Auto-Responders With Personality

I went ice-climbing a few weeks ago. I did what most other business professionals do and set up an out-of-office auto-responder informing people where I was, how long I'd be out, and what they could expect as far as a reply. Standard procedure, right?

In January, I blogged about how an auto-responder email I received from Conde Nast missed the mark in three critical areas. The good news is, my example today is quite the opposite.

 GroupCard's Auto-Responder Has Spunk!

In complete contrast to the Conde Nast auto-responder mishaps, GroupCard nailed it on many levels. (See screenshot of the company's email to me below.)

 GroupCard Crew/Email Insider

Before I continue, let me briefly explain what led to the email above. GroupCard sent me an email on the day I was out of the office. My email client immediately fired off an auto-responder to the "from address", This, in turn, prompted the above email from GroupCard. Clear? Good.



 I love this auto-responder email for a few reasons:

1.     Clear "From" Name: GroupCard Crew. I knew who they were immediately. The "from name" was clear and recognizable.

2.     Copy with personality! Most auto-responders are boring and robot-like. "This is an automated response. This mailbox is not monitored. Do not reply." GroupCard added some spunk. Go ahead, read the copy again (I'll wait here).

See what I mean? Phrases like, "Though I'm friendly" and "Your Loyal GroupCard Autoresponder" and "Heck, you can even reach us by phone" just felt more human. I actually read the entire email.

3.     It was helpful.  This element is often  missed. The auto-responder is usually just that, an automatic reply with no value. In this case, GroupCard told me a few things. First, to resend my email to the intended recipient. Next, they gave me not one, but two ways to contact them (email or phone). Finally, they promised I'd be amazed.

What We Can Learn From GroupCard's Auto-Responder

Let me be clear that I don't believe every company can get away with an auto-responder like GroupCard. I'm not suggesting that the Conde Nast choice is the answer, either, but likely something in between the two would suffice. In the case of GroupCard, the personality-filled reply worked because it was consistent with their brand.  Off the top of my head, I could see this approach also working for companies like Zappos, Apple, BustedTees, and Urban Outfitters.

Also, it's important to note that if you are going to add a bit of fun into these emails, be sure that you also are helpful. In the end, this auto-responder worked because I was able to contact GroupCard.

Speaking of combining fun and helpful, check out Groupon's unsubscribe confirmation page. While you're there, be sure to click on the "Punish Derrick" button and watch what happens. See what I mean about fun and helpful?

My Challenge To You

Take a look at your company's auto-responder. Is it boring and not really all that helpful? Does it jive with your corporate culture and personality? If not, spend some time refreshing it. Remember, every email interaction with a prospect, client, or customer has value. Don't waste this one.

4 comments about "Auto-Responders With Personality".
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  1. Charlene Simmons DeSmet, March 15, 2010 at 4:27 p.m.

    Good Perspective. Thanks DJ!

  2. john anderson, March 15, 2010 at 8:57 p.m.

    Hey Thanks DJ for the shout out! What's so funny is how I forgot that autoresponder was even running ;-). As you were right to point out, we're lucky that our brand and mission supports the whimsical/caring/human tone in our copy. It really makes our job more fun. BTW - wait till you get the GroupCard "welcome" card ;-)

  3. Dj Waldow from Blue Sky Factory, March 16, 2010 at 7:53 a.m.

    Charlene: Why thank you!

    John: Hey. I call it how I see it. Good stuff, for sure. How does one get the GroupCard "welcome" card? Hook me up!

    DJ Waldow
    Director of Community, Blue Sky Factory

  4. Adam Davis from Softonic, April 13, 2010 at 11:28 a.m.

    Excellent example.

    One question - did your email client truly reply to the 'from' address? Not the 'reply-to' address?

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