Manage your customer's expectation by setting up eDesk to auto-respond to any messages that arrive when your offices are closed for a holiday.

This help file will guide you through creating Out-Of-Office templates that will be sent automatically to customers during one-off office closures, such as during holiday periods.

Before you start

  • You’ll need to have access to Templates in your Settings in order to view, create and edit templates. If you don’t have access, you can request it from an Admin user within your business.  

Note: To find out about the other types of templates that eDesk supports, click here.

Out-Of-Office templates (OOO) are a type of auto-responder that instruct eDesk to reply automatically to messages that arrive during one-off office closures, e.g., during a national holiday.

For example, a customer sends your company a message on Christmas Day, but the office closed at 6pm on Christmas Eve and will not reopen until the 29th December.  If you have set up an OOO template for this holiday period, eDesk will immediately respond to the customer with a message that reads :

"Thanks for contacting Joe's Bikes! Just to confirm that we've received your message and that a member of our team will respond as soon as possible. Wishing you a very Happy Holiday from everybody at Joe's Bikes".

This message is pre-written as an OOO template and is set up to be triggered for any customer messages that arrive between 6pm on 24th December and 8am on 29th December.

You can use OOO templates to auto-respond to messages during any one-off time period when your team is unavailable to respond in person. Setting up OOO templates is easy - we'll show you how!

01 Creating Out-of-Office Templates

  1. To create a new OOO template from scratch, go to Settings → Smart Tools → Templates, click + Add Template, and select Out-of-Office from the menu.

    Pro-tip: You can also create a new template from a copy of an existing template by selecting the ellipsis at the top or the ellipsis in a row.  

  2. In the Template section, enter a unique name for the template.

    Note: Template Type isn’t used for OOO templates, so you can leave it unchanged.

  3. Click the Active Template checkbox to make the template active and therefore available for use. Inactive Out Of Office templates are not sent to customers by eDesk.

  4. In the Message and Language section, select the language and enter text, images, and hyperlinks into the Message field. For instructions on language and the use of snippets, click here.

    Note: You don’t need to populate the Subject field for OOO templates.

    Pro Tip: Within the message body, we recommend that you don't use phrases such as: "We are currently out of the office" or "Our office hours are....." Instead, use generic phrases such as "We have received your message and will be in touch." This approach protects your SLA in marketplaces that use detectors to discourage automated responses, which look for these key phrases and may not approve the message as a valid response to reset the SLA.

  5. Optionally, click the Attach Invoice checkbox to automatically attach the customer’s invoice to the auto-response.

  6. Optionally, complete the fields in the Usage Conditions section. Click here for a description of each field.  You can use these fields to tell eDesk to auto-respond with this template only for tickets that match these fields, e.g., tickets for a particular marketplace.

  7. Now that you have completed the General settings, you can set up the time periods for which eDesk will auto-respond to customers with this template.  

    Click the Out Of Office tab, and in the Date & Time Conditions - One-off section, click + Add date range.

    Set the date and time period for the OOO Template
    Set a date range by clicking the date fields and then selecting a start and end date from the calendars. 
    Set a start/finish time for the dates by clicking the time fields and then dragging the sliders horizontally to select the Hour and Minute. 
    For example, Active between November 24 at 6pm to November 29 at 8am. 

    Click + Add date range to add another date range for OOO auto-responses. 

  8. In the Autoresponder Options section:

    - Delay
    If you want your autoresponse to look like a human response, you can tell eDesk to delay sending this template for x minutes.

    Pro-tip: You can use this to prevent Amazon from detecting your message as an auto-response.

    - Frequency
    Set Frequency if you want to prevent eDesk from auto-responding with the same template to every message about the same ticket. For OOO templates, it is common practice to select Autoreply every single incoming message but you can also select a frequency, for example, once every 6 hours.

    - Exclude
    If you want to tell eDesk NOT to auto-respond with this template to messages from certain email addresses, enter them into the Exclude field, for example,, You can also exclude all email addresses from a certain domain by entering *, for example, *

    - Include the channel signature
    Tick this if you want to include the signature for the channel in the template.

    • Set a minimum delay for auto-responses. For example, if you set a minimum delay of 1, the eDesk will send the OOO template 1 minute after receiving the customer’s message. If you don’t set a minimum delay, eDesk will auto-respond immediately upon receipt of a message.

    • Optionally, if you want eDesk to send the auto-response at a random time, you can also configure the maximum delay field. In this case, if you set a minimum delay of 1 and a maximum delay of 4, then eDesk will auto-respond with this template between 1 and 4 minutes after it received the message.

  9. In the Misc section, you can instruct eDesk to change the status of the message to Waiting or Closed once it has auto-responded, or not to change the status at all. This does not change the status on the marketplace; once the auto-response is sent, the marketplace status will update as normal.

    Note: The AI Settings tab is not applicable to OOO templates - you can ignore it.

  10. Finally, click Create Template to save the new template.
    All done! The new template is added to the list in Settings → Smart Tools → Templates,  and will be sent by eDesk during the specified date/time periods (step 7) for tickets that match the Usage Conditions (step 6).

Further Readings

To find out how to create auto-responders for messages that arrive outside office hours, click here.

To learn more about Manual-Usage templates with eDesk, click here.