Posted by & filed under Customer service, Email general.

I used to work for a small publishing company as a copy editor and proofreader. Trying to move my way up in the company, I took more and more responsibility for one particular publication, and eventually got my name on the masthead as Assistant Editor. When the editor left, I even became Interim Editor for a few months. I still had all my regular responsibilities copy editing and proofreading our other publications, just with more work heaped on my shoulders and a fancy title (which, by the way, was not accompanied by a fancier paycheck).

photo by flickr user jenny downing

photo by flickr user jenny downing

When people sent email to editor@ourmagazine, I’m sure they assumed they were sending a message to somebody who’s sole job it was to attend to that magazine’s needs. And of course, that’s what we wanted them to think! It was a national magazine that was actually well regarded in it’s field, and it wouldn’t do to have readers knowing they were emailing a guy down in the proofreading pit when they had something to share with somebody they probably perceived as important.

A lot of small businesses find themselves in positions like this, where employees have to wear many hats to get through all the work that needs to be done. When one customer sends an email to your marketing department and another writes to your shipping department, neither needs to know that they’re corresponding with the same person. As long as they’re getting prompt, reliable service, they’re going to be happy, right?

To that end, you want to have email addresses that fit your customers’ needs. If they needed technical support, they probably would be suspicious sending an email to sales. Or if somebody wants to discuss a business development idea, would they want to send a query to a generic info@ address?

Now check out this page for NW Tattoo Magazine. It looks like they’re thinking like I’m thinking — different email addresses for the departments, like Merchandise, Reader Submissions, Artists, and Models, right? But hover over one of those addresses, and what do you see in the bottom left corner of your browser window? You’ll be sending an email to info@, not the address they’re displaying on the webpage, no matter which department you want to be writing to.

This seems like a bad idea to me. If I didn’t notice that discrepancy and just chose to cut and paste from their page into my email client, would my email even reach them (currently, all signs point to NO)? Why would they put those addresses on the page if they want mail going to a different address?

Probably because they want it to appear as though they have somebody who handles  Merchandise and somebody else who handles Artists, and so on, and not one account for all inquiries.

NW Tattoo is trying to create the impression of specialization within their organization And there’s nothing wrong with that. But if you’re going to do it, why not do it well?

I’m not saying that every business should make up a hundred email addresses to fit every possible customer need. But having the right email addresses can make a difference in how you are perceived by the people who want to contact you.

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  1.  My Mail — A Handy Widget

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