What Is an Automated Email Response?

Melanie Balke
July 17, 2023

You’ve probably used one of these for your out-of-office message. Or maybe, you’ve sent out a triggered email on a certain date. Either way, you’ve engaged with an automated email response before, but have you used it for marketing?

That’s right!

These handy email messages can be used in your marketing campaigns. While many use them to help the customer support team, your automated email responses can be as simple or complex as you want. They’re perfect for simple confirmations and advanced communication, and this blog post will teach you all about them.

What Are Automated Emails?

An old music book cover. “The Basics: Automated Responses.”

As always, I’ll start with a quick review.

Automated emails are a subset of email marketing sent at specific times. They may be triggered by a date range or when an email account receives a reply. (This also means you can’t use a “no-reply” email address!)

Think of them as chatbots for your email accounts.

Individual Uses for Automated Response Emails

Fully stocked shelves. “Individual Uses: How you use auto-reply emails in your daily routine.”

You’ve certainly used automated responses in your daily life.

They’re a ubiquitous facet of office life, serving as the means to distribute out-of-office messages and similar content. In addition to the standard vacation responder, tech-savvy employees have used automatic replies to handle correspondence sent outside of standard business hours. Moreover, many help desks use automated email responses to confirm and organize support requests.

Common examples of individual auto-reply emails include:

  • Addressing peers during high-volume workdays
  • The classic out-of-office message
  • “Guidebooks” for new employees
  • “Happy holidays” responses
  • Redirecting peers to the appropriate resource for immediate help
  • Resolving common technical issues
  • Updates for support requests outside of normal business hours

Commercial Uses for Automated Email Responses

A crowd of American sailors at port during World War II. “Business Uses: How companies use auto-reply emails to drive revenue.”

But what about widespread use?

How can users turn this longstanding business tech into a profit-making machine?

In the most general sense, many companies use automated email responses to deliver what customers expect. They may set up automated emails to discuss product features or commonly asked questions when customers contact the support team. Alternatively, these emails can trigger whenever users take certain actions (e.g., responding to a request, submitting a support ticket, or subscribing to an email list).

Both options give your customer support team more wiggle room by reducing how many requests they receive.

Some brands have also used automated emails for more creative applications. For example, many brands use automated response campaigns to reward users for leaving feedback. Other platforms utilize the service as a self-contained chat platform wherein users can troubleshoot common issues.

Moreover, unlike many chatbots, a well-written autoresponder email message has an indelibly personal touch. Despite saying the same thing, these (relatively) longer-form messages give an impression of face-to-face communication, ensuring that consumers feel as if they’re talking to (and, more importantly, being treated as) a human being.

Common examples of commercial uses for auto-reply emails include:

  • Collecting and responding to feedback
  • Communication between customers and the support team
  • Guides for common issues
  • On-site actions (e.g., purchases and subscriptions)
  • Reminders to check the spam folder for campaigns
  • Providing new customers with immediate assistance
  • Request ticket updates
  • Wishlist updates

Automated Response Emails and Email Automation

Now, auto-reply emails are not the same as automated email marketing.

True, there’s plenty of overlap between the topics. Both tactics require a bit of internal coding. Both campaigns are also triggered by certain actions. However, automated responses are triggered by an incoming email message.

It’s a bit of a frog and toad situation. While all toads are frogs, not all frogs are toads. Similarly, all auto-reply emails are automated email marketing, but not all automated marketing uses auto-reply technology.

This semantic distinction is a technicality, so it doesn’t matter all that much. But it’s an interesting tidbit to know, right? Maybe you’ll get to use it at your next trivia bar crawl! Anyhow…!

The Benefits of Automated Responses

An old hand-written postcard. Overlaid text reads, “Benefits: Why Auto-Reply Emails Rock.”

Now that we know what auto-response emails can do let’s look at the perks.

At their core, auto-replies give users rapid access to the tools they may need when solving urgent matters. These messages balance commercial convenience with the power of a personal touch, and their effectiveness can be increased with a bit of tweaking. Customers get rapid responses to their support requests; you get more time to handle pressing issues.

Clear Communication Makes Everyone Happier

A rural road runs parallel to telephone wires. “Communication: Automatic replies offer customers better response times.”

First and foremost, a proper automated response flow gives any business a distinct professional flair. Even the most basic email templates help, particularly when informing new customers that a personal response may take a day or two to arrive.

Think about it for a minute.

If you’re a customer and you contact a business, how would you feel if you don’t get a reply for days? At best, you’ll be frustrated. However, many more customers will abandon the brand altogether, citing an ineffective support team as their primary concern. Even a simple message — something like, “Hey! It’s the middle of the Holiday Season, and you may have to wait for a response” — goes a long way.

Aside from being polite, these messages address the natural human need to feel seen. They tell customers that you care about them, even if you haven’t reached out personally.

Automated Response Flows Improve Customer Service Effectiveness

A luxury German wrist watch. “Efficiency: Companies use automatic reply tech to boost customer support.”

Now, let’s look at it from a logistics angle.

An automated response flow works as soon as possible, usually within the first few seconds. Even the slowest server will dispatch a message around five minutes after the first reply. Customers feel seen, and your support team has more breathing room.

If you’re running any business — whether it’s the busiest of high-volume e-commerce enterprises or a small “mom-and-pop” artisanal company — these messages are an essential part of your front-facing services. They’re the first line of communication for confused customers and the simplest way to provide on-demand support.

Moreover, if you’re a global company, you’ll eventually get an email from a different time zone. Instead of ignoring that person until your regular business hours, respond to them with an automated email! It may not be a personalized answer, but it’s the best substitute in the meantime. It also tells them what to expect, and they’ll be more likely to wait patiently (as opposed to, say, blasting your business with a poor review).

It’s Easy to Measure and Track

A stock market graph. “Performance: Measure your results with native email marketing stats.”

Finally, as part of the email marketing umbrella, automated responses are easy to track and measure.

Most modern email service providers offer native auto-reply features, so you don’t need to manage messy integrations. You’ll also be able to quickly access your essential contacts. Depending on your chosen platform, you may even be able to see additional information about an auto-reply recipient’s status.

Want to go a step further?

Some savvy integrations and coding can turn one of your website pages into an auto-reply paradise!

A well-composed support ticket form can give your business a massive advantage by collecting essential information before the support team begins their critical work. You may, for example, ask customers to provide data on their purchase and problem, reducing their wait time and narrowing their troubleshooting options. Some companies even have email sequences for commonly asked questions, which provide immediate assistance and answers to the appropriate quandaries.

Improve Your Email Marketing and Communication Today

This is just a brief introduction to automated responses. You can start using them today or working with an email marketing automation agency to implement all the best practices.

There’s a whole world of possibilities! You can respond to simple requests or set up entire automated sequences to address advanced and individualized needs. You can create whatever you want to, but you need a skilled team.

Fortunately, I founded The Email Marketers to handle everything! My team of pros understands everything — from branding and communication to metrics and implementation. We’re here to support your business!

If you’re ready to change your email marketing, give me a call! We’ll discuss your business needs and how to create an email automation plan. I’ll walk you through the entire process and show you how you can amplify your business with amazing email marketing.

In the meantime, don’t forget to check the rest of the blog for more tips and tricks!