Any reputable business will know the benefits of keeping their customers happy and well informed. There will always be a time when you will need to switch off your devices and get out of the world of work for a short period of time.
This could be because the work day has finished, or maybe you’re taking a vacation or enjoying the holiday season. Whatever the reason, you’ll need to keep your customers and other business contacts informed that you’re not in the office.
Many businesses will use Gmail as their primary form of communication when it comes to email – and Google also comes with massive additional benefits, so this is perhaps no surprise.
If you’re using Gmail and you want to keep your contacts informed that you’re not in the office, here’s what you need to know.
What Is Out Of The Office?
Out of the office responses automatically send a reply email to somebody that sends you an email. You can create your own message or use Google’s template which outlines why you’re out of the office and when the person can expect a reply.
Many businesses will outline their office hours within the out of office email response, to inform people of their usual working times.
Why Is It Important?
Out of the office replies are critical for businesses. Most businesses will be aware of how customers will behave when it comes to their business needs and habits.
The likelihood is that your business will have competitors, so you will need to hold onto repeat customers and always try to attract new customers.
If a customer feels their query or general communication is not being addressed, they will likely go elsewhere for their needs.
Having a reply that outlines that you’re out of the office and will return on a given date and time gives the customer that reassurance that they are not being ignored and can expect their questions to be answered upon your return.
Additionally, you may receive communication from your suppliers or other business contacts. Some of which may have completely different office hours from you.
As the world of business is typically fast paced, they will not have time to wait on a reply, because time is money.
If however, you have explained in this type of response that you are out of the office, they will usually understand and try to contact you at a more convenient time. It’s wise to have an urgent telephone number available, in case of a severe business need.
Less likely too, you may have communication from the press that may ask for your comment on a topic. This may be good or bad for you, so it’s important that you respond – no reply may be reported and this could be negative PR.
Out Of Office: PC
There are different ways to set your Gmail to send out of office replies. We’ll start with the PC version. Once you are at your computer, go to Gmail and open settings. Click see all settings and then scroll down to find vacation responder.
You will be presented with a date/time range. Choose your parameters and type in your custom message which will be sent directly to those that contact your email address.
If you have decided to use a Gmail signature, this will continue to appear at the bottom of the out of office reply.
Go to the bottom of the page and click save changes. If you have addresses that are part of a mailing list, they will not receive this response though. This out of office response will continue to be sent until 00:00, after the last date you have selected.
You can turn this off earlier if you wish by using the “end now” banner at the top of your email inbox – there will be a prompt for this. Failing this, you can also do so through the same settings as above.
Out Of Office: Android
If you are using an Android device, go to the three lines at the top left of the gmail app after opening it. Go towards the bottom and select settings, then choose your account. Next, select the vacation responder and click the toggle to “on”.
Fill in the chosen parameters for date and time and type your chosen message, then all you have to do is click done.
This will continue sending like this until the date has completed, but you can end this early by going back to the same settings and toggling the button to “off”.
Out Of Office: IOS
If you’re using an Apple iPad or iPhone, download the Gmail app. Open it and then select the three lines on the top left. Go to settings and then select your chosen account.
Go to the vacation responder and toggle the switch to “on”. Once again, type in your chosen message and select your chosen time and date parameters.
At the top right, there will be a save option which you need to click to finalize your choice. The message will be sent until the date has expired, or if you go back and toggle the button to “off”.
What To Include
There are a few things that any good business will include in their out of office reply, such as:
- Urgent telephone contact details
- A subject that outlines you are out of the office
- Times and dates of usual office hours
- Business details including address, telephone number and your name
- Link to your website
The Bottom Line
There will always be an eventuality that has you away from the office, so you need to keep others aware that you’re not there – and this is the perfect way to do so. Remember, communication is critical!