Out of office message examples are a dime a dozen. Trying to decide what to put in your email autoresponder before heading off to vacation? There’s a template for that.
But what happens when the office closes and all employees are going to be away? Depending on your industry and the types of services you provide, anywhere from dozens to hundreds of clients or customers will still be attempting to reach staff.
In these instances, you’ll need a much more robust out of office message. And those templates are harder to come by.
Whether you’re going off the grid for an annual all-hands retreat or will be closing for a national holiday, it’s important that your customers still have consistent, positive interactions with your brand — even when staff is unavailable.
Why Spend Time on Out of Office Messages?
When you start to consider the many different ways customers like to communicate, it quickly becomes clear that email autoresponders alone won’t cut it:
- 32% want to chat
- 30% prefer email
- 32% like email
- 7% want to submit a website query or connect on social media
Ideally, you’ll have a strong out of office message for each type of communication your company uses. That way, customers won’t be left in a lurch when they have questions or need information — and your organization will remain productive and profitable even when there’s no one available to respond right away.
3 Best Out of Office Messages to Emulate
Although these three types of “away” messages are often overlooked, they’re arguably some of the most important.
1. Live chat
When was the last time you looked to see what message live-chat customers see during off hours?
Instead of this:
You want customers to see something that reads like this:
So sorry to keep you waiting! We’ll be back and ready to assist you on [day, month /date] at [time]. If you’re in a rush, feel free to leave your question and an email address so we can get in touch the moment we return.
We like the second example because it gives your customers another way to reach your staff and move to the front of the line, so they don’t have to wait around until live chat is available again. It also sets very clear expectations for responses with the date and time.
2. Social media
Sure, you can use social media management tools to keep tweets and posts flowing when the office is closed for Memorial Day, July 4th, and other big national holidays.
But have you ever thought to take this a step further? On days when your entire team is unavailable to respond to social media posts in real time, a little goodwill out of office messaging can go a long way. For example, here’s what one local business posted a few days before Labor Day:
Talk about a great way to engage. This social media post doesn’t just give customers a heads up that the office would be closed. It also helps drum up business by encouraging people to make appointments and pay for services ahead of the holiday.
3. Blog posts
This may be one of the most overlooked out of office examples out there, but it’s also one of the best — especially if you have a lot of subscribers or followers.
When preparing for a major holiday or conference, a short business blog can be an excellent way to keep customers informed:
The best out of office blog posts follow a simple-but-effective outline:
- Write a headline that clearly states when staff will be out of the office
- Provide a brief explanation of why you’re closing your doors
- Give alternative communication options, if any, for emergencies
- Let customers know when you’ll be back and available for live inquiries
- Offer resources to help while you’re away
Once your post is published, you can share it in your weekly or monthly newsletter and put it front and center with a banner link on your homepage.
While these three examples aren’t the only ways to connect with customers and prospects when the office is closed, they’re some of the most overlooked. What’s your favorite way to communicate during holidays? Tweet us @Formstack to let us know!