The Pros and Cons of Using Auto-Reply

Sep 2015
Photo Credit: @kennethwismer

Running your own business can feel like juggling chainsaws, if you drop one component your company can suffer gravely. A quick fix for customer inquiries may be to setup an auto-reply system – but beware, this could end up hurting you as much as a rogue chainsaw. Here are some good and not-so-good choices.

Good Places to Use an Auto-Responder:

Auto-reply features are a great tool to use when customers need to submit information to your company.

Submission Forms

If someone fills out an online form to be added to your business’ newsletter, an auto-responder will provide the customer with an instantaneous email confirmation that their request was received. Auto-reply messages are also crucial for online transactions. Customers are entrusting you with their account information and, in return, an automated message can bring peace of mind that the sale was completed.


Setting up an auto-reply message on your company email will let customers know you have received their email and are not ignoring them, even when you don’t have time to respond. Your out-of-office email response does not have to be the generic “I will be back in the office tomorrow.” Use this opportunity to also promote your brand. For example, “While we are away, checkout our latest blog article on our new services (include link).” Not only is your reply short, it is also memorable and can drive traffic back to your website. Learn more about how to maintain social media on vacation.

Not –So- Good Places to Use an Auto-Responder:

Not all auto-reply messages are created equal. The convenience of these messages has also come back to bite major brands like Oreo, Bank of America, and Progressive. Take a look at their mistakes to make sure it never happens to you.


The major social media channel that offers these types of automated messages is Twitter. It’s tempting to think you can improve your brand awareness on social media by automatically sending a direct message to anyone who starts following you. However, features like this can quickly look like spam.


Another downside to auto-reply messages is that you don’t want to get too comfortable. Just because an instant response was sent out does not mean the dialogue is done. You should still check your company email and social media sites regularly to make sure you do not miss something important. If you can’t respond to inquiries in a timely manner, appoint someone at your company who can.

With these tips in mind, you can master the power of auto-reply.

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