Where canned responses come from, and why you should avoid using them.
"The Laff Box" invented by Charley Douglass
Canned responses are related to canned laughter, A solution to the unpredictable volume of live audiences on US television during the 1960's
TV Producers gained control over how funny or not they wanted the Joke to be. This developed with sound clips of individuals chuckling or general background audience noise.
Bring it to the here and now
Canned responses are featuring in email clients and more recently in customer service apps.
Predetermined responses executed by customer service teams get sent out with guides on how customers can go about resolving their problems.
For issues like password resets and other common support requests, this method is efficient and can be handy!
But, canned responses have also arrived in service notification emails and the status page. When something goes down, email inboxes flood with automated spam. They often contain un-informative messages such as, “We’re investigating reports of an issue”
Readers are now curious and could end up creating their own support request to ensure its reported.
When I read updates like these, I check twitter to see if anyone else is having the same problem. Office workers could interrupt their colleagues to check the same thing.
Either way the outage together with its canned response can often become a negative talking point.
The human touch shows you're taking things seriously
Avoid the laughter box and opt for a human response, such as “We know you are having problems logging in. We are fixing this now. Please check back for progress."
Your reader is human and now your response is too.