Do you know what a Return Email receipt is? Many folks don’t even know about this functionality that lies within their email programs. A return receipt creates a return email that lets you know you when and if the recipient has received your message.
Some email programs offer Delivery and Read receipts. One means the email was delivered, the other opened — not read as it implies. There is no way to confirm if an email has been read.
Return Receipt = Discretion
I recently had an email from a business associate asking how and when one should use Return Receipts (RR). Apparently an individual that he does business with is making this request with every single email that they send.
Return Receipts, RR for short, are a way of knowing that an email has been opened on the recipient’s computer. RRs need the recipient to acknowledged the RR or Read request. If the request can be declined, what is the point?
Overuse of RRs
Do you have business contacts who have this feature on for every single email? There are those that seem to want to know when you receive their email even if the content is not critical or important. Clearly a control thing. Or, every once and awhile, it turns out they are not aware this option is engaged.
If you think it is the latter, nicely emailing them with a “Did you know…..?” can let them know this is not a feature to be used for every single email.
Few and Far Between
RRs are to be used sparingly, if at all. Being they can be automatically declined as I and many others do, there is no constructive purpose other than when both parties agree to use RRs and acknowledge them. For example in cases of important papers or legal documents.
I’m sending the documents shortly with a Return Receipt. Can you acknowledge the receipt request so I know you received your copy? Thank you!
For those who use RRs with every email, think of it this way… What would you think if every time you heard a voice mail or opened a postal letter it was immediately reported back to sender that you had heard/opened their communication?
And if you didn’t want that report to be sent, you would have to make the effort to decline this from happening. That’s what happens with email RRs. Sending with every email when not absolutely necessary can be irksome at best.