Should I use a do-not-reply email address?
Using a do-not-reply email address or unmonitored email box in the reply-to header of your email campaigns is not recommended.
Sending newsletters and other email communications to customers from a no-reply or do-not-reply address comes across as uncaring to your customers and can have a negative effect on your email deliverability long-term. Here’s why.
- You appear uninterested in having a conversation with your customers.
With the growth of social media over the last several years came new expectations for consumers regarding their interactions with all brands. Customers today expect businesses they interact with to do so at a more human level. Utilities need to think about this as they try to increase engagement, improve customer satisfaction, and drive their customers to take action. Using a do-not-reply address gives the impression that you’re not open to hearing from your customers in a way that’s convenient for them. You are asking them to remain open to hearing from you by emailing them (often without a true opt-in approach), but you're not keeping the channel of communication open so they can write back. The effect is that you’ve now made it harder for them to contact you by forcing them to take extra steps or by using less immediate channels. You should really be creating a two-way conversation.
- Future messages are more likely to get filtered as spam
ISPs track engagement with your emails to see if a user opens, clicks, or replies and use that engagement (or lack of) to determine if future mail should be bounced, placed in the junk folder, or delivered to the Inbox. If you limit the ability for customers to reply to a message, those highly positive interactions aren’t being factored into your overall sender reputation and it can have a negative impact on your overall email deliverability.
- You’ll miss unsubscribes
It is widely known by consumers that most legitimate email senders allow unsubscribes by placing keywords like “unsubscribe” in the body or subject of a reply. If you don’t monitor replies to your messages, you’ll miss these emails. And the next time you send to those customers, it appears like you’re ignoring their attempt to opt out. That could result in angry customers, an increase in spam complaints (which has a big negative impact on deliverability), or in some cases legal issues to deal with.
- You miss the opportunity for positive customer interactions
In addition to unsubscribes, your customers use the reply button to report an issue, show interest in an offer, request more information, or to ask for a call from their account manager. Ignoring those replies means you’re missing out on the chance to give customers a positive interaction with your brand.
Using a do-not-reply address may seem like a way to avoid the tedious administrative task of sifting through lots of reply mail, but in the end, isn’t it more important to provide solid customer service and maintain high deliverability rates?
Can Questline or another third party manage our email replies for us?
Having Questline or another third party manage and respond to reply messages is not recommended for several reasons.
Your customers expect when they hit reply to see a valid email address for your utility in the To: line of their response. For Questline or another provider to manage those replies, the email address that appears will display as a mailbox on the questline.com or shared email service provider domain. This isn’t a brand your customers are familiar with or trust. Trust is critical for them to not only send that reply but to engage with future email. Setup a reply to your customer service email address or a monitored mailbox under your corporate domain will prevent opt outs, spam complaints, or people simply disregarding your mail because they don’t trust where it’s coming from. All of these contribute to higher customer satisfaction and improved email deliverability.
- A majority of reply emails require a response.
Typical replies require a response or action to be taken by your utility. They can be requests for contact, questions about an offer, or reports of service trouble. Questline or another third party can only forward these along to you. At best, this delays your response in an environment where customers expect near real-time action. At worst, it creates gaps in the system where requests can fall through the cracks or not be recognized properly.
- Opt outs often need recorded in your utility’s source CIS or CRM systems.
Often times your utility’s CIS or CRM system is the authoritative record for customer contact information and do-not-contact requests. If you don’t field replies and a customer asks you to update their email or to stop contacting them, those updates won’t make it back to the source system and can result in angry customers or even legal issues. Handle the responses like all other requests taken over the phone or through standard My Account portals to ensure legal compliance, a consistent customer experience, and up-to-date contact information for your customers.