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Out-of-office text messages: Best practices and templates

Alia Paavola
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In today's fast-paced business world, timely communication is essential. Customers expect prompt replies and slow response times can lead to lost sales and dissatisfaction. That's where out-of-office text messages come in. They are a vital tool for businesses and professionals who use texting as a communication channel.

Out-of-office (OOO) texts serve several purposes. OOO texts inform customers you’re currently unavailable, provide estimated response times, and offer alternative ways to get in touch. In addition, they help improve the customer communication experience when you’re away or your business is closed. Whether you use SMS for customer service, sales, logistics, or marketing, leveraging OOO texts is highly beneficial.

In this article, you’ll learn how to create effective out-of-office text messages.  We'll provide templates, real-life examples, and explore automation options for managing these messages seamlessly.

How to write an effective out-of-office text

When creating an out-of-office text message, ensure it includes the following key elements:

  • Unavailability timeframe. Clearly state the period you'll be away or unavailable.
  • Explanation. Briefly explain why you're away to set expectations.
  • Realistic response timeline. Give customers an estimated timeframe for when they can expect a response.
  • Contact information. If applicable, share contact details for more immediate assistance.

Here are some additional  tips for writing helpful OOO texts:

  • Keep it brief. OOO messages should be short and to the point, conveying the necessary information in a few short sentences.
  • Maintain professionalism. Out-of-office messages should have a professional tone. Avoid distasteful jokes, be overly informal, or imply you’re happy to be away.
  • Make response times achievable. Don’t tell customers you’ll respond in 24 hours if you cannot reply within that time frame. Set realistic expectations to keep customers happy.
  • Be clear. Indicate your return date, when customers can expect a response and alternative options for immediate assistance.

Setting out-of-office texts on auto-pilot

Out-of-office text messages are a form of automated texting. They’re simple to set up when you use a business SMS platform like Textline. Let’s look at a few of the OOO automations you could trigger.

Immediate automation

Most out-of-office texts are considered automatic replies. Like an email vacation responder (when someone texts you or your business while you're away), an automated message is immediately sent. You can set up auto-responses for various scenarios, such as:

  • Outside of business hours
  • When your business is closed 
  • During your vacation
  • When you’re away from your desk for an extended period of time

Timed automation

Timed automated texts trigger at specific scheduled times or after a designated amount of time elapses. You could use these automations to schedule message content while you’re away. For example:

  • Sending bill pay reminders 
  • Generating invoices
  • Conducting Text message surveys
  • Providing  helpful content to nurture leads

Event-triggered automation

Event-based automations trigger texts after a particular event occurs. This type of automation allows you to respond to specific customer actions. For example:

  • Sending an automated text after a customer attempts to call you
  • Responding to a lead who fills out a contact request form
  • Notifying a customer after a purchase
  • Reaching out to someone who signs up for a free trial
  • Sending a reminder to a customer who abandons their cart

While OOO texts primarily function as auto-replies, you can use these automation options to engage with customers while you're away.

10 out-of-office text templates

Check out ten out-of-office text templates you can easily customize to meet your business and professional needs. 

After-hours text templates

Use these text templates to notify customers that they have reached you outside regular business hours. It is considered good practice to inform them about your operating hours and let them know when they can expect a response.  

Hi, thanks for contacting [Business]! Our hours are [Time] to [Time] Monday-Friday. We’ll get back to you in [Time Frame].

Hi, [Business] here! We’re closed for the day but will be open tomorrow at [Time]. You can expect a response within [Time Frame].

Hi, thanks for contacting [Business] 😁 Our text support desk is managed from [Time] to [Time] M-F. Our team will reply as soon as we can during those hours.

Holiday OOO text templates

Use these text templates to let customers know your business is closed for various holidays. Inform them about when you’ll be back in the office.

Hi there! [Business] is closed on [Date] in observance of [Holiday]. We’ll be back [Date] and ready to help.

Happy Holidays! [Business] is closed for [Holiday]. We’ll be open on [Date] at [Time]. Please schedule an appointment for when we return here: [Link]

Vacation responder text templates

Use these text templates when you’re on vacation. This will help you take time off to recharge, but let your contacts know who to contact while you’re gone.

Thanks for your text! I’m OOO until [Date] on vacation. For urgent matters, please contact my colleague [Name] at [Phone Number].

Sorry I missed you! I’m on vacation. I’ll be back [Date] to respond to your message. For more immediate help, contact the support line at [Phone Number].

Thanks for reaching out! I’m vacationing in [Location]. 🌴 I’ll be back [Date] and will reply as soon as possible. Contact [Name] at [Number] for immediate help.

Short-term OOO text templates

Use one of these text templates to let your contacts know you’re not checking business messages for a while. Use these if attending a work event, medical appointment, or conference.

Thanks for your message! I’m away from my desk until [Time] today for [Reason]. I’ll respond by the end of the day.

Thanks for your message. I’m at a conference learning about [Topic]. I’ll be slower to respond than normal, but you can expect a reply by [Time].

Need more inspiration? Check out 15 more auto-reply text message templates for business.

8 out-of-office text examples

Let’s take a look at some real examples of out-of-office text messages.

1. Outside of business hours 

Tiny Toys lets customers know they’re closed for the day in this OOO message example. The company clearly states its business hours.

An after-hours text message example.
An after-hours text message example from Tiny Toys.

2. Text support hours ended 

In this out-of-office text, Goldbelly immediately lets the customer know they texted outside support hours and when to expect a response. Plus, it requests an order number to speed up the support request.

An example of an outside-of-support-hours text message.
An example of an outside-of-support-hours text message from Goldbelly.

3. Holiday closure

In the following example, a staffing agency describes it’s closed for the holiday season. It clearly tells customers when to expect a response.

A holiday closure out-of-office text example.
A holiday closure out-of-office text example.

4. Vacation message

In this out-of-office text message example, a real estate agent tells clients she’s on vacation and won’t reply for a few days.

A vacation responder out-of-office text example.
A vacation responder out-of-office text example.

5. Conference OOO message

This text example tells customers that the person they’re trying to contact is attending a conference. This helps set expectations that they’ll be slower to respond during this time. 

A conference OOO text example.

6. Short-term OOO message

This is a great out-of-office text message example for when you’re away for a shorter period of time. It lets contacts know to expect a reply that same day, just later than usual.

A short-term out-of-office text example.
A short-term out-of-office text example.

7. After an unanswered phone call

In this text example, a business professional tells contacts why he didn’t answer the phone by sending an OOO text.

An out-of-office text example after a phone call.

8. Promoting social media

In this example, a business professional urges contacts to connect on LinkedIn for a faster reply while OOO.

An OOO text example promoting social media.

Send out-of-office texts and more with Textline

Textline makes sending and automating out-of-office messages simple. Our secure SMS platform enables you to easily set up and automate OOO messages, ensuring timely responses and improving the overall communication experience for your contacts.

Textline is a robust SMS platform that ensures timely responses and makes communicating with your business contacts easier.  

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