How soon before an autoresponder becomes necessary?
Thread poster: Nesrin

Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:44
English to Arabic
+ ...
Aug 2, 2010

I know it's an individual thing, but I've often wondered (with everyone now running around with Blackberries and the like, and clients expecting immediate responses) when freelancers find it necessary to set up an autoresponder.

When I'm out for a day (sometimes even when I'm away for the weekend), I never bother about autoresponders, but I can sense that - from the client's perspective - it's considered uncourteous if an email sent in the morning remains unanswered till the evening.

I'm not really thinking about the translation job in question here, that may be lost if we don't respond ASAP, just about the courtesy side of the question...

So- how do you handle autoresponders?
Thanks!

[Edited at 2010-08-02 18:57 GMT]


 

jacana54 (X)  Identity Verified
Uruguay
English to Spanish
+ ...
Weekends are weekends Aug 2, 2010



(sometimes even when I'm away for the weekend)



Oh, Nesrin, you're too perfect!

Weekends are mine! I don't expect the dentist to be available during the weekend, so why should I answer emails?

Of course, I may decide to work during a weekend if I want to, or I may arrange with a client to be available... but that is for me to decide, not because I owe it to anyone.

Even more, when I haven't arranged to be available, I will often put myself "invisible" in Gmail or not log into Skype.

I do set the auto-responder if I'm going to be away on weekdays and when setting it I also consider the situation of clients who may be 5 hours behind me or 12 hours ahead. Surely that is enough?

icon_smile.gif


 

Charlie Bavington (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:44
French to English
Business hours Aug 2, 2010

Nesrin wrote:
So- how do you handle autoresponders?
Thanks!

I try to remember to set an autoreply if I'm away from the desk for more than about an hour during business hours. I get offered a number of jobs with quite short turnaround (e.g. for the next morning) and under the circs, I think it is courteous to let the client know that, to allow maximum time for the job, they are best looking elsewhere.
And for the longer deadlines, about half the time, the job is still available if I want it when I return.
I don't set it at evenings or w/e, just at times when it is reasonable to expect a fairly prompt response.


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 05:44
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Two days Aug 2, 2010

Nesrin wrote:
So- how do you handle autoresponders?


I switch mine on when I'm going to be away from the computer for two days or longer (but not on weekends or long weekends). I know security people say you mustn't mention in your autoresponder how long you'll be away (thieves might use the information to break into your house safely), but I do just that -- I give clients a reason why I'm not there and I tell them when they can expect me to read their mail and answer it.


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 05:44
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
When you don't know how long you gonna be Aug 2, 2010

Charlie Bavington wrote:
I try to remember to set an autoreply if I'm away from the desk for more than about an hour during business hours. I get offered a number of jobs with quite short turnaround ... and under the circs, I think it is courteous to let the client know that, to allow maximum time for the job, they are best looking elsewhere.


In my case I often don't know exactly how long I'm going to be out. It may be 1 hour or it may be 4 hours. If I tell the client in my autoresponder that I'll get back to him in 4 hours, the client might take a fright and move on to the next translator on his list immediately. If I don't tell the client how long I'm going to be gone, then he'll probably wait for as long as he would have waited anyway, before moving on to the next translator on his list.

That said, whenever I get back home, I answer my mails immediately, and if I got lots of mails (so that I can't answer them all immediately), I sometimes send a confirmation to the client that I had received his mail and that I will respond to it within X number of minutes.


 

Charlie Bavington (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:44
French to English
I never specify Aug 2, 2010

Samuel Murray wrote:

In my case I often don't know exactly how long I'm going to be out.

For reasons not unrelated to your security concerns outlined earlier, I never say where I am or when I plan to be back. The message is just says I am not at my desk at the moment, and I'll reply to emails when I return. The main purpose really is to allow clients to look elsewhere for their rapid turnaround needs.


 

Roberto Lipani  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:44
Italian to English
+ ...
Autoreply settings Aug 2, 2010

Good evening to all,
I normally don't use the autoreply in my email. Of course, when there are many requests, it may be a good option to provide the Client a quick reply.
It depends on how we are used to. For example, as a part-time translator (I work in a Company as a translator too) I usually read the emails of the day in the afternoon, and try to reply to all the emails in the same day.
If I'd use the autoreply, it would be to thank people for contacting me, and saying the will receive a quote for the requested service as soon as possible".
I never provide information concerning to where I am or what I am doing, but always try to reply within a reasonable time (according to my work of course).
Thanks for giving the opportunity to share opinions

Regards

Roberto


 

Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 05:44
Member
Italian to English
Spam Aug 3, 2010

I have wondered about something for a long time - does using an autoresponder lead to an increase in the amount of spam received? Would automatically replying to a spam message not add my address to that spammer's address list, thus leaving me vulnerable to receiving more of the same?

