Blog/Best Practices

18 Automatic Text Reply Prompts for Your Business

From out of office messages to lead generating auto replies. Learn how to set up and send your own automatic text replies.

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The average response time for a text message is about 90 seconds. 

And while we all have grace for friends and family who seem to take forever to get back to our messages, customers generally expect this degree of promptness when they text a business.

Of course, managing a minute and a half response time isn’t so easily accomplished when you’re out of office, receiving hundreds of texts each hour, or shifting your attention to a different project.

Thankfully, there’s a way to respond swiftly to all incoming texts without needing to jump onto your computer or phone. The answer is simple—automated text messages. 

Automated text messages can not only serve as response placeholders until you’re back in the office, but they can also be:

  • A first line of contact for customer service inquiries 
  • A lead generation tool
  • A promotional channel for your content
  • And so much more!

The good news is, automating text messages is as simple to set up as a pre-recorded voicemail prompt or an out of office email reply. We’ll show you how it’s done and share some ideas for how you can leverage the power of automation. 

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What Is an Auto Reply Text?

Short for automatic reply, auto messages are texts sent without the need for manual intervention. They’re also almost always in response to a triggering action.

There are two main types of automatic replies:

  • General auto reply: A pre-written response like an out-of-office message that can be turned on and off.
  • Specific auto reply: This kind of message is only sent when a particular action is taken. For example, when a text-to-join keyword is texted to your number. These are also sometimes referred to as triggers.

We’ll provide examples of both types of message below.

How to Set up an Auto Reply Text

Automatic text replies can be set up in a snap.

Depending on what provider you use for your text marketing software, the step-by-step instructions for setting up an away message varies. You can find ours here

An away message will generally be a 160-character auto-reply message that can be turned on or off as needed.

You can also schedule your auto replies ahead to send at a specific time for a set it and forget it solution. 

The message will be automatically triggered in response to any incoming text received while the away message is turned on. Like this:

Automatic Text Replies for Business Best Practices

No matter what you’re using your SMS autoresponder for, there are a few pieces of best practice you should keep in mind when crafting an automated text message

  1. Always include a thank you: It’s both polite and inviting to begin your away message with a thank you. This lets customers know you’ve acknowledged their inquiry and helps to assure them a response will come soon.
  2. Identify yourself: After your thank you, you want to establish a more personal connection with the customer. A great way to do this is by identifying yourself as an individual. Now, the customer has a point person to reference for their support and they feel one step closer to resolution. 
  3. Provide a time frame for follow up: If your automated message is a placeholder for a response, be sure to let your customer know when they should expect to hear back from you. Will it be minutes, hours, days? Help them set the expectation to avoid friction caused by the non-response. 
  4. Provide next steps: Finally, if the situation allows, give your customers insight into what they can do in the meantime while they wait for a response. Is there someone else they can contact in your absence? A blog post or article that may have the information they need? Whenever possible, give them the tools to continue autonomously. 

Feeling ready to set up some automated text message replies on your own? 

Before we leave you to your own devices, we have some sample messages featuring different ways you can automate text replies to serve your business. 

18 Out of Hours Text Message Examples for Your Business 

From the familiar to the more unexpected, peruse some of the different uses for automated text replies. 

1. Catch-All Auto Reply 

Need to set up a generic away message for times you’re away from the phone or need to refocus your attention? Simply throw this template up for a few hours to buy yourself some time.

Today 8:00 AM
Thank you for contacting Lulu’s, you’ve reached Anne. I’m out of the office currently, but I will respond to your message by 3 pm. Thank you for your patience!

2. FAQ Auto Reply Text

Save time and direct folks to a page with answers to frequently asked questions in an autoresponse to help sort and prioritize customer service inquiries. 

Today 9:00 AM
Thanks for reaching SimpleTexting, my name is Jenny. While you wait for a customer support rep, see if we can answer your question here

3. Customer Service Auto Reply

If you receive a high volume of customer service texts, you may want an auto-response in place that acknowledges a customer query has been received. This can help buy you some time while attempting to reach as many people as you can. 

Today 10:00 AM
Hello! We received your inquiry and our support team is on it. We’ll get back to you in 20-30 minutes. Thank you for your patience!
-SimpleTexting Team

4. Automated Sales Text

Use your auto-response as an opportunity to connect your customers with a sales opportunity!

