Out-of-Office Replies for Home Service Businesses: Templates and More
You don’t have time to respond to every single email or SMS, and that’s understandable!
But, out of office reply messages can help you maintain incredible customer service. They do far more than tell your customers that you’re out. They can actually help you close more sales, encourage repeat business, get paid on time, and get more online reviews.
Today, we’ll cover why out of office messages are important, provide you with auto reply message samples for various business scenarios, and show you some options that can help you improve your out of office message game.
When to use automatic email replies
You can set up an automatic email response to inform people that:
- You’re away today (you’re sick, on a jobsite, or out of town)
- You’re on vacation for multiple days
- You’re having technical difficulties right now
- Your business is closed right now, but will be open tomorrow
- You’ve changed job positions, but someone else can help them
- A large storm or outage is closing your business for the day
Free solutions for out of office reply messages
If you’re going to be away on vacation, out of town, or otherwise unavailable, you can easily set up your Outlook or Gmail account to inform customers:
- Where you will be
- When you will be back
- Who can help you while you’re away
The last two are particularly crucial. Providing a realistic timeframe or an alternate contact can prevent a prospect from calling another company, or forgetting about you.
You can click here to see how to set this out of office reply up in Gmail or click here to see how to do it in Outlook.
Both of these options are free and can be changed as many times as you like, even daily.
Out of office message templates
Auto reply vacation message template
Hello, you’ve reached [your name]. I am currently on vacation from [the dates you will be gone]. If you need immediate help, you can reach out to [contact name] at [their phone number and email address] and they will be more than happy to help you.
Out of office holiday template
If you’re closing for a few days (or longer) for the holidays, let your clients know. Your out of office holiday auto reply email should be informative and wish your clients all the best during the holiday season.
Happy holidays from all of us at [your company]!
We will be closed from [date] to the [date]. If this is an emergency situation, please contact [name of contact] at [email address and phone number] and they can assist you further.
All the best to you and yours!
Out of office sick message template
You don’t need to give too many personal details if you’re sick, but, be sure to let people know you will be out of action for a little while, what they should expect in the meantime, and tell them who can help them during your absence.
Hi, you’ve reached [your name].
I am not feeling well, but expect to return [estimated date].
In the meantime, you can reach out to [contact name] at [their email and phone number] and they would be more than happy to help you.
Delayed response time message template
Perhaps your office is experiencing a staff shortage and it’s caused a lot of reshuffling. This means that the person who normally monitors the customer service inbox or the general inquiries inbox will likely be juggling many other tasks.
Dear valued customer,
Due to high client volume during our busy season, I am not currently available to answer your message.
However, I will get back to you as soon as I possibly can when I have a free moment in the field, or when I return to the office at [time when you’re done for the day].
If you have urgent questions, please contact [name and phone number of next contact].
Looking forward to connecting later, and thanks for your patience.
Best practices for email templates
You don’t always have to answer your client immediately. You’ve got a business to run, and sometimes there are roadblocks and speed bumps that lead to communication delays like a staff shortage, high season, or a demanding job you need to tend to.
It’s always good to let customers know you might be delayed in getting back to them. If you decide to set up out of office email messages, make sure you do the following:
- Ensure the customer that their message is important.
- Don’t forget to help them set reasonable expectations. If you can’t get back to them by the end of the day, then don’t promise it in your message.
- Always offer alternative ways for them to find answers to their questions via your website, blog, an app, or an automated phone system.
- Include a professional email signature in your out of office message. It helps you re-enforce your brand, and look more professional.
- Proof-read your message. Grammar and spelling errors make you look unprofessional.
- Consider including “sent from my iPhone” or “sent from my Android device” after your email signature. This makes your automated message look like you just personally sent it. This can actually improve your customer’s sense of security that you’re attentive to them, even if it’s an automated message.
- Link to the best place for your client to book an appointment in your automated message, like your client hub or online booking platform.
- Draw their attention to current promotions they may be interested in to help you seal the deal on a sale while you’re in the field.
Taking your auto reply messages to the next level
When you use an auto reply message template, all of the people who contact you will receive the same message.
However, to truly provide the best level of customer service, you should consider other types of auto-reply message features and options. Don’t let your out of office messaging strategy end there!
There are lots of options to help you improve your service and bottom line that can be customized for leads and clients who are in various stages of the customer journey.
Reduce customer appointment no-shows
Use auto reply messaging features as part of your out of office messaging strategy to help reduce client no-shows and delays.
Preventing no shows is a great way to avoid issues with clients who fall through estimate appointments, or forget about meetings.
Appointment reminder emails and texts confirm specific details like upcoming appointment date, time, and address, along with special instructions for the appointment, and who will be showing up to their appointment.
On my way text messages can also help remind clients about the exact time your team will show up, and who will be at their appointments.
Managing expectations, keeping open communication, and reducing wasted efforts is essential for smooth business operations.
There are lots of options available on the market for appointment reminders and on my way texts.
Look for automated and customizable options, like Jobber, so you can worry less and ensure your client communication remains on-brand and true to your voice.
Improve customer service before and after payments
Keeping in touch with your clients before and after payments is critical to improving your customer service game, ensuring you stay top of mind, and of course, getting paid.
If you’re constantly out of office in the field, it can be increasingly difficult to stay on top of this client communication.
You can encourage repeat business and build ongoing customer relationships by automatically emailing a customer after an appointment to thank them for their business, request service feedback, request an online review, or remind them to book follow-up appointments.
Another advantage to improving your out of office messaging strategy is by extending it to your sales and billing strategy.
When you automate your follow-up strategy for quotes and invoices, you improve your chances of leads and cash slipping through the cracks.
Using a software that allows you to follow-up by email or text message to improve your ability to communicate with your clients in a way that works for them, and keeps you top of mind all the time.
That way, you’re always on top of your accounts and receivables, even when you’re out of office!
Can you automate phone calls and SMS responses?
Answered calls and texts can lead to your customer moving on and reaching out to one of your competitors.
If you’re struggling to keep up with all of your phone calls, you can integrate Jobber with Pink Callers. Their agents can answer customer questions or book your appointments.
They can also handle more complex tasks such as providing detailed job quotes. This frees up your time to focus on the things that make your company money.
You could also use a service like Textline, which sends an automated responder to an SMS on your behalf.
You can set it up to send a customer a welcome text when they get in contact with you for the first time. Or, you can send them an after hours automated SMS to let them know when you will be open for business again.
You may not have an actual office. But, properly using out of office reply messages can help you start the conversation with would-be customers, while freeing up your time to take care of your existing customers.
Be sure to pair your shiny new out-of-office reply with a professional email signature. Check out our quick and easy how-to to polish yours up.