The Case For No-Reply
Plenty of businesses out there use no-reply, and there are some good reasons to do just that. First of all, it does discourage people from responding with relatively unimportant queries. We’ll get onto the topic of why this is a ‘double-edged sword’ later on, but this might be something that you find particularly important.
There’s also the fact that using no-reply encourages customers to issue all of their questions through one particular point of contact, e.g. a contact form on your website. That’s a great alternative to having to trawl through responses to one or more email addresses, the notes left through your contact form, and maybe even fielding a few phone call.
But the question is, do these benefits outweigh all the negatives below? We don’t think so.
What About The Drawbacks?
Here are four big reasons why you should consider using a genuine email address to contact your customers.
1. Saying No to Engagement…
Today, most businesses think that social media is ‘engagement’ enough. But by placing all your efforts in Twitter and Facebook (or Instagram and Snapchat, depending on who you’re trying to reach) you’re forgetting about a big chunk of your audience. Not only are people increasingly turning away from social media, but older generations tend to prefer doing business either over the phone or through email.
This is especially the case for older customers, who are used to sending and receiving emails as opposed to tracking you down on Facebook or using contact forms. The kinds of engagement you miss out on are limited only to the kinds of emails you send: contests, deals, or even potential clients if your business is B2B. You might be putting your customers off from sending you feedback, reviews, or even ideas for new products- all because you couldn’t be bothered to check your email and your help desk.
2.Saying No to Sales…
Instead of answering every question sent to them, many businesses direct their customers to an FAQ or online guide that answers most typical questions instead of engaging with them. There’s one huge drawback to doing that: you lose out on sales.
As a customer, imagine you get an email about a deal on a certain kind of product, with one or two examples listed. But you really wanted another example- say, in red. You go to the website and there aren’t any details of the deal to be found (it’s an email-only deal). You can’t respond to the no-reply email.
What would you do? Well, if the customer can’t find a quick and easy way to get in touch with you, they’ll probably forget about your deal among the hundreds of things they have to do today. The upshot of all of this is that you just missed out on a sale.
3.Saying No to Deliverability
Not only are you losing out on sales and engagement, but you’re actually making it more likely that your customers will miss out on your emails. There’s a couple of reasons for that. First, some ISPs and email clients actually send no-reply emails to the junk folder by default. Almost every email client judges how likely an email is to be spam based on how many people open it, click through on it and reply to it. So even just a few replies to your email campaign will make it look less ‘spammy’.
There’s also the fact that customers are increasingly using their mobile phones to check their email. Front and centre when you open an email client on a smartphone is the sender- and if the sender is no-reply@yourbusiness, you’ll see far fewer people opening your emails. If you’re unlucky, they’ll also mark your emails as spam, and then you’ll have lowered your deliverability even further. Not only will customers be less likely to whitelist a no-reply email address, some email clients don’t even let you!
What Should I Do?
The simplest thing to do is to make sure that replies to your campaign email address are forwarded straight to your helpdesk. That way it’s no different to if a customer filled in your contact form. Just make sure you’re prepared for the extra questions!
Instead of no-reply, then, use a bespoke address. Even if you run a small business from home, use an address with your business name in it rather than ‘gmail.com’ or ‘hotmail.co.uk’. Using an email client simply looks unprofessional. And bear in mind that it’s not any more convenient, because you can always forward emails from your ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ address to your Outlook or Gmail account!
As for how to style your email ‘From’ signature, you have plenty of choice. But a good ‘default’ example to use is your business/brand name plus a description of what the email is about. So, for example, you could style your emails as the following:
- Ripple’s Weekly Newsletter
- Ripple Account Confirmation
- Welcome to Ripple!
- BeautyBeads Daily Inspiration
- BeautyBeads Deal of the Day
…Or whatever you think sounds good. Whatever you decide on, though, it’s almost always advisable to include your brand name. This build trust before your customer opens your email, and the description of the email- well- describes what’s in the email. So if building trust, earning more opens and click-throughs and making more sales sounds good to you… Stop using no-reply!