Why No-Reply Email Is A Bad Idea

by Bob Plankers on July 8, 2010 · 4 comments

in Outright Rant,System Administration

I absolutely hate no-reply email. I understand why it exists (autoresponders and bounces), but to send an email with no way to respond at all using the same communications medium is ridiculous.

A good example of this is the customer satisfaction survey Red Hat just sent me. It is from a no-reply email address and there is no other email address listed. There is just some text and a URL, and clicking on the URL gets me:

rhapps.redhat.com not found

$ dig rhapps.redhat.com ns1.redhat.com
;rhapps.redhat.com.             IN      A

A records are overrated.

I generally am a nice guy and let vendors know something is messed up, but there are limits, especially when I’m already on the fence about a negative experience. I’m not going to open a support case with them, because it’ll never get escalated correctly[0]. And there’s no email address to send a quick note to. So it goes unfixed, Red Hat gets added to my mental list of vendors that don’t get it, and I blog about it, which may be worse than a negative survey response.

And for heaven’s sake, if you send out a customer satisfaction survey make sure it works.[1]


[0] Here’s a test for your organization: can a customer open a support problem against your web site? Will it go to the right place, i.e. the webmasters or someone intelligent who can get things fixed? If not, why not?

[1] This also may mean you should add an external survey service to what you monitor.


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