The out of office hack

It’s important we get as many organisations and groups engaged with the Big Advice Survey as possible so they can encourage their service users to complete it. Using an email signature as explained here is useful, however, it is passive in that any call to action in an email footer is not the reason you are emailing the person(s) you are emailing – you just hope the recipient notices what’s in your footer after they’ve read the message you sent them

As an alternative, you could pass on the passive and consider being more active in how you call others to action:

  • Open your email and edit your ‘out of office’ reply to include something like the example text below
  • Turn your auto-reply on and leave it on, 24-hours a day and yes, even when you’re sat at work
  • Each time someone emails you from that point on they will receive the automatically generated email call to action
  • Most if not all email clients only send the auto-reply to each person once so, they will only get the auto-reply once

Example text to replace your usual auto-reply text:

Thank you for your email, I’ll get back to you shortly. In the meantime, please join me here:

I support the Big Advice Survey, listening to what the public has to say about services in [your area]. Please get involved too:

Depending on your skill with email clients, templates and email rules you could no doubt improve on this, including changing the default ‘out of office’ subject line. However, this hack is simple, doesn’t require any special skills or knowledge and so is easily adopted by anyone who uses email

I’m using it – feel free to email me here and see how it works


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