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
[...snip...]
;; QUESTION SECTION:
;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.

{ 4 comments }

Ian July 10, 2010 at 4:40 AM

We have the equivalent of a no reply. We use it mostly because coworkers will respond with completely unrelated questions or requests if we send a mass email out with our own addresses. We’ll send an email out about password changes and get responses asking why such and such phone has bad voice quality. Those requests are apparently not important enough to go through the proper procedures…

Although we do always sign those emails and have an alternative way to respond, just not something as easy as a reply, as you alluded to. -Ian

Jan July 11, 2010 at 11:33 PM

Maybe those “proper procedures” are not easy or convenient enough?

Shea DeAntonio July 12, 2010 at 3:05 PM

Hello,
I am the manager for the Red Hat support experience team and wanted to personally apologize for the inconvenience you experienced when trying to fill out the survey for us. I agree with you that we should include a way,outside of opening a support case,to provide feedback when a issue like this is discovered. I have requested that we include in the email invite the address to our Customer Service department customerservice@redhat.com who can assist with these types of issues.

I would also be interested in discussing the support issue you referenced and review it to see if there is anything we can do to assist. You can email me at shea@redhat.com and I look forward to speaking with you.

Shea DeAntonio
Manager, Support Experience
Red Hat Inc.

Pete June 22, 2011 at 8:49 AM

“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.”

You have to be either a spammer, phisher or harvester to say it’s ridiculous … ! Every 3 year young kid knows this trick to get your pranks on a new email you can spam!

Since I use a no-reply … spam has dropped by over 90% and email hijack … almost vanished!

So yep, keep saying it’s ridiculous – I say you’re ridiculous saying it’s ridiculous but of course, only because you want to see the people keep feeding you with their email address!

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