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Your Auto-Reply Email Function...How To Irritate Mortgage Customers And Alienate Prospects

Aug 18, 2007
In my opinion, Mortgage Professionals that use the "Auto-Reply" option that's available in most email programs are making a huge marketing mistake.

For those of you not familiar with this little option, let me explain. Bill Gates incorporated the Auto-Reply function in the very first releases of Outlook and Outlook Express. It is still available in today's new versions as well as most third party email programs. Quite simply, it allows you to send an automatic email message in response to a message sent to you.

You're probably thinking...that's kind of cool...what's wrong with that?

Let's start by looking at three (3) auto-reply messages that I have received recently from Mortgage Professionals. Names and numbers have been eliminated to protect the guilty...

Message Number 1:

"Thank you for contacting me!

I would love to be of assistance to you regarding your real estate and mortgage needs. I read my email regularly and will respond according to your request, as soon as possible.

Feel free to contact me by phone for additional assistance.

Sincerely,
Name and Phone Numbers"

Message Number 2:

"I WILL NOT BE IN THE OFFICE AT ALL FROM MONDAY, JUNE 11 THROUGH FRIDAY, JUNE 15. I WILL RETURN ON MONDAY, JUNE 18.

Please call the office at 123-456-7890 and ask to speak with Sara Substitute for assistance.

I will be responding to emails in the evenings as possible but if it is urgent, please call Sara Substitute at the office.

Thank you!
Name"

Message Number 3

"Thank you for sending info, I will take a look when I have time and get back to you."

There's no doubt that all three authors are attempting to impress email senders with their level of service and their quick response. For that...they are to be commended. If I was a mortgage customer or prospect...I just might read these responses and feel quite differently. Here are my thoughts about the messages:

Since the response is indeed automatic, I know that everyone is receiving the same exact message that I just received. I certainly don't feel warm and fuzzy knowing this fact.

I know that email is not meant to be conversational or instantaneous. There are other modes of communication for that. I also know that busy professionals are not checking their email every five minutes. I know that it may be 24 hours or more before I hear from you.

If you're taking this opportunity to notify me that you're on vacation or attending a seminar for a few days...I'm not impressed. Since we are currently working together...a quick call or email from you letting me know in advance your vacation schedule would have been better. Actually I'm a little upset that I learned of your schedule with an Auto-Reply.

I appreciate your giving me the contact information of Sara Substitute, but I am not sure Sara is up to speed on the discussions you and I have had. I'll pass on contacting Sara and wait for your return.

In summary: My opinion is that Auto-Reply messages are much more negative than they are positive. They are not at all personal...in fact, they are quite the opposite. Don't make your customers and prospects feel as though they have just been corralled and herded in with all of the other contacts on your list.

Just as a reminder, you need to make all your customers and prospects feel special and let them know you care about them. By eliminating the use of Auto-Reply you are one step closer to making that happen.
About the Author
Tom Domin is the author of "101 Ways to Originate Mortgages" and publisher of "Tom's Mortgage Tips" a twice monthly Mortgage Newsletter geared for Mortgage Professionals. Increase your pipeline and put your mortgage career on the fast track and sign-up for FREE at http://www.MortgageMarketingToolKit.com.
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