…are stupid!

I appreciate the reasons for using an unmonitored email address for sending out bulk messages. And I still think they are stupid.

What do they really say? Beyond the message they deliver. They say that whoever sent the message isn’t listening and doesn’t care about your response. Given the majority of these messages are usually an attempt to generate sales, often from existing customers (otherwise it would be spam), it seems a bit crazy to not want to try and help your customers buy something. Sometimes the purchase decision requires information beyond what is provided in the message.

For example, one of the sites that I use to try/purchase software has a habit of sending such an email after you download, with a link to buy the software you’ve just downloaded to try. If they had given me an email address I could reply to, I would have let them know that I just bought it from a different site that was offering a discount. I might even have given them the chance to match the discount before switching suppliers. Since that happened (I may have already ranted about this subject before) I’ve continued to use the supplier I switched to because they consistently offer better prices…

Another example – I just received an email from the supplier I use for business cards, offering an apology for downtime on their site and a discount on their products. Now a) I just bought some business cards and don’t need any more just yet, and b) I didn’t visit the site in the past few days so never noticed the issue. (Not even convinced there was any issue, wondering if the ‘apology’ is just another sales tactic.) However, now I’m feeling a bit miffed that I paid full price for my cards when a discount has been offered just a few days later. If they provided an email address I could reply to, I’d tell them this. If they had any sense, they’d offer a discount for the next time I purchase busines cards. Instead, an email they chose to send, that I didn’t ask for, now leaves me feeling annoyed. Am I the only person who thinks this is a daft approach to customer service?

How hard would it be to add a simple sentence after the blurb about ‘please do not reply, this is an unmonitored alias…’? Something along the lines ‘If you do have a query regarding this email, we’d love to hear from you. Please contact us here: (insert email, phone, whatever contact details).

Joel Spolsky has an excellent post on the subject of customer service, and hits the nail firmly on the head as to why most call centres lower profit margins – Seven steps to remarkable customer service


And just to prove there are some companies out there who have figured this out, the very next email I receive happens to start with the following:

Please do not respond to this e-mail. This mailbox is not monitored. If you have
questions about this message, please contact us at…

The sender – Microsoft. See, they do get some stuff right before others 😉

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