I recently contacted a financial advisor about a networking idea I’m putting together and when her out-of-office reply popped up, quite truthfully I was only looking to see when she’d be back in the office so I could note my calendar to follow-up then. Instead, I got a most brilliant message which said:
Thank you for reaching out to me.
As my practice grows, I believe it is very important to give proper attention to all my clients and provide superior service.
If you have sent me an email, I will get back to you as soon as I possibly can, I check my emails twice a day. If this is an emergency, or if you need immediate assistance, please call my cell phone at XXX-XXX-XXXX.
Thank you for your patience and understanding.
You mean – she told her emailers the truth?
Yep. She sure did.
I sat there in a bit of disbelief and then relished in her bravery to be 100% honest and open about where she was, how to reach her in an emergency, and when she was likely to get back to me. She qualified her beliefs on what prompt customer service meant to her and she qualified emergent issues as well as set an expectation on when she would respond. I mean, what more can you ask for in an email response, right?
It’s not just for vacations anymore.
The out-of-office reply is a powerful way to control your day and productivity. You have to be willing to share your strength and your weakness in using it, though. Someone else’s interruption does not mean it should cramp your agenda, but it doesn’t mean it has to negate their need and its importance, either. It’s the best of both worlds, really, when you think about it.
- I wasn’t turned off by her honesty – I embraced it.
- I wasn’t offended that she wasn’t getting back to me quickly – if it was important, I was to call her cell phone.
Be a person of action – Are you brave enough to use your out-of-office in a new way? What other ways do you think the out-of-office could benefit others?