Do not respond to this email!

I talked the other day about iStockphoto’s reminders to use previously purchased credits. While their timely reminders were helpful, I had one grievance with their email content. Near the end of the message they state (emphasis is mine):

If you have any questions please feel free to contact us at 1-866-478-6251 or

Thank you,

Please do not respond directly to this e-mail. The originating e-mail account is not monitored.

So while they could give me the email in the body of the email message, they couldn’t set the “from” email field with that same address.

Setting the “from” address on an email is a trivial programming exercise. Many companies already do this, so why not iStockphoto?

People hit reply

Most users of email applications will hit the reply button when they wish to respond to an email. Don’t force them to use other, more inconvenient methods to respond to your email.

Be approachable

Messages that tell the customer to not respond to an email reinforce the thought that they are just a number and aren’t getting personal attention.

Your automated emails should be sent from an address that is monitored and processed by someone in your company.

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  • Ryan Christensen

    I’ve generally come to think that the reason businesses don’t do this is that they don’t feel (or simply don’t want to think) they can handle the volume of replies.

    Perhaps they only wish to converse with the customers that *really* want to talk to them? (Or maybe business is simply going so well that they don’t need the customers that have questions!)

  • Brian

    Another reason may be for the auto-reply loop it could cause…

  • Joe

    Ryan: You’d think that a company’s ability to communicate with customers should scale with their ability to sell to that same number of people! Hopefully companies will see the importance of open communication with customers.

    Brian: You’re right, if an auto responder is activated, then it could cause a loop. I’m in favor of not having an auto-reply. I’d prefer having an actual person follow up with customer emails within one business day.

    I’m always disillusioned when I get a quick response from a company just to realize it was an auto-reply and that my question or problem is still waiting to be addressed.

  • Glenn

    I agree with everything said above. I detest auto-replies. Too bad Monty Python is retired. I could see a really funny skit built around a customer walking into a store with a complaint and the salesperson telling the customer not to reply.