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Autoresponders - The Other Wise Choice

Nov 29, 2007
When answering machines were first introduced it was not uncommon for many individuals to simply hang up with the highly emotive vow never to do business with a company that would be so impersonal as to relegate their concerns to a recording device. Then they would discuss the matter with similar emotion to any who would listen.

Today even the idea of an operator is an antiquated notion in some business as an automated voicing system guides you to the appropriate party to ask a question or voice a concern (even then you can expect to leave a message - it doesn't matter if you made it to the wrong extension).

With online business it is possible to conduct business with clients who will never hear your voice. However, that doesn't mean they aren't interested in hearing from you.

The truth is the Internet is automated in such a way that the only three human responders in a transaction are the consumer making the purchase and the warehouse worker assigned to product fulfillment and the individual charged with actually delivering the merchandise.

When customers make an online purchase they want to know that the order was received and fulfillment of the order is in process. This is where an auto-responder becomes a good friend to online businesses.

An auto-responder email can immediately be sent as an order confirmation and greeting. Another auto-responder can be activated automatically when the product is actually sent from the warehouse alerting the customer to the fulfillment of their order. Yet another auto-responder can kick in several days later asking the client for feedback on their purchase. This information can be valuable in knowing the general tone of the customer's approval of your business. It is even possible that some of the responses can be used in a testimonial segment of your business site. The part that is appealing to most online business owners is that once this system is set up it is essentially hands free.

The third auto-responder you set up could also invite the new, and hopefully satisfied, customer to accept an ecourse you can provide free of charge or the occasional email marketing piece that will alert them to special buys, discounts and coupons available to 'select' customers.

Auto-responders can actually be a useful tool in both traffic building and list building strategies. They don't have to be intrusive and should be informational and something the customer is happy to receive. That being said, you need to make sure there is an opt-out feature when the emails are no longer directly related to the delivery of a product from your online company. If you don't make this available the consumer may feel as if subsequent emails are spam oriented and may report you as a spammer.

Imagine having a room full of employees whose job it is to personally answer each order that comes in. Would this be a cost effective way to run a business? If not then perhaps the nominal cost associated with a fully developed autoresponder system may be more cost effective simply in terms of freeing up more time to take care of business.
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