A fast response time is crucial in business today. Customers and potential buyers expect their questions or issues to be dealt with promptly – so responding swiftly demonstrates that you take customer service seriously. This can help improve customer satisfaction and increase loyalty.

Not only that, but according to a Twitter study on consumer interactions, the faster the response time, the more customers are willing to spend.

Using auto-replies is a great way to get back to people almost instantly, so they're not waiting around to hear from your business. This article explains in which situations it's appropriate to use them and how to set them up via SMS. You'll also find 12 automatic reply text message templates you can use to get started.

What is an auto-reply text?

Let’s first determine what an auto-reply is. It’s an automatic response to an incoming message, triggered by a specific condition or action. An example is the familiar out-of-office message you might get when emailing a colleague who's on vacation. In this case, the colleague sets up their vacation message to automatically send whenever a new email arrives.

So an auto-reply text is simply an automated text message. Like email autoresponders, auto-reply texts use technology to send automatic replies based on incoming messages that match a condition or rule. Such conditions can be basic or complex, depending on the type of message received from customers and the level of response required.

The importance of sending auto-reply text messages

Not all businesses can afford to stay online and available 24/7 with round-the-clock support. Automated messaging is a great alternative for providing customers with key information, or at the very least, a holding message until human-based support is available.

Here are some of the main benefits auto-reply texts can bring to your business:

  • Creates a good impression – an auto-reply message holds the attention of the person messaging your business. Sending a quick response could be what stops them from heading off to one of your competitors.

  • Makes customers feel valued – a fast reply gives importance to the person reaching out, ensuring they feel recognised and their voice has been heard. (Even more so if you include personalisation and address the sender by their name).

  • Can boost SMS response rates – if you send a holding text informing the customer what date and time you'll be getting back to them, they'll be ready to chat with you. This can lead to more effective conversations and potentially increase conversions!

  • Helps manage expectations – auto-replies are a subtle way of letting customers know that enquiries can't be handled at strange hours.

  • Reduces workload – auto-replies give you and your team a little breathing space to prioritise business-critical enquiries or complaints. And it means staff don't need to be online constantly to answer queries.

  • Saves time and money – if you can set up auto-replies effectively, you may not need to hire a 24/7 customer service team.

How can I set up an auto-reply for text messages?

Setting up automated response text messages for your business is simple when you use a reputable SMS provider (it's not something you can really do using your own phone or free tools as these aren't reliable or scalable).

With a professional business texting service, you can create and organise effective messaging flows for many types of situations – for example, when customers message you outside of office hours or after someone has booked an appointment. You can automate text responses based on specific conditions and time them perfectly to meet customer expectations and needs.

Plus, you can benefit from many helpful text messaging features. Take Messente, for instance – you can use the platform for collecting customer data and building different audience databases. And if you integrate it into your other business systems (e.g., ERP or CRM), you'll be able to access valuable customer data insights to provide accurate, automated responses. You can then create SMS autoresponder campaign templates in advance and add personalisation 'tags' which pull through data such as the person's name, a product they've purchased or an appointment time.

SMS software allows you to thoroughly test your autoresponse mechanism before it goes live, so you can avoid technical errors and glitches, such as message delivery failure or multiple auto-replies being sent to the same sender.

12 auto-response templates to benefit your business

To help you get started with SMS auto-response messages – and so you can see the scope of what you can do with them – we've put together 12 templates for different business communication scenarios. Feel free to use them when:

1. A new subscriber signs up for SMS updates

Hi [Name], thanks for subscribing! You'll be the first to know about new products and special offers. In the meantime, browse our latest additions: [URL]

Welcome aboard [Name]! We'll keep you updated by SMS to share our latest blogs, product tips and seasonal promotions. See what's new: [URL]

Example of onboarding text message

2. A customer texts you outside office hours

Thanks for getting in touch! Our offices are now closed, but rest assured your message is very important to us. We'll get back to you within 24 hours.

Hi [Name], we've safely received your message, and one of our friendly team will respond tomorrow. In the meantime, you may find our FAQs helpful: [URL]

3. A customer complains about a delay

Hello [Name], please accept our apologies for the delay with your order. Our customer support team are looking into this for you. Hold tight for an update.

We're sorry we've not yet managed to resolve your complaint. Please bear with us while we investigate the matter. We'll be in touch within the next 24 hours.

4. Someone books an appointment

Hi [Name], just to confirm that your dentist appointment is on [Date] at [Time]. Please arrive 5 mins before to complete some health forms.

Thanks for booking a hair colour and cut appointment on [Date] at [Time]. We're looking forward to seeing you. Need to rearrange? Click here: [URL]

5. You need to remind a client about their appointment

Hi [Name], this is a courtesy reminder about your car servicing appointment on [Date] at [Time]. Please drop your keys at our service desk upon arrival.

Just a reminder that your beauty treatment is at [Time] on [Date]. Prepare to feel pampered!

6. You want customer feedback after delivery

Hey [Name], we hope you're enjoying your new [Product]. Your feedback could help other customers. Could you complete a quick text survey? Reply Y or N.

Hi [Name], we hope we resolved your query the other day. Please help us improve our service by telling us how we did. Take survey: [URL]

Example customer feedback text

7. Your support team is experiencing high traffic

Thanks for submitting a help request [Name]. You've been placed in a queue, and our support team will be in touch asap.

Hi [Name], thanks for reaching out! Our support team is currently busy, but you should hear from someone within 3-4 hours.

8. You've just shipped out an order

Great news! We've just shipped your order [Name]. Input your order ref: [Number] to view delivery status online: [URL]

It's on its way! Your order ref: [Number] has now been dispatched. Use this link to track its progress: [URL]

9. A customer needs help with a common issue

Some autoresponders can carry out entire conversations via text chatbots. Here's an example of one that answers a back-in-stock question and cross-sells similar products:

Customer: Hi, can you tell me when the yellow wireless keyboard and mouse combo is back in stock?

Chatbot: Hi, thanks for getting in touch. Are you enquiring about the 9152 Retro Round Button Yellow Wireless Keyboard and Mouse bundle?

Customer: Yes.

Chatbot. Thanks! This item will be back in stock on [Date]. Did this answer your question?

Customer: Yes, thanks.

Chatbot: Great! Before you go, you might like [Similar Product]. See it here: URL

10. A customer leaves a review

Hi [Name]. Thank you for leaving a positive review about [Product]. We're so pleased you're happy with your purchase.

Hi [Name], we're sorry that our service didn't match your expectations on this occasion. We'll take your feedback on board. We hope to help you in the future.

11. A potential buyer abandons their shopping cart

Hey [Name], you've got great taste! Don't forget to complete your purchase before [Date] to qualify for free shipping. Check out now: [URL]

Still mulling it over, [Name]? We'll hold the items in your basket for 48 hours. Don't wait too long – this deal won't last forever! [URL]

12. A customer's payment doesn't go through

Urgent! We were unable to take payment from your card ending in [Digits]. Please check with your banking provider. We'll attempt payment again in 24 hours.

Oops! Your payment didn't go through. This could be a system glitch, or you may have insufficient funds in your account. Please try again: [URL]

Example payment failure text message

Using automated text messages for your business

Setting up auto-reply messages for specific communications will save hours of time on manual tasks and improve the customer experience. They can make customers and prospects feel valued, manage expectations and help with retention. You could even save money over the long term by not having to offer human-based 24/7 support.

An SMS provider will help you get started with sending automated response text messages. You can create them for many types of workflows and conversations. Use our templates above to increase engagement and interactions with your business.

Did you know you can explore Messente for free to see how business text message campaigns work? Create an account today.