It’s typically the little things that greatly impress or completely annoy. Here’s a few of my pet peeves around auto replies – tell me yours in the reactions.
p.s. The first was the inspiration for this post.
Referring to yourself in the third person
The email comes from you … why does it say “Mary Smith is out of the office until Sep 15. She will reply upon her return”. Was it set up by her admin, is she royalty … or do the voices in Mary’s head tell her to refer to herself in the third person? That’s more of a personal pet peeve, but I think it sets a pretentious tone.
Turn it off when you return
Add a note to your calendar if it helps you to remember, but turn it off the day you state you will be back. There’s nothing worse than getting an email on September 10 stating “I will be out of the office returning August 5”. August 5 … 2010?
Send one auto reply per sender
Don’t change the setting that ensures each person emailing during your absence receives only one auto reply. Unless everyone you deal with is obtuse, one auto reply is sufficient. And, don’t set it up so every person CC’d or BCC’d get’s an auto reply. It’s very annoying trying to determine why you just received an auto reply to someone you have not emailed!
“I’m too busy for you”
If you only read and reply to your email three times a day at regularly scheduled intervals and that works for you, that’s cool. But don’t tell me about it. “I only check my email at 11, 1 and 3” makes you sound pretentious (nobody is so important that I stop what I’m doing to read an email) or poorly organized (I have to stay on a schedule or I can’t get anything done). Plus, if I’m your client, or a potential client it makes me think you’re not going to be available to me.
No details necessary
Be courteous and keep it short. “I’m out of the office until September 22nd and will reply upon my return” is sufficient. I don’t need to know (or really care) that you are at your nephew’s wedding in Hawaii. (Actually, if you tell me you’re in Hawaii there’s a little piece of me that would be jealous.)
I need someone now!
If my correspondence is urgent, who can I contact? Tell me. But, don’t make me work for it “if it’s urgent, call Susan”… Susan who! What’s her email address and phone number? Include all contact info in the auto reply email.
Also, don’t give me 32 if/then contact choices based on the reason for my email.
Please don’t set up an auto reply for every email you receive thanking me for my email and telling me you will reply soon. I assumed as much. You’ve just wasted my time.
What peeves you?