I'm all for automation. Marketers can do so much more when they have it. There's no way we can manually respond to everyone in every situation. But we've got to be smart about how we use it.
I'll bet all of us have received the "do not reply" email. The one that gets sent based on a trigger asking you to do something, but only if you do so by following their process. The messaging is along the lines of – Click the link now if you want to talk to us in our structured way, but don't reply because we won't answer you.
Here's an actual example:
Please do not reply to this message. This email
was automatically generated from an unmonitored mailbox. If you require further
assistance [from us] please visit us at [help.company.com] where
you may find information on frequently asked questions and how to contact us
for support by phone, email, or chat.
How valued as a customer do you feel after that? What they're really saying is that they don't care what you want. It's all about whatever is easier for them. At the least, you'd have to really, really want to talk to them to jump through all those hoops to reach them.
My favorites in that messaging are "you MAY find" and the idea that I have to visit their support site to figure out how to email them when I'm reading an email from them.
What I wonder is if the company has ever read this message from the customer's point of view. It's easy to recommend that people put themselves in the customer's shoes when they develop content and messaging, but it's actually a challenge to remember that ALL parts of your messaging need that scrutiny.
In this example, the email message they communicated was fine. I was happy they wanted to know about my experience (so few actually ask). Until I read that warning text and realized how little they actually cared. Don't overlook the little stuff that can derail all that positive engagement you're trying so hard to sustain.
Companies should actually look forward to and encourage interactions with their customers. And they need to stop trying to control how they're willing to do so.
Unmonitored email box? Only communicate with us through sanctioned channels? I wonder how that's working for them…