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What is a canned response? - The ultimate guide with examples

Canned responses or quick replies can skyrocket sales’ and customer agents’ productivity by helping them save time & eliminate mindless, repetitive work
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Picture this: You’re at a party thrown by a friend. They go around, introducing you to the other guests. 

And you find yourself answering this same, dreaded question over and over again.

And of course, your standard small-talk response is: “Thanks! I am well, and you?”

You do this thrice, six times, then ten, before it starts getting to you. 

You almost want to stick a post-it on your shirt with the answer. So that the next time someone asks you this, you can simply point to it and save your breath. 

Now, imagine the plight of people who do this everyday — answer the same questions over and over again — not at a party but at work. People like sales or support agents.

Wouldn’t it be one of the most boring, frustrating, and even soul-crushing ways to spend one’s working hours?

Luckily, someone seemed to understand this and came up with a digital version of your party post-it — a canned response.

What is a canned response?

A canned response is a quick, standard, and predetermined reply to a routine question. 

Canned responses are typically used for answering frequently asked questions (FAQs) related to sales, customer service & support, or product. 

They are true saviors especially when dealing with a high volume of repetitive questions that require prompt and accurate responses. 

Pro-tip: Don’t confuse canned responses with auto-responses (even though canned responses can often be automated). This is because auto-responses are largely terse and impersonal while canned responses can be highly descriptive and personalized.

Aside from reducing frustration for both the parties in a conversation, canned responses can have a number of other benefits for businesses.

Advantages of canned responses for businesses

The major advantages of using canned responses for business are:

  1. Faster response times. If customer support agents were professional typists, they could easily churn out responses of up to 70 words per minute. Using canned responses, however, can shave this time off to well under 10 seconds. Faster response times for agents translates into lower waiting times and a higher happiness quotient for clients.
  1. Customer satisfaction. As response times reduce, customer satisfaction increases. In a Hubspot survey of nearly 300 people, 69% said that the main reason why they were impressed with the customer experience was because the service team was quick to respond. Consumer satisfaction is crucial because most consumers are eager to spend more money with companies that deliver positive customer experiences. Currently, the global customer service satisfaction rate is 77%
Recommended reading: Eleven shortcuts for every service team to resolve customer issues at lightning speed
  1. Better quality and accuracy of information. Most businesses want to send out quality communication and maintain a good brand image at all times. In the absence of canned responses, agents have to draft ad-hoc responses instantly and are thus more likely to make mistakes including inconsistencies in information, grammatical errors, and typos which can sour the quality of the customer’s experience.
  1. Higher agent productivity. Canned responses help reduce the repetitive, manual work of typing the same text again and again. As a result, agents save a lot of time. Further, as they rely on canned responses, the average time taken to respond to a customer query decreases. They can handle more service requests in the same amount of time, thus skyrocketing their productivity.  
  1. Personalization. Contrary to popular perception, canned responses can be customized to include personalized information that makes the customer feel seen, heard, and valued. Customers are often more willing to buy from a company that offers personalized experiences. Hence, a good canned response is one that doesn’t sound canned at all. 
  1. Scalability. One of the biggest benefits of using canned responses is that it gives a business the superpower of scale. Unattended customers are unhappy customers. Canned responses can be tweaked to alter personal details. Yet, they don’t require the strategic investment of time and energy that would go into dealing with many customers facing the same issue individually. 
  1. Control (over brand voice and tone). Lastly, choosing canned responses gives a business the opportunity to incorporate the brand voice and tone into messages, emails, and other communication channels. This makes canned responses consistent with the rest of the brand’s communication.

If you are in a customer-facing marketing, sales, or support role, or have a team that is, you should definitely consider using canned responses to accelerate your productivity.

Where should you use canned responses?

Canned responses are versatile. You can use them in various ways and for various purposes, for example, in emails, chats, and messages. Some of the most common uses of canned responses are in:

  1. Sales outreach emails. You can templatize your cold sales outreach emails to prospective customers and add fields such as {first-name} or {last-name} for personalization. You can even create a canned response with a meeting link/contact details/pre-recorded demo video that goes out to prospects as soon as they sign up on your website or express interest in being contacted.
  1. Recruitment emails. Canned responses can scale easily to meet your recruitment needs, especially when you’re hiring aggressively and looking at getting in touch with multiple candidates for various roles. You can create templates for outreach emails, feedback emails, acceptance emails, and rejection emails to speed up workflows.
  1. Social media pages. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok—they’re not just places to entertain ourselves anymore. They’re also how your customers find you and get in touch with you to ask questions, raise issues, and if you’re lucky, shower compliments. To get more compliments than criticism, make sure you’ve canned responses for the most common questions asked on your social media channels and for dealing with the trolling that is sometimes part of the job. 
Recommended reading: How to use canned responses for social media support—a complete guide
  1. Customer service emails. Creating canned and automated responses for common customer issues, such as quality and performance issues in products; requests for returns, exchanges, refunds; questions around pricing and warranties etc. can drastically improve agent response time and customer success KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). 
  1. Live support chats. Most live support chats follow a prescribed series of steps broadly including greeting a customer, enquiring about their problem, providing more information or offering an immediate solution, and ending the chat. While it is easier to repeat the same thing verbally to more than one customer, typing takes a lot more time. This is avoidable because each of these steps can be templated using canned responses.

