How to add a vacation responder when you are away
Planning a vacation? Create a vacation responder to automatically reply to your private emails while you're gone.
Vacation responders are for individual inboxes only. See this article on how to create an out-of-office reply for shared inboxes.
How it works
At your specified Start time, any inbound message sent to the channel you've selected in your vacation responder's settings will begin receiving your vacation responder's message as a reply, once every 4 days at most. The vacation responder will automatically stop sending after your specified End time. If needed, you can toggle off the vacation responder at any time to pause it.
If you have multiple private channels, you can select more than one channel in your vacation responder's settings, or you can create separate vacation responders for different channels.
Click the gear icon on the top right of Front and into the Personal settings tab. Select Vacation responders in the sidebar, then Add a vacation responder.
Fill out the fields:
- Name: The name will not appear anywhere on the recipient's end.
- Start time: Select the date and time you'd like the vacation responder to start sending replies.
- End time: Select the date and time for the last day you want to vacation responder to trigger. If left blank, the vacation responder will run indefinitely.
- Enable: Select the channels the vacation responder should apply to.
- Only send to contacts: Toggle on if you only want the vacation responder to be sent to people in your contacts.
- Text box: Write the contents of your vacation responder. You can also use variables that will be replaced dynamically.
Why isn't my vacation responder working?
A vacation responder may fail to reply to messages. There are some reasons why this might happen:
- The inbound message was auto-generated. Front will not send any auto-responses to auto-generated messages.
- That recipient received your vacation responder message within the last 4 days. Front will only your send vacation responder to a recipient at most once every 4 days.
- The inbound message was not addressed directly to your channel. For example, if email@example.com is my mail email address (and the channel connected to Front), emails sent directly to firstname.lastname@example.org should generally receive vacation responder messages. If email@example.com is an alias of firstname.lastname@example.org, emailing help@ will deliver messages to Front via my support@ channel, but no vacation responder messages will be sent.
Similarly, if I receive messages via a distribution list, those emails will be addressed to the distribution list, and not my channel, so while I will receive those messages in Front, no vacation responder will be sent.
What about my availability status?
In addition to setting up a vacation responder before going on vacation, you should also set yourself to Out of Office status so that any conversations you're assigned to will become unassigned if customers write to you; that way, your teammates can handle these conversations. However, if you have a shift set up, then an admin must remove you from the shift and add you back when you return. Otherwise, your shift will automatically set your status to Available during your shift time, even if you've manually set to Out of Office.
Is there any way to add a signature to the auto replies? I would have assumed the default signature would be used, or that the signatures would be variables that were available within the reply templates. But neither of those things seem to work.
Cam Hi there,
Currently, signatures aren't included in auto-replies because there's no way to know who the sender is.
Hi Cori Morris . The Individual responses are set per user. So surely then there should be a signature. No?
Cam When you send from a team inbox, it could be anyone from the team. So, there's no way to know who is sending.
Cori Morris I'm using the "Me > My Responses > Vacation responders" setting. So the system does know who the sender is.
Cam Oh, a vacation responder. Sorry, I thought you meant an auto-reply via rules. Same goes with the vacation responders. You'll need to input a signature in the responder because our signatures aren't linked to these yet.
Cori Morris Sorry about the confusion. I tried adding a signature to the responder, but it sent as raw text instead. How would one usually go about adding the signature?
Cam There's no way to use HTML in vacation responders right now.
Cori Morris I thought that might be the case. Thanks. It would be great if there was an option to switch your default signature on or off on your vacation responders.
Cam Agreed! I will share this request with our product team. Thanks!
Cori Morris Awesome. Thanks Cori!
Hi Cori Morris is it possible to set an out of office responder for the whole team (for example when it is a public holiday) rather than having to have everyone mark themselves as unavailable before the rule works? Thanks!
Marilia Salvia-Teixeira You can set a team auto responder by creating a team rule. The rule can follow a structure that looks like this "WHEN inbound message, IF inbox is X + day is saturday and sunday, THEN reply with - auto reply"
Has there been any progress on adding a feature that allows setting a signature/From name for vacation responders or Rule auto replies? Also, when sending a reply via a rule, it is adding a 2nd "Re:" to the subject line, so it says "Re: Re: Subject". Why is this?
SPG We have not made any progress on this yet. It is on our roadmap, though. Regarding the "Re:" addition to the subject line, it appears we prepend our own without checking the existing subject. I'll share this feedback with the team.