Jetpack has been downloaded more than 13 million times. The Contact Form module is one of its most popular features, as nearly every site requires a way for visitors to get in touch. The module is reliable and easy to use but fairly basic in terms of features.
Fortunately, Jetpack makes it easy for you to extend its features with a plugin. Hugh Lashbrooke, who has authored more than a dozen plugins hosted on WordPress.org, has just released Jetpack Contact Form Auto Reply to make it easy for site admins to issue an automatic message in response to a contact form submission.
The plugin adds a new Auto Reply sub-menu item under the Jetpack menu, with settings for two useful features:
- Craft a custom reply message using the WordPress WYSIWYG editor
- Set a unique from name and address for auto replies
You can even add rich text or images to the custom reply message, which makes it easy to brand your communications for your company or organization.
The auto reply message could be something as simple as “We have received your request and will contact you shortly.” Or perhaps it’s a holiday and you want to update the auto reply to notify people of any delays in response time, i.e. “We will be out of the office until January 3, 2015.” This plugin provides an easy way to do that in the WordPress admin, without having to set up an auto-responder in your email.
Lashbrooke originally created the plugin for his own use, because he was receiving numerous messages from people asking for support for his plugins hosted on WordPress.org and WooThemes.com. His custom auto reply message is designed to help point people to the appropriate forum, in case they contacted him for support-related questions.
After testing the plugin, I can confirm that it works as advertised. The only tricky part is the last setting on the page, which calls for the label of the field in the contact form that contains the email address to use for the auto reply. You have to correctly identify this label or it won’t send. In my case the label was ‘Email,’ which is likely to be a common one.
While an auto reply might seem redundant, since Jetpack already displays a confirmation of the message sending successfully, that extra note in your visitor’s inbox can be reassuring, especially since it allows them to reply to the email if necessary. You can never underestimate the importance of communication in a customer’s decision-making process.
Jetpack Contact Form Auto Reply is a handy add-on for the millions of Jetpack users out there who use the Contact Form module. Download it from WordPress.org. If you’d like to contribute to make it better, feel free to fork the plugin on GitHub.