Automatically Speaking

Your email messages are a reflection of your e-business’s personality, and autoresponders are one method of conveying a lot without lifting a finger. E-commerce sites typically use these automatic email responses as polite acknowledgements of visitor contact or an indication that a detailed message will follow.

An automatic response can serve as a thank-you to customers who take part in a survey, sign a guest book, or leave feedback about your site. Most often, autoresponders act as an acknowledgement or receipt of a sale, a confirmation of a service or support request, or some other inquiry. Sometimes an autoresponse is in lieu of a personalized message, but if your automatically generated email promises a follow-up within a specific time period, be sure to comply.

Many spammers use subject lines that say “thank you for your inquiry” or something that leads the recipient to believe that the message is welcomed. To differentiate your automatic message from unwanted mail, the subject line should reference the customer’s original subject line.

The body of the automatically generated message should include the basic information without taking up more than one screen. You may use the contact opportunity to include a simple promotional message, but not the entire text of your weekly newsletter.

Don’t collect the customer addresses to add to your newsletter list. But you may include the subscription information in the signature of your autoresponse, letting the customer decide whether to opt-in. The recipient has entrusted you with a private email address; don’t abuse the privilege.

Locate the autoresponse service that meets your e-business needs in the Email Communication section of the ECommerce Guide Product Finder.

Related reading