“I am currently out of the office until Monday, May 16, 2011. During this time I will have limited access to emails and respond at my earliest convenience.”
I wonder why such little thought is given to out of office messages.
I am out of the office, returning on Monday May 16th. If the matter is urgent please call 555 – 55555.
Instead of telling people useless information (for instance, that you check your email periodically, which I guess implies, that if the out-of-office person checks and considers your email important, they’ll respond, otherwise you’re out of luck…), or that you’ll respond at your earliest convenience (when will that be?), tell them when they can expect to hear from you.
But not like this:
I will be out of the office for the remainder of the day, with little access to email. I will be sure to get back to you just as soon as possible. If you need immediate assistance, you can reach my assistant Sophie at 555-555-5555, ext 555. Otherwise, I’ll get back to you as quick as possible.
Instead, tell them when they can count on hearing back from you.
Here are 5 other tips:
1. Make it about them.
2. Help them to want to wait to hear back from you.
3. Create a message that reminds them of what you or your product can do for them.
4. Eliminate the stuff they aren’t interested in (like where you are or what you’re doing).
5. Just tell them what they need to know.
Try something like this:
Your email is important and I will respond by 4p today.
If you require a response before then, Assistant (hot link his/her name) is available (be sure they are; there are few things more frustrating when seeking an answer to receive an out-of-office message with a counterpart’s name and then, receiving an out-of-office message from them, too) to ensure you receive the information you need.
You’ve made a great decision contacting ABC and you can count on (what can they count on from you or your company?) a fun and productive event.
Take a moment to love your customer (every communication should!) and build a virtual bridge that will connect you profitably.