The infamous canned email reply. You have a huge problem, send in a support email about it, and you get back a standardized email asking you to check the power cord running to the computer. The support team didn’t even read your email and now they’ve wasted your time, their time, and killed a tree along the way (or a byte I guess since it’s an email).
That’s the horrible downside to canned replies. It’s impersonal. It takes away the trust the customer has with you. It breaks an already fragile relationship. They’re in the midst of a crisis and you didn’t even read their email.
Rule number one: Never use an automatic canned responses.
They don’t work, never worked, and sure as hell won’t ever work.
But like all good math rules, there’s a corollary to that.
You CAN use pre-set snippets to help speed up your responses.
For instance, we don’t have templates in the new Basecamp yet. It’s something we’re working on rolling out. But I see 15-20 emails every day asking about templates. Sure, I could retype each and every email to a customer. But that’s wasting the customer’s time and my time. They just want an answer.
I use Text Expander to plug-in the bulk of a reply quickly to them. I still take the time to customize it with their name, anything that catches my eye (cheering for my fellow Auburn fans that write us), and such. By using a snippet, I can get them detailed information without having to spend time retyping everything with each new email.
The Big Difference
With canned automatic emails, no one but the computer ever reads them. That’s wrong… so utterly wrong.
But with snippets, a person actually reads the email, understands what’s going on, and then replies back quicker than having to compose that email from scratch.
Kill off your canned responses and let snippets reign in their place.