I realise this may be a stupid question, but I'd be grateful for any clarification anyone can provide. Thanks.


 

Charlie Bavington (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:44
French to English
Haven't noticed Aug 3, 2010

Fiona Peterson wrote:

I have wondered about something for a long time - does using an autoresponder lead to an increase in the amount of spam received?


I haven't noticed any increase. If you're bothered, any half decent mail system lets you limit replies to only addresses already in your address book.


 

Tony Keily  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:44
Italian to English
+ ...
good question Aug 3, 2010

This question is close in some ways to the thread started by Ruth E. Bartlett a few days ago about iPhones and being available all the time, so excuse me if I stray a bit off topic.

Like Fiona, I work in Italy where everybody seems to have about three phones going all the time. Some agencies here get very ratty if you don't reply to mails within minutes. I also used to find myself hounded with follow-up calls asking me how I could possibly claim in writing not to be available for such interesting work. I've given away my mobile and taken the phone line out of my 'studio' for the summer but have had my six yr old son arrive, cordless in hand, saying "I think it's Aunty Mary and she wrote an email."

I find I am generally offered much more work than I can take on, and the time it takes to answer offers often adds up, even without the phone, to a significant chunk of my day. My solution is to check mail at certain times on working days (0900 -1030-1200-1500-1800) and keep replies short. It suits my best customers, although some agencies (including Aunty Mary) still find this behaviour very rude.

You can't be a translator and a receptionist at once. or at least I can't.


 

Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:44
German to English
Increase in spam Aug 3, 2010

Fiona Peterson wrote:
I have wondered about something for a long time - does using an autoresponder lead to an increase in the amount of spam received? Would automatically replying to a spam message not add my address to that spammer's address list, thus leaving me vulnerable to receiving more of the same?


Normally I send a message to my regular clientele if I'm going to be out of the office for more than a few days. I once set up an auto responder and the spam increased by several magnitudes for a while afterward.

I really don't care about missing the one-off job from an unknown inquirer.


 

Rebekka Groß (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:44
English to German
autoresponder - definitely/no increase in spam Aug 3, 2010

I started using the autoresponder only about a year ago having finally figured out how to :S

Now, I use it all the time if I'm out of the office for half a day or longer. I also let my main clients know when I'm on holiday though unless they have a vendor portal of some sort / or availability database and use those, the PMs simply forget who's on holiday when. Receiving an OOO reply prevents them from waiting for a reply that doesn't come for hours, days or even weeks.


 

Miranda Drew  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 05:44
Italian to English
autoreply doesn't cover all cases Aug 3, 2010

I think I should set an autoreply now, if i'm away from my desk more than a few hours. I work in Italy and I agree that agencies and clients expect you to always be connected. I had a private client which, after I had repeatedly told them that they should call me for urgent jobs instead of email me (as they had a tendency to email me things at 7pm, when I often logged off at 6.30), who sent me an urgent job on Friday at 9 pm, for Saturday at noon, did not check to see if I could even do the job or if I had received it, then called me on Saturday afternoon asking me where the job was. As that was a rare weekend I wasn't working, I actually hadn't turned on my computer yet that day (what a crime!) So I had to re-explain the concept that I wasn't always logged on.
This is a case where autoreply wouldn't help, unless I set it to "as it is now the evening/middle of the night/weekend/christmas day, I am not on my computer at the moment...."icon_smile.gif


 

Rebekka Groß (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:44
English to German
@Miranda Aug 3, 2010

Miranda Drew wrote:

I think I should set an autoreply now, if i'm away from my desk more than a few hours. I work in Italy and I agree that agencies and clients expect you to always be connected. I had a private client which, after I had repeatedly told them that they should call me for urgent jobs instead of email me (as they had a tendency to email me things at 7pm, when I often logged off at 6.30), who sent me an urgent job on Friday at 9 pm, for Saturday at noon, did not check to see if I could even do the job or if I had received it, then called me on Saturday afternoon asking me where the job was. As that was a rare weekend I wasn't working, I actually hadn't turned on my computer yet that day (what a crime!) So I had to re-explain the concept that I wasn't always logged on.
This is a case where autoreply wouldn't help, unless I set it to "as it is now the evening/middle of the night/weekend/christmas day, I am not on my computer at the moment...."icon_smile.gif


Why would autoreply not work in your case? I don't have to have my computer on because I can set this in Outlook Web Access, which my internet provider offers. If you set it on your computer that may be a different story. I never managed to get that to work in Outlook.


 


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