Whenever asked, one of the greatest business/entrepreneur tools I shout from the rooftops is the out-of-office responder for email. Not only does provide immediate info to those who email me, announcing my unavailability, for how long, and when I’ll return – it also saves my sanity by allowing my responsibilitarian brain to rest knowing my inbox will be there when I return to work and that everyone already knows when they’ll hear back from me. Win! Win! So, why hasn’t Apple figured out that we need a out-of-office responder for text messages?
For years, I’ve bemoaned the lack of ability I have to turn on a vacation responder for text messages. I mean, c’mon Apple. Our iphones aren’t only used for personal texts and calls and emails! We use iPhones for business, too! And yes, having the “no text while driving” auto-responder activated is handy, but why don’t we have an option to do this when pool or beachside while on vacation?
Here’s the deal… Professionals really have an uphill battle on all things communication related these days, don’t we? We get messages by text, voicemail, email, Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, and all the apps and places in between. But when a client emails me, that message sits in my inbox, which I check regularly, and I will respond to each and every one when I’m on working hours.
If someone texts, it’s bound to be buried in a sea of personal messages or otherwise. I have to actively (& constantly) remember that text exists, or put it on my to-do list (which is difficult during a meeting, on vacation, or if I’m driving), or physically email it to myself so I remember later when I’m at my office. That’s why I consider text messages a semi-urgent, if not very urgent way of communicating with me professionally.
It’s rare, but marketing emergencies do happen on occasion. But in my opinion, texting should usually be left to more time sensitive issues, questions, or needs. (My cleints are welcome to do it, if needed, of course!)
One thing I always do when on vacation, is not only turn on my email out-of-office vacation responder, I turn off my emails completely, removing the inboxes from my phone. This little trick prevents me from checking every so often, or sifting through work emails while I’m supposed to be recharging. But unless I completely remove iMessage from my phone, or turn off my icloud account, I can’t remove texts, and even if I did, people would think I got their text with the possibility of offense if I don’t respond right away.
So, I reached out to an app developer to see if they could create an auto-responder app for my text messages. No dice. Apparently, even if they got it to work, Apple would likely reject it from being in the app store. Crap.
Then I had a thought: I’ll submit a feature request to Apple and cross my fingers they think it’s a brilliant idea, too!
Here’s what I messaged them:
I have wanted a text message auto-responder for years and have looked for apps but have not found any. I even contacted an app developer, but have not been successful. Because I use my phone for business, when I’m on vacation or traveling for work, I’d like my clients to receive a text response so I don’t feel tethered to my phone. Currently, the iphone “Do Not Disturb” auto-reply is only available while driving. Why can’t we have this anytime? It would be great to have a date range for when the auto-responder will go out to persons who text – just like the Google Mail Vacation Responder, although a subject line wouldn’t be required. I’m so surprised Apple hasn’t thought of this & I’d love to know if it’s something you could do in a future update?
Here’s where I sent it: http://apple.com/feedback
If you are like me and you would love this feature, too, please click that link and copy and paste my message and let’s get some mass movement around this feature.
Until then, I’ll continue doing my best responding to client texts in as timely a manner as I possibly can. And, if you text and don’t hear back, please don’t be offended. Help me help you by just emailing your message to me. I promise, I will respond from my inbox as soon as humanly possible.
Gratefully and together, ~ Jamie
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