Are You Limiting the ‘Freedom of Replying’ of Your Customers?

Everyday, we get many emails from companies with the reply path set to “do-not-reply” or “no-reply” email addresses. When I receive emails with reply path set to a ‘do-not-reply’ sender, the frustration about the brand begins, even if I actually don’t want to reply them. To add more to this frustration, they add a few sentences to reiterate same annoying message.

“Note that this is an automated response, and replies to this email will not be viewed”

“If you have any questions, please visit us in the Help Center or join our user community for help”.

“This is an automated message. Replies sent to this address will not be delivered. If you need to contact us, please access ******’s Help Section and click the "Email Support" link to send us an email.”

Technology behind setting up an email server or an auto-responder is not rocket science anymore. It may not virtually cost them any extra penny. But still, these companies continue not to set up a working reply path to their outgoing emails.

Just imagine, when I want to speak to Brand XYZ for support, I need to speak to someone who is responsible for decision making at Brand XYZ; not to their user community who may or may not respond to my query even in a vague sense. Imagine, when I receive an email from your company, the easiest way for me to voice my opinion about the content of that email is simply to hit the reply button; not to got back to your website and search for your ‘fabulously done’ Email Suppor php form.

The only reason I can imagine as why companies are taking this approach, is their lack of human resources for responding to emails. Nevertheless, that does not prevent you from setting the reply path to someone at your company and put a disclaimer “due to excess amount of emails we daily receive, your email will get a late response” or something to that extent. In whichever way it is, I do not think limiting your customers’ freedom of replying is a wise thing to do.

If you are setting the reply path of your outgoing emails to a ‘do-not-reply’ address, you are communicating the following message to the customer.

1) This is only a one-way message and we don’t want any feedback from you.
2) We don’t want to listen to you
3) We don’t have enough people to read your emails
4) We don’t care about you

I don’t think any of these four types of messages will help you to create a true customer centric brand identity. If you are serious about being customer centric, and if you really want your customers to love your brand, first thing you must do is allowing them to speak. Limiting their freedom of talking to you will not make anything better. Someone may justify this as a measure of discouraging nuisance or low value customers. If you have the ability to judge if a customer is worth losing, then you have the freedom of not responding to their emails. Limiting their freedom to send you emails is not the answer.

I have seen many companies who have made their customer care process way too much complex for the customers. (Customer care is for customers, isn’t it? It shouldn’t be designed in a way which is always continent for the people who manage it)

First, they block most of the access methods. They hide email addresses to contact their company, and put a lengthy FAQ filtering process to provide customer care. Sometimes it is frustrating to go through these FAQ’s and finally find out that it doesn’t solve my problem. Then they give us an email form, on which they collect another set of personal information from us. Some companies ask us to participate in a “help community” to solve our problem, before we contact them. These are all methods of putting off your customers and convey a message “we don’t want to listen to you”.

The best customer care that you can provide your customers is allowing them to talk to you when they need to. Talking to a real person behind your brand, and get responses quickly is the best customer care technique that you can adopt. Check how many outgoing emails you have in your company, which set to a reply path with an email address Release this barrier and let your customers to talk to you and see the difference in your customer engagement level. It’s simple, but yet so powerful. Try it.

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