When going on vacation, most people just prepare a generic out-of-office email response, something to the effect of: “Thank you for your message. I will be out of the office until __ and will respond as soon as I return.”
On the other hand, this is what Alessandro M. Forte, Dip PFS, CSP, a 20-year MDRT member from London, England, shared during a recent vacation:
“Thank you for your email.
“I am currently out of the office on holiday and I know I’m supposed to say I’ll have limited access to emails and won’t be able to respond until I return, but that’s just not true. My iPhone will not leave my side and I can respond to messages if I need to. I accept the fact I will probably need to interrupt my holiday periodically to deal with something urgent.
“That said, I promised my ‘better half’ that I am going to try to disconnect, get away and enjoy our holiday as much as possible; and to be quite honest … I am terrified of her!!
“If your email truly is urgent and you need a response while I’m on vacation, please email my assistant. Otherwise I’ll respond upon my return when I will be feeling rested, refreshed and re-energized!”
Forte picked up the idea after noting how stuffy and boring out-of-office messages have become, inspiring him to devise something better. In the first five days away from the office, he had 23 responses to his new message, all of them positive.
“A lawyer, who we have been looking to appoint as an introducer, stated, ‘LOL. The best out-of-office message I’ve ever seen!’” Forte said. “Twenty-four hours later, he sent us a new client.”
He added that people take notice of things that are different and appreciate how his new approach to the away message has a human, humorous, honest feel to it. Subconsciously, it makes people feel that Forte and his practice are trustworthy.
Though he notes that it is hard to disconnect while running his own business, Forte allocates an hour each day to scan his emails and respond only to the most urgent ones. This allows him the necessary balance for family time, and clients know he is taking a break.
“As long as you have someone who can deal with things while you are away, most things can be handled easily,” Forte said. “Ask most clients with an ‘urgent’ matter, ‘Can this wait a few days until I get back?’ and nine times out of 10 the answer is yes.”