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No reply email address – why it’s a no-no

It seems that the bigger the business, the more likely they’ll fall foul of the customer focus horror story of the ‘no reply’ email address.

Few things are more insulting than to receive an email, to want to reply to it, and then the reply being rejected because it’s been set up as a ‘no reply’.

Here’s a recent example we’ve had …

  1. Received an email communication from Sainsbury’s (being on their list).
  2. Had a question about the email communication and the only option was to reply to the email address.
  3. The email address didn’t specifically say ‘no reply’ (it looked perfectly normal), but the rejection to the email made it clear that it was ‘no reply’.
  4. Outcome: unsubscription from the Sainsbury’s list plus negative feelings about the brand.


We don’t want dialogue with YOU!

It’s mainly bigger brands at fault here – brands that think that they can send communications but not be open to a response (in the way people would typically respond, which is directly to an email they’ve received).

So why do they do it?

There’s probably lots of explanations but ultimately, they’re saying that they don’t want the dialogue. Of course, they want you to buy into something they’re offering but they don’t want you to have a voice.

In other words, arrogance.

It’s not as if these big organisations don’t have the resources to deal with responses (including automated responses such as out of office messages etc.).

To make it worse, they’ll find resources to analyse open rates, click rates, etc. … because that’s more important to them than being accessible to those who may want clarification on something related to the email that had been sent.


Finding a compromise

A compromise perhaps would be if a ‘no reply’ email also (and clearly) contained information showing how the email recipient could enter dialogue with the sending organisation.

It’s not as good as being able to just hit ‘reply’ (who wants to start a new email referring to the other email sent when it’d be easier just to reply?) but it is at least a compromise.


Culprits gallery

Interestingly, there doesn’t yet appear to be an online resource that names and shames no reply offenders in large numbers. That’s quite surprising because there must be numerous email marketing providers, PR professionals, and CRM suppliers out there who could capitalise on a website page (or even a microsite) that goes heavily into lots and lots of examples of ‘no reply’ email bouncebacks from hundreds of providers.

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