E-mail Confirmations and Other Communication
Published by John W. Wagonis in Website Stuff / Miscellaneous · 10 November 2021
Eclectic-ware, like other businesses, receives phone calls, e-mails, texts, and file transfers as various forms of communication. And of course the old fashioned way of talking face to face. Yet in our advanced digital world, e-mail and texts are taking over.
I prefer e-mail over texts. With e-mail, I can type with two full hands, not just one finger. I can hear the clicks of my keyboard and watch what I type on a nice 32" curved wide screen monitor. I can attach files. Texts are great for on the go, which half the world is on the go at least during some part of their day.
Contact Forms and Website Requests
When you use our Contact Us form or any of the various links on our web pages that basically say click this to send us a quick question for the product you are looking at, we will respond. The contact form or 'open an e-mail link' command allows you to talk to us. And we will get back to you. Same is true of our cabinet door quotation request forms. Data is collected and sent to us.
But not all the time.
What do we mean by that? The form is only as good as the data entered. We have seen e-mail addresses entered as firstname.lastname@example.org. Yes, we did just type .con, not .com. That is a simple typo that any of us can do. And easy enough for us humans to figure out, change the n to an m, and then get back to you. But automated e-mail responses? They will just bounce back and say invalid e-mail address. Along with a bunch of other boring code.
When you open an e-mail link, that generally does not happen. Your e-mail program will automatically send your e-mail in the from field. Easy enough to get back to you, and we will. Sometimes it may take a day or two.
On-line Order Confirmations
When you order on-line, you are filling out one or more forms with your data. It may not look like a form, but any time there is a data field asking you to enter information, you are filling out a form. That is just how it is. Form results are collected by the domain via a form handler (one of those hidden little programs on a website that none of us fiddle with or are even aware of). The form handler sends the info entered as a file. Thus, if you enter your e-mail incorrectly, or your phone number incorrectly, how can a company respond to you? This is probably why many forms ask you to enter your e-mail address twice. Annoying, but it helps with communication.
Within our shopping cart, we do have the auto-response set up. To acknowledge to you that we received your data. And then an auto-response to confirm that your credit card information was submitted. This is just the robot saying thank you and keeping you from guessing if the order was sent in.
But when that e-mail address is wrong, the robot has no clue. We have seen many e-mails written as @comcast.com instead of comcast.net; as @hotmial.com instead of @hotmail.com; or as @verizon.com instead of @verizon.net. Typos happen, getting .com and .net backwards happens too. And a lot of those are easy to figure out. When an e-mail comes through as email@example.com, but the name on the submission was Joe Barns, if our auto-responder bounces that e-mail back as invalid, we can guess that the e-mail should be firstname.lastname@example.org. But we cannot always guess right. And sometimes we just cannot guess, especially with e-mail addresses with numerals in them. email@example.com, does he live in Los Angeles, or is his birthday 9-02-10, or does he just like 90's drama? If the number is even typed correctly.
Spam, what fun - Not!
Some of our e-mail confirmations, automated or not, can and do end up in spam. Responses to questions and order submissions. There is an e-mail subject line. Automated replies use the same subject lines over and over. Domains have their quirks that if they see a subject too often, they may flag it as spam. If it contains just one word they don't like, they flag it as spam. Who really knows what sets off the spam alarm, but it happens.
There are groups of related domains like sbcglobal.net, bellsouth.net, .rr.com, and others that create blacklists and stop e-mails from various domains for 30 day periods or for eternity. This can block a reply to an order submitted, or a question via e-mail. And it works both ways. You can e-mail us, we can't e-mail you. Or we can e-mail you and you can't e-mail us. It is so damn frustrating at times keeping up with it all.
We want all of our customers to know, we do not ignore anyone. We respond to e-mails, texts, and voicemails. Sometimes e-mails and texts do not make it to us. Sometimes voicemails are butt dials and make no sense. Many customers try texting our landline. That does not work. Some may forget the hyphen in EWsales@eclectic-ware.com. That is actually a live e-mail link if you care to send us a message. And on our order form, some customers may just mistype their e-mail, or their phone number. We have seen a lot of phone numbers come in missing one digit. We could guess at 10 different combinations, but what if we call 9 wrong people? That would be worse that political candidates asking for money.
When on any website placing an order or filling out a contact form, glance over how you entered your e-mail address or phone number. Communication is important. And desire to hear answers quickly is important. Let's be careful with our fumble fingers and keep the communication flowing....
And peek in your spam folders at regular intervals. Especially if you are expecting an e-mail.