Should I request read receipts for my emails?

Are you sending an important email and want to make sure that the recipient actually opened – and read – it? One way to make sure is by requesting a read receipt. Unfortunately, some people do not like receiving them and will not respond.
Frowning, bearded man with hand on chin holding smartphone and looking at laptop
If you’re worried that your email won’t be read on time, is a read receipt the answer?
Learn how and when to request a read receipt, and your alternatives for getting an email confirmation.
When it comes to a time-sensitive topic like a financial transaction or cancelling a service by a specific deadline, it is easy to start getting nervous when there is no reply to your email. In such cases, it might make sense to ask for a read receipt when you send your email.

Should I send read receipts?

An email read receipt can give you some peace of mind when sending an important email – if you request and receive an email confirmation, you know that your email has actually arrived (and hopefully also been read!)
However, the recipient has to agree to send the read receipt, otherwise you will not receive an email confirmation even if your email has arrived. You should also keep in mind that many people consider read receipt requests to be poor etiquette: They find them intrusive or think they signal that you don’t trust them to respond in a timely manner. So it’s best to use read receipts sparingly, saving them for cases where you are conveying critical information. In such cases, however, you should keep in mind that a read receipt is not legally binding proof that your email was received.

Alternatives to email read receipts

Request a reply

Given all these disadvantages, what can you do if you really need to know that your email has arrived? If you are sending an email that absolutely has to get to the recipient by a certain deadline, e.g. to terminate a lease, cancel a subscription, or submit an application, it is perfectly acceptable to request an email confirmation of receipt. Simply add a sentence saying “Please confirm the receipt of this message.” Then if you don’t hear back from the recipient within a reasonable period of time, you can send them a follow-up message.

Email delivery tracking software

If you are sending out mailings for your small business or doing market research, it may also be necessary to find out which emails are delivered and were opened. However, email read receipts are not really useful for this purpose for all the reasons listed above. In such cases, you would be better off with a third-party email tracking solution. In most cases this will take the form of a paid subscription, although some email trackers do offer free basic plans (often limited to Gmail tracking). Depending on the tool, you will be able to see data on whether your emails were opened as well as click rates for links and attachments within the email.

Good to know: Read receipts with mail.com

At mail.com, read receipts are a Premium feature. If you are a Premium member, when composing an email simply click Options in the right upper corner of the window and then check Read Receipt to request one for that message.
Screenshot of mail.com Compose Email window with read receipt option
mail.com Premium members can request read receipts for messages.

We hope this post helped you weigh your email confirmation options! We look forward to your feedback below.

Images: 1&1/Shutterstock
 

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