If you use Outlook online as your email provider, you might have noticed the option for an auto-response in some of your emails. You won’t see them in all of your emails and I’m not sure of the exact criteria that prompt the suggestions, but here’s a look at some I received during an exchange with my writing partner. My three options were listed in boxes at the bottom of a reply to an email I’d send.

responses-outlook.jpg

The options offered in this case were “Let me know if you can help.” “Let me know if you need help,” and “Just let me know what you think.” Your choices will vary depending on the content of the messages. These messages are scanned by automation looking for particular phrases, not by individuals reading your mail. (Before you get too excited the same thing is happening if you’re using Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, or just about anyone else.) They’re designed to be timesavers, freeing you up from writing standard responses.

responses-outlook-pick.jpg

To pick a response, just click on it.

click-response.jpg

The response will be inserted into your reply message.

response-inserted.jpg

If you feel the choices don’t work, click on Report inappropriate text.

inappropriate.jpg

You can then explain the issue. This will help the automation get smarter and learn to compose better responses based on your needs.

inappropriate-explain.jpg