Posted by Jim + Ravyn Stadick on
In our first workflow post, we mentioned a bit about automating your workflow. The main point I was hoping to drive-home was: If you do anything more than once, you’re working too hard! This is especially true when it comes to managing your email! I don’t want it to come off like we’re so busy that we’re buried under a mountain of emails, but we use this system every day! It saves us so much time (and brain power, for that matter).
Within our email (I’m a Mac), we created multiple ‘signatures’ that act as pre-typed responses to the common emails we receive on a daily basis. We realized a few years ago that we were basically saying the same thing to each couple that was inquiring about a wedding, or when we were sending the gallery link once we shot the wedding. We kept finding ourselves going back through old emails to copy and paste our last response and then tweaking it a bit. It took way to much time & energy.
Since then, we’ve created about 15 ‘signatures’ we can choose from. These signatures cover everything from the initial inquiry response, to responding to a date we’re already booked, to payment notifications, to sending the client a thank you after all of our services are complete. To set up your own signatures, you’ll need to go to the preferences menu in Mail. Choose the account you’d like to add the signatures to and then type each response. Obviously, you’ll want to title them deliberately so you’ll be able to choose the proper response when it’s time to use them. Be sure you add an actual signature at the bottom with your contact information, etc. as you cannot apply 2 signatures to 1 email.
After you’ve created your responses, you’re ready to start using them. When you’re drafting an email, you can choose your signature (on the right side). This is where you’ll choose your response.
Reasons automating works & tips for implementing
Speed: It’s so important to respond to initial inquiries in a timely fashion. Obviously, if you pride yourself on excellent customer service, speed should be important to you. Making a potential client wait DAYS for a response, because you don’t have time to type the email, is unprofessional. It gives the impression that you’re hard to get in contact with!
Accuracy: If you are like me, your hands move faster than you’re brain when it comes to typing … Maybe it’s the other way around. Either way, I tend to make typos when sending emails, or Tweeting. Oh well … I’m only human. I’m sure there is at least 1 error in this post! By automating our email responses, I can ensure that the messages I’m sending contain the correct information & I’m not using ‘you’ when I should be using ‘your’ (spell check doesn’t catch those goof-ups).
Consistency: This is the biggest reason to automate your email responses!! I want to be sure I’m including all of the information a potential client needs to know, or the proper links to our blog, or the same layout for payment information. Before we set up these responses, we were having to go back through our email to see what information we included the last time. It was such a hassle. I would end up missing information and having to send a follow-up email (time waster). You’re guaranteed to have the info you need, every time.
Easy to customize: Even though we use these pre-typed responses, we add our own ‘flare’ to each one. We have a standard response to a wedding inquiry, however, we’re always sure to personalize the message. These responses wouldn’t mean much if they weren’t genuine … You can edit the signature right there in your email. It’s simple.
Hope this helps! If you have questions, just let us know. PS, even though we use Mac Mail, you can use this same technique in Outlook & Gmail! This same idea also works with other areas of our business: client meetings, client gifts, etc. Streamlining and recording the steps of your workflow will make you more efficient!