Why do Companies Send Horrible Emails?

Aug 24, 2010

On Sunday I booked a table through Tipsy Pig, a "gastro-pub" in San Francisco.

This morning I woke up and checked my email to find this message from opentable:

** Please do not reply to this email. It was sent from an unattended mailbox, and replies are not reviewed. See below for contact information. **

Dear Simon,

Thank you for booking your recent reservation through OpenTable.

We would appreciate your feedback about your experience at The Tipsy Pig on August 22, 2010. Please take a moment to fill out our Dining Feedback Form:

http://fb.opentable.com/df.aspx?re=....

Thank you, and we look forward to seeing you again at OpenTable.com.

Bon appétit! Your OpenTable Team

NEED HELP? http://support.opentable.com

UNSUBSCRIBE: If you'd rather not receive future Dining Feedback Form emails from OpenTable, please click the link below: http://fb.opentable.com/df.aspx?re=...

Now, I think opentable finally following up and asking their users to write reviews and give feedback on the restaurants is a great thing (though it took yelp rocketing to tremendous success for them to get their act together - I've long thought that opentable should integrate review content to make it even easier to choose a restaurant). More companies should ask me how my experience was with their product, especially when they are simply a platform for the actual service provider. But why are they sending such an unfriendly email to solicit my feedback?

First, witness the very top of their email: **** Please do not reply to this email. It was sent from an unattended mailbox, and replies are not reviewed. See below for contact information. ****

When I read this I'm thinking: "Look, we don't really care about you. We want to market to you, sell you something, maybe even ask for your feedback, but we want to make it easy for us and hard on you". We haven't bothered to link up our email system with our customer support system because it's too hard or too expensive or we're busy with other things, so we're just going to tell you that we're going to ignore you, the customer.

Now let's look at the content:

Dear Simon,

Thank you for booking your recent reservation through OpenTable.

We would appreciate your feedback about your experience at The Tipsy Pig on August 22, 2010. Please take a moment to fill out our Dining Feedback Form:

http://fb.opentable.com/df.aspx?re=EAV%252bFQ5fXaQ%253d

Thank you, and we look forward to seeing you again at OpenTable.com.

This isn't bad, but there isn't much here. Why isn't opentable telling me what my feedback is going towards?

  • Is it going to a public review site like yelp to I can help others?

  • Is it for opentable to use internally?

  • How long will it take me to write this feedback?

I have no idea from this email, so I pretty much have to click the link to go to their site and find out. Or, more likely, I'll just click delete and forget about it.

This is 2010: if you want feedback from someone, make it easy! How great would it be if you could just reply - like you can with Posterous - and write your review in your email client? How much more likely would I be to respond and check it out if I knew why I were doing it?