How to use canned responses for customer services & support

Now that you know where all canned responses come in handy, here are some best practices on how to use canned responses for customer support:

  1. Recognize FAQs. You cannot have answers ready for questions you haven’t come across. So the first thing to do when creating canned responses is to extract FAQs about your product or service from email, chat, and phone logs. Once you have a directory of FAQs, you can easily draft appropriate replies for them.
  1. Create routine answers for FAQs. Customer service teams should not waste their day answering the same questions from scratch over and over again. You can create a central repository, or a knowledge base, for reps where they can store routine answers and fetch them at their fingertips, when needed.
  1. Be precise as well as concise. The German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, said,  “It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what others say in a whole book.” This is a great attitude to have in a customer support team. Customers don’t want to spend hours talking to a support rep for an issue. They want clear, actionable information and quick resolutions which can best come by using short and to-the-point canned responses.  
  1. First templatize, then personalize. Canned responses don’t have to be formal, robotic, and monotonous. You can personalize them by adjusting their voice and tone and leaving room for custom variables such as the first and last names of your customers. This is important because 90% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a brand that provides personalized experiences and 72% of consumers say they only engage with personalized messaging.
  1. Keep CTAs handy. Want to make your canned responses more effective? Use a CTA (Call To Action) to help customers understand what the next course of action is and arrive at the right solution much faster. Some examples include: 
  • How may we help you? (Prompting them to describe the problem)
  • Please provide an email address and phone number for us to contact you
  • Please click on the link to learn more about the offer
  1. Organize canned responses. Organizing canned responses not just helps an agent retrieve them faster when needed but can also come in handy when canned responses need to be modified or updated. You can choose to organize canned replies under some common categories such as Greetings, Apologies, Feedback, Announcements, Offers, and others. 
  1. Monitor and update canned replies from time to time. If you think you can rest easy once you’ve created a bunch of canned replies for all possible FAQs, we’re sorry to bust the myth. You also need to keep monitoring them every now and then. If a canned response is no longer serving its purpose, you should consider updating it to keep it relevant and useful.

You can create the best canned responses for your business by following the above tips.

And if you’re looking for some readymade ones, we’ve got you covered. 

Canned responses for customer support — examples

Here is a (non-exhaustive yet extensive) list of canned responses for aiding your customer support:

1. Greeting the customer

Understanding the state of mind of a customer when they reach out to you is crucial. When customers are struggling with your product or service, a warm, friendly greeting creates a good first impression that can smooth things over. One way of doing this is to craft different canned responses for different categories of customers: visitors, returning customers, new customers etc. 


  • “Hi! Good morning, how may I help you?” (New visitor/customer)
  • “Hello [First Name]! Nice to see you again. How may I help you today?” (Returning visitor/customer)
2. Enquiring about the problem

Agents need the right information from the customers to be able to offer them the right advice/solution. Enquiring about the problem in detail can help them do that.

The only caveat? It shouldn’t come off as rude or invasive to the privacy of customers. The tone of the message will go a long way in establishing trust and ensuring their responsiveness.


  • “Great! I can surely help you with this. Before that, could you tell me the date of your purchase and the order ID? You can find them both under ‘My orders’ in the ‘Profile’ section of your app.
3. Acknowledging and/or fixing the problem

Half the frustrating battle between customers and agents can be resolved with a simple acknowledgement of the customer’s problem by the agent. 

Especially when a customer writes an email to the support team, you can program a canned response to let them know that you received their message, and are looking into the matter.


  • Chat: Hello [First Name]! Thank you for your message. Your refund on [order number] dated [date of order] is initiated. You’ll receive an update once it is processed and credited to your wallet.
  • Email: Hello [First Name],

Thank you for your email!

Your refund on [order number] dated [date of order] is initiated. It should be processed within [time]. You’ll automatically receive an update from us once it is credited to your wallet.

If you have more questions, please feel free to reach out to us simply by replying to this email. 

Thank you!

