Humans are creatures of habits. Stereotyping repetitive tasks help us keep mental resources available for doing something that is not habitual. Yet, sometimes individual habits become collective conventions, even though they weren’t such a good idea in the first place. Such as sending  newsletters and automatic email notices via a “no-reply” email address.

I use producteev as my projects’ to-do list. I love producteev, it provides me and my customers with a handy and simple-to-use ticket system. And because I love them, I want to help whenever I can. Yes, they managed to turn me into a “passionate user”, the holy graal of online marketing. Well done.

As a user, everyday I receive a message reporting all due tasks in French. Great, I speak french. But there is a minor hiccup: the subject line is in French, whilst the message is in English.

The cause of this incoherence is probably to be found in some minor engineered inconsistency hidden somewhere in their codebase. Not that big of a deal, mind you, but every day seeing the same error kind of lessens the perceived quality of their service. So i’d like to tell them, so they can fix it. It shouldn’t take more than simply replying to that email, stating the problem, adding a quick love note and finishing it off with the usual “have a nice day”. 2 minutes max, a non-disruptive flow.

But I can’t tell them, because it is sent via a no-reply(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign) e-mail address.

So I don’t do it, and day after day they keep making the same silly mistake over and over again. An opportunity to slightly improve Producteev’s customer experience stays unattended. No, I’m not going to use your feedback system (whatever it may be), not for that, it would disrupt too much my current flow of actions: I just want to reply and get on with the things sitting on that very to-do list you kindly sent me.  And in this email conversation that will never happen, we could have had a nice little conversation with one of you guys, because, you know, i love your service. And i’m sure you’d feel good to know that. Both our lifes would have had a slightly better day. But now we won’t, because you used a no-reply email address. Life sucks.

printscreen of an email sent by Producteev, showing the no-reply email address.
Do not reply to Producteev, says this email address.

 Readmill does it right

Funny enough, as I wrote these lines, I got an email from Readmill. Do you know who sent it? “please-reply @”. Ace.

printscreen of an automatic email sent by Readmill, showing the please-reply email address
please-reply to Readmill

 Don’t miss an opportunity for interpersonal exchanges with your customer base.

Not convinced? Ask yourself this question: would you send an email to your family from a “no-reply” email address? Damn, you’re weird.