Perhaps more than any other email feature, the “Reply All” button causes the most controversy. Here are just a few examples of how this one, single email feature causes trouble and heartache within an organization:
- Somebody sends out a rhetorical email, to which no reply is necessary, or it is only necessary to reply to the recipient. Inevitably, two dozen workers “Reply All” and everyone’s in-boxes fill with comments like “Thanks!” or “Got it!” This is an enormous waste of time.
- Somebody sends out an email, and one worker thinks of a wholly inappropriate comment. Instead of replying only to a buddy, the worker hits “Reply All” and humiliates or infuriates everyone in the organization.
- Somebody decides to use the organizational email to sell Beanie Babies or find someone to build them a new gazebo. Workers’ in-boxes then fill with emails from people who are interested, yet not informed enough to realize nobody else is.
How can organizations combat this incredible waste of time (and occasional ruckus-maker), the confounded “Reply All” button?
1. Disable the “Reply All” Button
Some software, as well as some savvy IT workers, are able to disable this email feature. While this can make it difficult for some teams to communicate and collaborate via email, there are other options for collaboration. And offices that have disabled the button report that workers are glad it’s gone.
2. Ban the Use of “Reply All” Within the Company
If disabling the button is not possible in your IT environment, some organizations have simply banned the use of “Reply All”. It does take time to break some people from the habit, but it is helpful if consequences are established for those who fail to obey the rules. Consequences should depend on the workplace, but should be enforced consistently in order to be effective at deterring usage.
3. Use a Plug-In Program to Manage “Reply All”
Some software developers have also created plug-in programs that allow companies to disable the button or to double-check with users who attempt to use it. For example, it can be set to query the user with a message such as, “Are you sure you wish to ‘Reply All’?” This solution at least gives users the opportunity to back out before sending something questionable, and reminds them that they are sending the message out to everyone, not just to the intended recipient.
4. Use a Better Solution Entirely
Tools like Vmoso allow you to personalize the communication “pushed” or “pulled” within a customizable environment. This means users can decide what information they receive and see. For example, users can follow one topic, but remove themselves from another. With access-based sharing (as opposed to copy-based sharing) there is far less redundant information and annoying noise to contend with. This reduces the amount of wasted time and improves workers’ productivity across the organization.
Visit BroadVision.com for a better alternative to the organizational email.