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Auto-Reply E-mails


I have an online business from which I sell downloadable products, basically the client pays through a shopping cart system and my website sends an e-mail with the download links.

The problem is I'm the only one administrating the transactions and when I sleep at night there are clients that have issues with the e-mails not being received, many times they have powerful spam software that rejects the e-mail that my site sends out to them. I can only become aware of these issues when I wake up the next day to read the angry e-mails they send me, often they try to dispute the transaction online because no one is answering them and they think they got scammed or something.

I was wondering if there was a way to create auto-reply message to e-mails that contain specific keywords (i.e: This mail is sent via contact form on www.mysite.com) at specific times of the day. This way at night when I'm asleep and they try to contact me, a response will be sent explaining that someone will get back to them at a specified time.

Would this be possible somehow, is there such a service?
2 Solutions
Jamie McKillopIT ManagerCommented:

You can create an auto-reply rule in Outlook that is based on keywords but there is no function to specify times when the rule will fire. I recommend you just create a generic auto-reply for every message that explains your hours of business and the length of time people can expect to wait for a reply. Something like:

"Thank you for your email. Our hours of operations are between 9am and 5pm EST. We will reply to your email within 24 hours."

I also recommend you add some text to your website, which lets your customers know that the download email may be blocked by spam filters and that they should whitelist your sending address.

Daniel McAllisterPresident, IT4SOHO, LLCCommented:
I'd like to echo what JJ says, with a little more information:

1) Your specific request is for there to be an automated system that takes over at a specific time and auto-replies to messages sent to your support email, but does not at other times.

For this to be fully automated, you would either have to have a client email program running 24/7, or it would have to be implemented on your mail server. (NOTE: Unless you host your own email, it is unlikely you'll get any help in this area from your mail server provider -- but it doesn't hurt to ask).

2) JJ's suggestion to auto-reply ALL OF THE TIME is, IMHO, an appropriate alternative... similar to an auto-response many of my financial and insurance people use to warn e-mailers that no transaction orders (or insurance binders) can be completed by e-mail alone.

I also like the idea of the website warning people to check their SPAM filters before complaining.

3) Depending upon the size of your business, it may be acceptable to you to simply leave your PC on and enable/disable your "out of office" message. (Unlike JJ, I won't assume you use Outlook and simply suggest you check your mail client for how to create your out-of-office reply.)

Good Luck!

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