Why Would You Invite People to a Closed Shop?

December 15, 2010

You’d never ask a customer to visit a closed shop. You’d never ask a customer to call you back and not answer the phone. So why do companies send out newsletters and other emails with a no-reply@companyx.com email address?

Today’s customers are increasingly engaging businesses through a number of social media channels; open two-way conversations, free of brick walls and closed doors. These interactions are a dialogue that customers have come to expect and will continue to expect in the future.

On the other hand, no-reply email addresses are like how advertising used to be: the broadcast of one-way, monologues with no ability to connect, converse, or interact in any way.

Put yourself in your customers’ shoes for a moment.

A normal reaction to receiving an email is to hit the reply button in order to ask a question, find out more information or perhaps make an order. So, what happens when they receive an email from you with great content, nice stories, and some information on an upgrade they can receive, but you have used a no-reply email address.

The customer now has to go look for a correct email address to contact you. But will they bother? Will they delay the response and risk forgetting about it all together? Anytime your engagement with a customer drops, it’s a lost opportunity for any number of things.

For instance, Toyota is running a Shareathon promotion where people who buy a Toyota by Jan. 3 and post a tweet about the promotion, can then claim a $500 prepaid debit card.

I posted the tweet, filled out the form just to see how it worked. (I have no intention of buying a Toyota in the next couple of weeks.) Five minutes later, I receive an email from noreply@toyotashareathon.com stating, “Congratulations, here’s your Shareathon code: …”

Boom. Brick wall! No opportunity for me to contact a sales person, search for a local dealership, or even a link to the Toyota website. There isn’t even a link to their Facebook page or Twitter profile. So my opportunity to engage with the Toyota brand ends at this email.

Missed opportunity. Yes and a great example for why you don’t want to use a no-reply email address.

The thing is, the solution to this problem is easy. All you have to do is use a normal email address that is monitored and funneled into your helpdesk so it can be assigned to the right person to respond.

When a customer wants to talk to you, they should never face a brick wall, a closed shop, or a call center that never answers. The same goes for email. Making your emails open is one very simple step you can do to make your customer service more accessible and your customer experience much much better.