Canned Response: Meaning, Origins, and Example Sentences (Also Canned Approach, Canned Presentation)



Canned Response” or “Canned Message“ is a phrase commonly used in business situations which means “a predefined response email.

For example, when you send an e-mail to the service desk of some product you purchased, you might get an immediate reply saying things such as, “Thank you for contacting us. We will get back to you with more information.” or “Please provide the following information for us to investigate your issue. (List of questions continues)”

These are canned responses.

Nowadays, we often see automatic reply emails that are automatically generated by the system, but canned responses do not necessarily have to be auto-reply emails.
Automatic reply emails are one kind of canned response, but emails created by humans by copy-and-paste can also be called canned responses.

Also, as expressions with similar meanings,
Canned approach” refers to a “fixed or common method“.
Canned presentation” or “Canned lecture” refers to a presentation that is made once and used over and over again in situations such as sales talks or lectures, etc.
This type of sales is called “Canned selling” or “Script-based selling“.

These expressions can be used in both positive and negative tones depending on the situation.
Canned responses can be used to streamline work for improved efficiency.
On the other hand, there is a risk that canned responses and presentations might result in low satisfaction of customers, users, listeners, etc.

Origins of the term

Why is it called a canned response?

The word “canned” used in all of these expressions, comes from “canned food”.
These expressions come from the idea of ​​”a fixed form reply (or method, presentation) prepared in advance like canned food”.

Canned food has become popular all over the world after its invention, but many people have the image that it is produced in factories and lacks the warmth of human hands.
From that image, it came to be used as “fixed responses with no emotion.”

Example Sentences

  1. Let’s prepare canned responses for frequently asked questions (FAQs).
  2. I wanted a specific solution for my problem, but I only received a canned response.
  3. We have had this issue many times, so we can handle it with our canned approach.
  4. We have a canned presentation to explain about our company and products.