4. Accepting a mistake

No one can be perfect at all times. It’s inevitable that mistakes will be made and miscommunication will happen. 

The best way out of these situations is simply to accept the mistake and take action to rectify it, just as the example shows.


  • I apologize for the misunderstanding earlier. We billed you as per your old plan and would credit the difference to your account as per the new subscription within three working days. We’re sorry for the trouble and will ensure this does not happen again.
5. Offering more information or alternative solutions

It’s likely that sometimes you’ll not be able to offer the perfect solution to the customer right away. But you may have a workaround that fits. For such situations, you can use the example template below:


– [Sir/Ma’am/First Name], I’m sorry to inform you that your request could not be completed. But here are some resources that can be of help: [link to the Help Center/Knowledge Base/other useful resources]. 

6. Transferring the request 

Sometimes, agents need to transfer the request to another agent or supervisor in a different department. This can be frustrating for a customer, especially if they have to repeat their problem to the new support executive. 

By phrasing the transfer politely and empathetically, agents can make the process slightly less painful. Here are a couple of examples.


  • Thanks for your patience, [First Name]. Let me transfer the chat to my colleague who is an expert on the issue and will help you get up and running in seconds. 
  • Is it okay if I transfer you to [department]? They can fix the issue for you right away. Our conversation will be shown to them so you needn’t explain everything again.
7. Booking a demo or an appointment

If you want to convert prospects faster, consider having canned responses in place for people who reach out to support in order to book a demo or an appointment.

Here’s a sample.


  • “Thank you for your interest in the product. You can watch the complete demo here [insert link] or book an appointment with our Sales team [here] for a personal meeting. 
8. Handling complaints and frustration

Actively listening, acknowledging a complaint, and showing sympathy and understanding, especially when the customer is angry or frustrated, is like providing first-aid. It can pacify the customers, make them more rational, and ease the job of the agent as they try to solve the issue. 


  • “I am sorry to hear that you had such a terrible experience. I can understand why you’re upset. Please allow me a few moments to talk to my colleague and fix this asap.”
9. Saying no to customers

Saying no is hard for most people as it is. And how do you deal with unreasonable customer demands when the first principle of excellent customer service says that the customer is king?

The answer, of course, is carefully crafted canned responses that drive the point home politely yet firmly.


  • “We’re delighted that you’ve decided to renew your subscription! Unfortunately, we are not offering any discounts on monthly billing at the moment and will have to decline your request. You can check out our annual plans for a cheaper deal.” 
  • “Sorry, [first name], our product does not come with [the feature requested]. However, we have a host of improvements in the pipeline which should make your usage a smooth sailing experience.”
10. Collecting customer feedback

One of the best practices in customer support is to ask for feedback once you help your customers resolve their issue.

HubSpot research shows that a whopping 93% of customers are likely to make a repeat purchase from companies that offer excellent customer service. A Zendesk report further suggests around 76% of customers would switch over to a competitor after more than one bad customer service experience.  


  • Thank you for contacting us. We hope we were able to resolve your issue! If you have a minute, please rate your experience here [link]. Have a great day!
  • Glad I could assist you, [First Name]! If you could spare 30 seconds to provide me feedback on your experience, I will appreciate it. Here’s the link to the feedback form.
11. Resolving and closing the issue

As a support transaction concludes, agents should remember to thank the customer and confirm if their issue is resolved or if they need more support. Canned responses can help them close the issues quickly and accurately.


  • Chat: “Hello [First Name], your [issue] has been resolved successfully. And we have closed the ticket. Feel free to contact us if you have more questions. We will be happy to help you.”
  • Email: Hi [First Name],

I’m reaching out regarding your service request [issue id or topic]. It’s been a while since we’ve heard from you, so I wanted to let you know that your case is being marked as resolved. Please feel free to answer this email should you have any questions or concerns.

Thank you!

With over 15 examples of canned responses to help you navigate the trickiest of customer service conversations, we hope you will be well prepared to take on your next customer calls like an absolute pro! 

Use OSlash text expander to create and summon canned responses in a jiffy

There’s no question that a repository of canned responses makes the life of a customer support executive easier.

But if they still have to access them in the company wiki/FAQ by following a series of cumbersome steps, doesn’t it defeat the very purpose?

Why not go a step further and use a solution that lets agents invoke canned responses within milliseconds? A tool like OSlash text expander!

Recommended reading: Embrace faster messaging and better user interactions with OSlash text expander

Snippets lets you create shortcuts that automatically summon your canned responses or other frequently used pieces of texts simply by typing o/<snippet-name> into your emails, Slack channels, support chats etc. 

Here’s a glimpse of how it works.

You can also populate frequently used messages with variables to personalize each interaction. 

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