Why Are We Still Using Out-of-Office Email Auto-Responders?

July 26, 2015

In sales, one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is to always be prompt and timely with your clients. If you are professional and transparent in your approach with each client then that helps maintain a strong relationship throughout the entire buying process.

One of the things that have always bugged me is Out of Office email auto-responders. You know the messages I’m speaking of that go something like “currently I’m out of the office on vacation and returning…if you need assistance…”

There may be some relevance to doing this with certain jobs, but in a sales role, I think it can hurt more than it can help. Let me explain.

In 2015, where most every working professional has their phone within arms reach 24/7, it is unrealistic to think that you are “off the grid”. Think about it, the nonstop workday exists. There is no longer the ol’ 9-5 “punch the clock and get out of here” business mindset. It is clearly becoming extinct because of the vast technology advances and access to employees whenever needed.

With that said, I’ve always learned from mentors that it is professional to get back to someone within 24 hours or less when they reach out. That’s something that has stuck with me to this day and it shows a respect and professionalism to the person that reached out, whether a new prospect or a client you have been working with for months.

It is imperative to respond to clients in a timely fashion even when you may be out of the office. If you have Internet access there is no reason you shouldn’t be responding with even a simple message just to acknowledge you received the email and you look forward to speaking upon you return. Not automated but an actual human message.

I’m sure I’ll hear the “I just like to unplug and put away technology” argument and that’s fine. I’m a big advocate of that but it doesn’t mean you can’t check emails right when you get up or before bed or while your catching some rays at the beach. The reality is that one lag in response or one missed step can be the difference between bringing on a great new client or not. It’s inches, not miles that make all the difference!

We can’t fight it. Technology is here for good. That brings the positives (like having this platform to express my thoughts) and the negatives. I’m not suggesting you need to sit on the phone for your entire vacation or neglect family or friends. It’s actually quite the opposite. Spending 5-10 minutes a day keeping in touch with your clients when they reach out will go a long way to continue to grow your relationships and help form new partnerships for your organization.

Next time you’re out of the office, which path will you choose?

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