No, I'm not saying you're in any danger by using an autoresponder... at least, not (to quote Jack Nicholson) "grave danger, is there any other kind?" But you are definitely in danger of running off perfectly good clients, prospects and referring agents.
I send out newsletters every week or so to several thousand real estate agents around the world. Every time one goes out, I'm slammed with autoresponders. And, my friends, I love y'all, but most of them are awful. I don't mind the ones that tell me you're on vacation (have a wonderful time!) or that you've experienced a family crisis (hugs) or are at a convention, but many are so bluntly written that I feel an initial shock when reading it. Call me hypersensitive, but when I receive an autoresponded message back that informs me you're busy and will return my email at such and such a time, I feel a little miffed. Oh, sure, intellectually, I realize it has nothing to do with my importance in your life, but like I said, I always feel a little twinge when I read it. And I tell ya - thousands of my readers don't have autoresponders, and I'm never emotionally offended by NOT getting an auto-response!
I got one yesterday from someone I'd sent a "real" email to (not a newsletter). It was apparently generated by the person's SPAM filter and sternly advised me to resend my message so that it would get thru this time. Uh, you're kidding, right? I'm going to fish through my SENT folder to find the message and resend it? Well, maybe if I have time later, and remember to do it (I haven't yet).
But the worst one I've ever seen came today. Again, from a SPAM filter program:
Hello Jennifer Allan,
This message serves as notification that you will not receive any more courtesy notices from our members for two days. Messages you have sent will remain in a lower priority queue for our member to review at their leisure.
Future messages will be more likely to be viewed if you are on our member's priority Guest List.
(signed by the guy who received my newsletter)
About this Notice
This courtesy notice is part of a free service to make email more reliable and useful. Boxbe (www.boxbe.com) uses your existing social network and that of your friends to keep your inbox clean and make sure you receive email from people who matter to you.
Say Goodbye to Email Overload
If you use an autoresponder, why not send yourself an email today and see what it says. If it's anything other than warm and inviting, change it, or get rid of it. In all likelihood, it's really not necessary to have at all...