How to write awesome automated emails

I just got an email from Wufoo that is the perfect example of how to create a lovely user experience when receiving an automated email from a web app. In this quick post, I’ll show the email and explain why it’s so awesome.

Screenshot of Ryan's email client, Sparrow, with the email from Wufoo

Here’s the email from Wufoo …

Sorry friend! You sent a message to Wufoo No-Reply!

The message you just replied to was from Wufoo's mail server. That means you just emailed a machine (his name is Fred!) and probably not the intended recipient. You've got two options, but up front, we want you to know that the second one is better:

1) You can copy/paste the message you just wrote into a new email with the person you want to respond to in the To: field

OR

2) Set it up in Wufoo so that when you hit the reply button on our notification emails, that you automatically reply to an email address you're collecting on your form. You can set this up in the Notification Settings under the Set Reply To option.

Here's a link about that in the documentation: http://wufoo.com/docs/notifications

Hope that helps and if you need anything else, please let us know!

Love,
The Wufoo Team

Here’s why this email is great …

  1. Personal: Even though this email was generated by a chunk of code, it feels like it was actually sent by a human. Familiar terms like ‘Friend’, ‘Love’ and the informal style achieve this.
  2. Helpful: The email explains how to fix the problem and suggests the best course of action
  3. Pro-active: Wufoo didn’t wait for you to get frustrated and email their support team. They anticipated this problem and wrote the code to fire off the email.

No wonder these guys got snapped up for $35,000,000. They deserve every freaking penny.

Treehouse

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Comments

22 comments on “How to write awesome automated emails

  1. Treat the customer as a friend, not as a source of profit. You know, it’s funny, that this automated email make me smile about a subject that can become tedious and keep me interested in the reading. Also, I would like to know Fred!!

  2. So you get this response if your an admin of a wufoo form and you try and reply to a notification from wufoo? i assume its not what your form users see when they try and reply to a wufoo notification?, but very nice copy.

  3. So you get this response if your an admin of a wufoo form and you try and reply to a notification from wufoo? i assume its not what your form users see when they try and reply to a wufoo notification?, but very nice copy.

  4. While I agree that the message in question is far more useful than a standard email bounce message, any article that includes the phrase, “lovely user experience when receiving an automated email” needs to be shot in the head.

  5. Hello!!!

    This
    was a really great post. I will keep visiting here.

    Thanks
    for such a nice post.

    Jennifer

     Basement
    Flooding

  6. Hello!!!

    This
    was a really great post. I will keep visiting here.

    Thanks
    for such a nice post.

    Jennifer

     Basement
    Flooding

  7. I’m not sure if I well understood the scenario, but I would argue: since this is a common problem, and they found an elegant solution, why isn’t the “Set Reply To” already setup to address the most likely correct inbox?
    If you talk about customer satisfaction, it means that you have to reduce setup and configuration to minimum.