Is there a semi-automatic program for replying to emails?
January 27, 2015 7:02 AM   Subscribe

My users fill out out a form that includes their name. It gets forwarded to my gmail account. I want to scan their email myself, then press a hotkey, and automatically generate one of ten replies (content based on the form fields) that includes their first name. Is there a piece of software that does this? If not, there's your startup idea.
posted by markcmyers to Technology (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You can do that sort of thing with MailChimp or other email marketing programs.
posted by xingcat at 7:14 AM on January 27, 2015

I'm assuming you are dismissing gmail's canned responses because it doesn't put in the name? It is free though if that is important.
posted by magnetsphere at 7:56 AM on January 27, 2015 [2 favorites]

You might want to try It provides some macro support.
posted by dogcow2015 at 9:05 AM on January 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

I use Streak for similar things. You can do a lot more than I use it for, so I'm not all up on the various features, but it's pretty great.
posted by HermitDog at 11:55 AM on January 27, 2015

Try Googling "marketing automation" and see if you find any useful services.
posted by Leontine at 11:55 AM on January 27, 2015

This is typically handled by CRM or CMS software which reads the form data the user submitted and sends templated "mail merge"-like e-mails back all on its own, without you ever needing to receive an e-mail or make a decision about how to reply. What software are you using to host your website/form? Drupal, Wordpress, Google Sites, or something more specialized? There is almost certainly a ready-made package you can install for low cost which can be easily configured to handle this, once we know what platform you're using someone will probably be able to point you directly at a solution.

If the fields you are looking at in order to decide which response to use are text boxes (as opposed to drop-down lists, checkboxes, &c) then it may be difficult to automate this process using software, but not totally impossible if what you're looking for are specific keywords that can unambiguously identify when to use one response over another.

If you really do need to read the form submission yourself in order to decide which reply to use or changing your website is too difficult or otherwise outside your scope, you may be able to automate your e-mail client. Outlook supports adding data to Access databases from e-mails you receive, then you can manually process new records and mail merge replies to send back through Outlook. Google Forms can push form submission data to Google Sheets, which you can then again mail merge back through Gmail with a script. I've automated PTO requests, invoice delivery, the early stages of collections, and various other things through Google Apps Script, there definitely IS a way to make your life easier!
posted by books for weapons at 12:20 AM on January 28, 2015

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