Today 11:00 AM
Hey there, thanks for shopping Patagonia! We’ll respond to your message ASAP. While you wait, have you checked out or semi-annual sale?

5. High Volume Automated Response

If you’re experiencing a higher text volume than normal, be sure to have a volume auto-text on hand to help buffer the traffic.  

Today 12:00 PM
Thanks for your message! We’re experiencing a higher volume of texts than usual. You can expect a reply within 12 hours.

6. Out of Office Auto Reply

Don’t leave messages that come in outside of business hours hanging. Instead, let them know when they can expect a response. 

Today 1:00 PM
You’ve reached Maggie at HealthCorps. Our business hours are 8-5 EST and I am currently OOO. I will get back to you within the next business day, thanks!

7. Welcome Text

If a customer is new to your text program, be sure to send them an automated welcome message upon opt-in!

Today 2:00 PM
Welcome to Barracuda Resorts VIP club! My name is Joy, your personal concierge. If you need anything during your stay please let me know!

8. Marketing Department Inquiry

Perhaps someone reached out to your marketing department regarding a press inquiry, guest post pitch, etc. You’ll want to be sure you’re ready with a response.

Today 3:00 PM
Thanks for reaching out to NAPA marketing, someone will be in touch with you shortly. What can we help you with?

9. Missed Message Auto Reply

Just like a voicemail inbox, your texts can also take down messages for follow up as well!

Today 4:00 PM
Sorry we missed you! Please reply with a brief message and someone from the Skipper team will get back to you later today.

10. Staffing or Recruiting Auto Reply Text

If you have a job opening it can be difficult to get in touch with everyone who applies. To help you stay organized and let candidates know their application was received, consider a staffing automatic text reply. 

Today 6:00 PM
Thanks for your interest in joining the ABC team. You can check your application status on our employee portal anytime

11. After Business Hours Text

Does your business operate outside typical working hours? Let people know with a message. 

Today 5:00 PM
Thanks for your message! Craig’s is an Australian-based company, therefore you can reach us during our business hours 6 pm – 2 am EST.

12. For More Information Auto Reply

Provide customers with some quick information to help them get started with your brand or business. 

Today 7:00 PM
Howdy! Thanks for requesting more info on Hank’s Ranch Membership. Here are some articles that should help get you started!

13. Holiday Closure Auto Reply

If you’ll be away for a portion of time observing a holiday, create a cheerful auto-reply in your absence! 

Today 8:00 PM
Instead of my phone, it’s the jingle bells that will be ringing until 1/2; I will be out of office until then, please expect a reply with 24 hours of my return.

14. Vacation Notification Text

Out of office on vacation? Set and forget a message in seconds!

Today 8:00 AM
I’m leaving on a jet plane! The Stern Firm will be out of the office until 3/4 on a company-wide retreat. We will respond to all messages promptly upon return.

15. Lead Generation Auto Reply

Just because it’s an automated message doesn’t mean you can’t seize the opportunity to collect leads. Provide the opportunity to collect an email or address within your text response. 

Today 9:00 AM
Thanks for reaching out to JT Morgan. We’ll get back to you shortly. In the meantime, have you subscribed to our weekly investor newsletter?

16. Networking Text 

If you’re an events-based business, use your out of office auto-reply as a way to promote your upcoming conferences, sessions, and speakers!

Today 10:00 AM
Jason here, thanks for reaching out to ThinkTank! I’m currently at a speaking event in Chicago. Find out if I’ll be coming to your city here

17. Re-Direct Auto Reply

Just because your business is text-enabled it doesn’t mean you have to be a two-way communication platform. You can create an auto-reply message to all incoming messages letting them know the inbox they’ve reached isn’t monitored and direct them elsewhere for contact!

Today 11:00 AM
Thanks for your response! Please note this inbox is not monitored. To reach someone with a question or feedback, please email [email protected]

18. Service Upgrade Notification

Anticipating some downtime on your site due to maintenance? Get ahead of any frustrated “is your site down” messages with an auto-text.

Today 12:00 PM
Thanks for reaching out! Please note that we currently have some site delays due to the ongoing upgrade of our network. Delays should cease at 8 am tomorrow.

Like email, business text messaging is a platform that’s always on. But that doesn’t mean you have to be. So sit back, relax, and let the leads begin to manage themselves!

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