In response to my call for examples of high-friction customer experiences, my friend and NMSBA founder Carla Nagel pointed out how annoying a customer service communication can be when it comes from a “no reply” email address.
In my new book FRICTION, I describe Gartner research that shows how effort in solving a customer service issue has an enormous impact on repeat purchases, customer loyalty, and negative word of mouth. And, what’s one of the specific causes of high-effort customer experience? Having to switch channels.
Channel switching takes many forms. If you start a customer support conversation on Twitter only to refer the customer to a web form, that’s a channel switch. If you initiate support on live chat and tell the customer to call your phone support number, that’s a channel switch too.
Obviously, if you communicate with a customer by email, it is easiest for them to respond by hitting “reply.” Using the dreaded “no reply” email address and warning the customer in the email to NOT reply can be perplexing and annoying. Why force them to communicate in some other way when the simplest one is right in front of them?Stop forcing your customers to change communication channels - get rid of your NO REPLY email address! #FrictionHunter Click To Tweet
Perhaps for some types of emails, like a new product announcement, a “no reply” email won’t be a problem. But even then, why do it? Your email might arrive just as a customer was going to reach out to you about a problem or a purchase. Customers don’t know what your functional silos are and don’t care. They just want help.
Here’s a novel idea – why not make it easier for customers to communicate with you by encouraging them to reply? Yes, there might be a little extra cost to direct emails to the right department, but much of that can be automated. The benefits from reducing friction (a.k.a. customer effort) and hearing from more customers will surely outweigh that modest cost. To minimize effort and maximize satisfaction, communicate with customers in THEIR preferred channel, not the one most convenient for you.