Two essential auto-responses to streamline engagement

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Textline's automations feature can do many things, but it's most often used to set up auto-responses. There are two categories of auto-responses almost every organization can use to keep customers satisfied:

  1. a welcome message that's automatically sent in response to a customer's very first inbound text, and

  2. an after-hours message that's automatically sent to customers who text outside of business hours.

Read on to learn how to configure these auto-responses. (Note that Textline users must have admin privileges to do so.)

Setting up a welcome message auto-response

A welcome message assures your customers that they've texted the right number and can also set expectations. For example:

Thanks for texting Nightingale Security. Someone will be with you shortly. (Typical response time is 5 minutes during business hours.)

To configure a welcome message, go to Messaging Tools > Automations. If your Textline account has multiple departments, choose the department associated with your main phone number. (You can repeat this process for each department as needed.)

Create a new automation with the following settings:

  • Title: Welcome message auto-response (The title is only visible to you and your team.)

  • Automation type: Message Received

  • Department: Choose one if your Textline account has multiple departments, as mentioned earlier.

  • Meet ALL of the following conditions: First message ever received

  • Meet AT LEAST ONE of the following conditions: No conditions set (You can use this to configure more complicated automation logic.)

  • Actions: Send a message (Type your welcome message here. Texting etiquette suggests that your message length should be 160 characters or less, although you can go over 160 if you must.)

Checkbox settings:

  • Prevent lower priority automations from sending messages: Check this box to prevent other automations in the same department from sending messages immediately after this message.

  • Suppress agent notifications and wait time warnings: Check this box if your team does not plan to respond to the customer after this auto-response is sent.

  • This message counts towards metrics calculations: Check this box if you want your auto-response to be counted along with responses by your agents when calculating metrics, such as your team's average time to respond to customers. Otherwise, Textline will consider this customer still waiting for a response until someone on your team sends a response. (Our recommendation: leave this unchecked for your welcome message, and checked for your after-hours message.)

Setting up an after-hours auto-response

An after-hours auto-response tells your customers that someone will get back to them during business hours. For example:

Thanks for texting Nightingale Security. We're out of the office right now. We'll get back to you during normal business hours, M-F, 9am to 5pm Pacific Time.

Configuring a basic after-hours auto-response is similar to the welcome message we configured above. (We'll visit some more advanced settings later.)

Create a new automation with the following settings:

  • Title: After-hours auto-response (only visible to your team)

  • Automation type: Message Received

  • Department: Choose one.

  • Meet ALL of the following conditions: Current time is not within 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday (select your business hours and local timezone)

  • Meet AT LEAST ONE of the following conditions: No conditions set

  • Actions: Send a message (Type your after-hours message here.)

Advanced automation conditions

While setting up automations, you probably noticed additional conditions you can use to fine tune your auto-responses. Perhaps your team does sometimes respond to texts outside of business hours. You likely want Textline to avoid sending auto-responses to anyone engaged in an ongoing conversation regardless of the current time. You can add one or more additional conditions to your automations to prevent interruptions.

One way to determine that a conversation is active is if someone on your team has claimed that conversation in Textline. Another way is to check if someone on your team has sent a message to a particular customer within the past 15 minutes or so. You can combine these conditions so that your after-hours auto-response will only be sent when all three of these conditions are met:

  1. the current time is not within business hours,

  2. the conversation is not assigned to anyone (it hasn't been claimed by or transferred to any agents),

  3. and we last sent a message to this contact more than 15 minutes ago.

You can get even more advanced using conditions to check if any agents are available, or by checking your contacts for specific tags. If your Textline account employs an especially creative automation or auto-response, text us about it!

Further reading

If your company wants to add text messaging to your customer service or sales software stack, test out a free trial or just text us at +1 (415) 849-4349.