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Hiding email addresses leaves a sour taste

Do you think email addresses should be hidden or open to your clients or members?

email symbol shwoing call us, write to us, but don't email us!

A business making it hard for customers to email them just doesn’t make much business sense to me. Yet that’s exactly what one organisation is doing to their members…

Today, I received an email from an organisation I’m a member of. {Disclaimer – I am only a member there because I haven’t made the time to move elsewhere – that time is now a high priority.}

Replying to emails

I did not like today’s email – I mean it was laid out ok and was polite and appropriate as far as the wording went, but I am not happy with the content. Largely because it showed that organisation is using member money to fund something completely unrelated, public and providing no obvious benefit to members.

I hit reply to tell them what I think. I doubt my voice will make a huge difference but I would feel better to be honest about it.

However, the email comes from a no-reply address.

Instead, I went to their website to grab their email address to use instead, but they only have an online form. So I even went as far as checking some letters they’ve sent me in the past – also the contact form URL instead of an email address.

So I can’t reply to the email.

And I am left feeling they are hiding from members. Feeling they are hiding from complaints. Feeling a bit uncomfortable and like I’ve touched something dirty with the way they are keeping contact details secret.

Selective email address use

Spam is awful – I hate it. So like many others I avoid putting my email address online in a way that spam bots can find it.

Yet that doesn’t mean my email address is hidden completely.

It is on my business cards, letterhead and certainly is the ‘reply to’ address for my html newsletter.

Other organisations put their email address on their site as a graphic – bots being unable to read graphics (well, so far anyway!) – or in words (eg write AT wordconstructionsDOTcomDOTau is an acceptable way for me to share my email address online.)

And it’s not like I’m talking about a small organisation that can’t cope with emails – a sole trader or other SMB may need to manage contact options, but a big business has more staff and even dedicated staff for customer service.

Is limited promotion the same as hiding?

What do you think?

Are they protecting themselves from spam or from complaints? Are they hiding their email address, even from members, or is it a reasonable business decision?

And I’d love to hear what you have done to promote or hide your email address, too.

3 Responses to Hiding email addresses leaves a sour taste

  • Susan Oakes says:

    Hi Tash,

    Reading your article I think there 2 things that have could have happened. 1. Management or someone decided that they only want contact via a form or 2. When it was set up the person decided not to have the availability of email addresses. Both decisions are wrong as it complicates communication with members and the way you felt means it has a negative impact on the relationship.

    As they do not have the email address anywhere I don’t think it is because of negative comments.

    Today people want any barriers gone and businesses of all sizes need to think of ways of simplifying processes as it will cost them in the long run. While no body likes spam most programs are getting sophisticated to cull them. I have my email address everywhere and have it on my site similar to what you do. Often it is the simple little things that companies overlook that can hurt their business.

  • Tash Hughes says:

    Hi Susan,

    I appreciate your input – simplicity is definitely what I look for so making things complicated isn’t a good strategy in my eyes, either.

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