses are cliché are show a lack of thought, creativity, and sincerity:

  • “I have read your email” – No, you’ve not. You say that to everybody.
  • “I will get back to you as soon as I can” – Which is when? The customer has his/her own timeline.
  • “Thank you for your email” – Why? Do you thank everyone who sends you an inquiry or a question?
  • “I will get back to you within 24 to 72 hours.” – This is more assuring but inappropriate unless the response comes from customer support. Then, it becomes a standard response.

Let Your Voice Be Heard 

Compose a response that accurately represents how you would respond in person. This gives the recipient an idea of who you are as a person and may nicely provide the foundation of a good relationship.

An example of a personalized response would be:

“People who know me will tell you I am usually prompt when responding to emails. You have my personal assurances that I will read your email and get back to you the soonest. In the meantime, thank you for your patience and understanding…I hope!”

The last sentence injects a bit of humor which is always welcome.

Conclusion – How to Set Up an Auto- Responder for Your Email

Whether you are using Gmail, Outlook, or Yahoo! as your email, they all have built-in features for making auto-responses. The processes are generally similar in sequence. It is important to identify common questions so you can send the right auto-response every time.

The first step is to create a summary of the most often asked or most common questions. From there, create a specific list of words or phrases that are relevant to each question. For example, if you want to send an auto-response to a question on refunds, you can create a list that includes the following words:

  • Request for refund
  • Refund
  • Discounts
  • Promotions
  • Defects

In the customer service program, ZenDesk, these words, and phrases are called “triggers”. Gmail will ask to list the words that should appear in the email. As for sending personalized responses, you can designate which email addresses should receive specific messages.

Setting up auto-responses for your email and its common questions is a fast, easy, and convenient way to address your customers’ needs and wants. It will help streamline costs while improving business productivity at the same time.