Everyone tells you to interact as much as you can with your customers, but they never tell you what kind of mailing system to set up to achieve this. An astonishing amount of people resort to the “no-reply” convention to solve this issue without getting bombarded with replies on their inboxes.
A “no-reply” solution involves using an email that doesn’t have a live inbox to send messages to customers in newsletters and announcements. You may have seen an email like this when you ordered something online. The order confirmation might have come from a “no-reply” email address. Sometimes, the company even attaches an auto-responder in case customers reply and disregard the message that says “Do not reply to this email.”
If you want to implement a “no-reply” email, you shouldn’t be discouraged. However, you’re missing out on some opportunities to get genuine feedback from your customers. Of course, you’ll get the occasional auto-reply in the inbox and a couple of useless junk messages. Sometimes, you might have to sift through a lot of it. That’s why some companies implement “no-reply” emails, and nobody blames you for doing so. But perhaps you want a little guidance on when to implement “no-reply,” and perhaps an alternative that lets you implement it rigorously while eliminating the uncaring attitude.
Here are some cases in which a “no-reply” email is detrimental:
- When you send out emails for order confirmations, personal invitations, and rewards. The person on the receiving end might appreciate having the ability to reply to the email with any questions he/she might have.
- When you send notifications for changes within the business (such as opening hours). Some customers would like to protest this or praise it, depending on what is convenient for them. You might want to read those emails.
- When you announce new arrivals. Let’s say you start putting in a back order for Samsung’s smartphones to place in stock. You make the announcement, saying that you’re now stocking up with Samsung smartphones. Some people might want to ask you if you have the Galaxy S III or some other model they want. This can give you an idea of what you should get in your next order if you don’t have it yet. If you have the item in stock, and you reply with a nice firm “yes” to your customer, you might see some new faces pop up on your doorstep.
There is one case in which “no-reply” is more than acceptable: When you’re sending an email to hundreds or thousands of subscribers at the same time. The bounces might be enormous, and if you don’t have a verification system to make sure that a person subscribes with a live email address, you might get incessant “Mailerdaemon” replies saying that the recipient email address does not exist. This can be annoying. If you have a verification system set up, you still might get a few bounces, but this might help you clean out your mailing list and rid it of any email addresses that really don’t exist.
Here’s one alternative: If you absolutely feel like you must send “no-reply” emails, make sure you write some contact information at the end in case a customer wants to reach out and seek some assistance. For example, at the bottom of your email, you can write “For all inquiries related to this message, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.” You should do this preferably in bolded text, so as to attract the attention of the reader.
In the end, the benefit of possibly engaging your customers into a relationship with your business outweighs any inconvenience caused by using a live inbox or directing them towards assistance.