kill-do-not-reply-email-addresses

How often do you receive an automated email from a company you do business with, only to see that it was sent from an address like no-reply@bigco.com or donotreply@hugeco.com? If your email inbox looks anything like mine then you probably see this a couple times a week. These emails frustrate me beyond belief, but probably not for the reason you think.

Take the above screenshot of a real email I received from Eversource, my electricity provider, the day before we were expecting a significant winter storm. At the bottom of the email is this text:

Regardless of what Mother Nature brings, our commitment to our customers remains stronger than ever.

Please do not respond to this automated email.

What the hell is that? Ignoring the fact that Eversource is effectively a monopoly and as such I have no option other than solar panels for in-home electricity, this is a stunningly blatant contradiction. Call me crazy, but literally telling me not to respond to this message most certainly does not communicate commitment to me.

While this is an egregious example, Eversource is certainly not the only offender. In the past 6 months I have received similar, albeit less blatant emails from Chase, United Airlines, The City of Boston, Drizly, Quora, Sweet Green, OpenTable, Comcast and more. Of course, some of the organizations on that list are less surprising than others. I’m looking at you, Comcast.

What’s The Problem?

This is infuriating, not because I am offended that these companies don’t want to hear from me or because I despise automated emails, but because this is an opportunity for these businesses to engage with their customers and it’s going to waste.

As a business owner or manager, why wouldn’t you want to hear from your customers at every opportunity? Whether the email recipient wants to provide feedback or solve a problem, this line of communication is so valuable to improving the customer experience that I find it staggering to see organizations still using these dead-end email addresses.

kill-do-not-reply-examples

A few examples of the offending emails.

Customer Service is King

Don’t just take my word for it, either. Mark Cuban places a priority on customer feedback, and explains in his book, How to Win at the Sport of Business, that he reads almost every message sent to the Dallas Mavericks customer service address. Doing this has helped him deliver a premier basketball experience for Mavericks fans.

You would be hard pressed to find someone who does not believe customer service is critical to the long-term success of a business. Every day I hear about another business going under as a result of poor customer service, and it’s hard to have any pity for them. When you aren’t putting customers first you are constantly at risk of losing your place in the market, because it’s only a matter of time before someone else will come along and provide a better experience.

Just substituting customerservice@bigco.com in its place can make a major difference for your business. This simple, straightforward fix has the potential to uncover insights and delight your customers. For this reason, I implore every marketer and business leader to kill the impersonal and cold no-reply email addresses.

Frankly, you can’t afford not to.