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What Your Email Auto Responder Says About You (We’re Ready for a Debate!)

I’ve been a photographer since 2004, and I’ve walked more than a mile in a photographer’s shoes.  Now that I find myself regularly working with photographers, I’m able to see things from a different perspective while still being able to empathize with the day in, day out challenges that photographers face. And it’s from that perspective, that I invite you to consider the following.

I’m not sure how, why or when. But, somewhere along the lines, photographers—lots of them—decided that it was a good idea to set up email auto responders to automatically reply to each and every email that they receive.

These automatic responses look something like this:

“Due to the large volume of emails I receive, it may take me awhile to respond to your email. If it’s urgent, please call me. Otherwise, I appreciate your patience as I dig through my pile of emails.”

In theory, these messages are supposed to manage expectations and keep email senders happy; after all, you’re busy, you plan to respond, but you just can’t right now. But, what do these messages really say about you?

  1. I’m too busy.
  2. I can’t manage my workload.
  3. I don’t care about you as an individual.
  4. I think I’m really important.

(It doesn’t matter if these statements are actually true!)

If the mission of your business is to serve your clients in the best way possible, how does this messaging accomplish that? Every point of contact you have with your clients adds to the overall experience that they have with your business. Email—no matter how tedious—is an opportunity for you to remind your clients of how much you value them. Are you taking advantage of it?

Instead of setting up an email auto responder when you’re overwhelmed by emails, consider taking a serious look at the process you’re using to manage your email inbox!

Don’t have a process? There are lots of different tips and tricks you can use to get things under control. (We even explore some of them in this Dispatch!)

If you’re receiving hundreds or thousands of emails a day, it’s extra hard to stay on top of your inbox. First, get organized. There are a lot of important people in this world that receive thousands of emails a day and can still manage their correspondence efficiently.  And then, if you really can’t manage it, you should hire an assistant. You’re obviously getting a lot of business (bravo!) and therefore, hopefully, have the means to hire some extra help.

The bottom line: Take a hard look at what your automatic email response is saying about you. Is it really what you think?

P.S. If I were looking to hire you and I received an automatic email reply letting me know that your actual personal reply might take awhile, I’d probably use that time to continue looking for other photographers. Wouldn’t you?

Join in the Conversation: We believe in the power of asking “Why?” and challenging yourself to continue growing and improving! We hope you’ll ask yourself “Why?” and continue this conversation here on The Photo Life! We’re ready for a debate!

Photographer Katie HumphreysKatie Humphreys is half of the Chris Humphreys Photography team. For eight years, Katie and her husband Chris have been shooting weddings all over the country. Whether they find themselves in New York City or in the mountains of Colorado, they love every minute they spend documenting the relationships and connections of all the families they work with. Katie is also a member of the Pictage and ShootQ Community Team where she oversees the PUG program and works on The Photo Life Dispatch to develop business resources for photographers.

The NEW ShootQ is Complimentary while in Beta mode for the next few months.  Enjoy!
The NEW ShootQ is Complimentary while in Beta mode for the next few months.  Enjoy!