Did you just do a Reply-All to an email and say something you regret… maybe sent some incorrect or worse insultive or embarrassing information. Here’s what you should and should not do.
(In most cases) Don’t bother with Recall
You may be tempted to use the Recall button that is built into Outlook but we really don’t recommend it. Why?
It does not work in many cases including when:
• The original message has been read. This can occur even when the email has not actually been read i.e. when the message is displayed in the Preview Pane or Reading Pane.
• The recipient is not using Outlook
• The recipient is not logged on to the mail service provider.
• The recipient is using Cached Exchange Mode and is working offline.
• The original message is moved from the Inbox.
In most cases, recipients will get an additional message saying that you want to recall the message. In our experience that makes recipients even more curious and they end up going and reading your original email which they may have been ignoring until then.
What you can do now (that the email has already been sent)
If you have sent incorrect information, you may want to do another Reply All immediately with something similar to the following.
Please disregard my earlier email because it contained incorrect information. I will be sending another email soon with the corrected information.
My apologies for any confusion caused.
Then take your time and send the corrected information.
If you feel that you may have offended someone in the Reply All, then we recommend that you send the person a one-to-one apology email, or even better pick up the phone and call them. You could also ask them if they would like you to do another Reply-All and apologise in the email thread.
How to avoid Accidental Reply-Alls (Prevention is better than cure)
Thousands of users around the world are already using ReplyGuard for Outlook. It prompts users for confirmation whenever a user clicks Reply-All.
You can use ReplyGuard on its own or use the full SendGuard which includes ReplyGuardGuard, DelayGuard and SendConfirm.
DelayGuard keeps your emails in your Outbox for a pre-set time thereby giving you time to change your mind.
SendConfirm does a final confirmation prompt with the names of recipients after you click Send.
Together these prompts help keep your companies safe from accidental reply-alls and other situations where confidential information could accidentally be sent to the wrong person.
SendGuard and ReplyGuard are already used by companies of all sizes around the world. Please contact us for more information or click on the image below to download a free trial.
In this post we look at 3 simple mistakes that emailers make that can cost their companies everything from a few wasted minutes, to upset co-workers to lost clients.
We also look at steps that organizations can take to protect their people and themselves from these mistakes.
Hitting Reply All too often
Just because the email that you received was addressed to multiple people does not mean that your reply should also go to them all.
We all already receive too many emails and it can be annoying to receive emails with one or two words acknowledging receipt of the emails etc.
They may not be as bad as spam but they have a similar effect… they take our attention away and waste our time.
For Individuals: Your unneeded reply-to-alls could be annoying your contacts and even training them to start ignoring your emails. Think carefully before you click Reply All.
For Organizations: Unneeded Reply-All emails cost businesses many hours of lost time and productivity every year. Reclaim this time by using addons that get users to confirm that they do in fact want to email everyone when they click Reply-All.
Forgetting to email everyone
On the flip side to the above, sometimes a Reply-All makes senses (or at least a Reply-to-Some of the original recipients).
This may be required to keep everyone in the loop or for your own personal protection.
For Individuals: Always check if an email has multiple recipients and decide who should be part of your reply
For Organizations: A lot of valuable time can be wasted resending emails to missed recipients. Use an addon similar to SendGuard which will prompt when you do a Reply (and not a Reply-All) on an email with multiple recipients that you may also want to include others in it. SendGuard even lets you change the recipients without having to go back to the email.
Emailing the Wrong Person
Outlook has a great (and also greatly dangerous) feature called Auto-Complete. You don’t need to remember anyone’s email address… type in a few characters in the To, CC or BCC field and Outlook fills in the email address for you.
Unfortunately, this makes it very easy to accidentally send the email to the wrong person. The Internet is fill of disaster stories where this has led to lost clients, large lawsuits etc.
For Individuals: Check your email’s recipients before clicking Send. Better yet, install software similar to SendGuard that will display the recipient’s name(s) to you again before sending the email out.
For Organizations: Deploying software similar to SendGuard for Outlook may also provide additional legal protection because it shows that the organization took extra steps to protect against accidents of this king.
How to Protect Yourself and Your Organization
Our SendGuard for Outlook is already protecting thousands of Outlook users in businesses of all sizes around the world.
- SendGuard detects potential mistakes in emails and prompts users before emails get sent out
- Organizations may have additional protection in lawsuits because (if needed) they can show that they took extra steps by using SendGuard to minimize incidents of mistakes such as this.
SendGuard consists of a number of different email security features, but based on user feedback we recently introduced the new SendConfirm and Reply Guard bundle to specifically protect against the mistakes identified in this post.
The web is full examples of what the dangers to organization due to emails sent to the wrong email address (including one that may have led to a $1B settlement). What are the risks to your organization from these kinds of mistakes, and what you can do to manage those risks? We answer these questions and also look at a solution that several large companies are now implementing.
How do these mistakes occur?
These mistakes typically occur when a user accidentally sends an email to the wrong person. The normal reason for this would be that there may be two people with the same or similar names.
Unfortunately Outlooks Auto Complete list (which generally helps by displaying a list of matching names and email addresses as you begin to type) makes these kinds of mistakes even easier to make.
(Strategy) What can you do to reduce the risks from these kinds of mistakes?
It is probably impossible to eliminate mistakes of this kind altogether. Therefore your organization’s strategy should be based on:
- Configuring Outlook to reduce the chances that users will make these mistakes
- Be able to show (in the event of litigation etc.) that your organization took reasonable action to prevent mistakes of these kinds
What can you do:
The actual actions you can take include:
- Asking users to be more careful and pay more attentions before emails are sent out.
- Turning off Microsoft Outlook’s Auto-Complete feature.
While both of the above are theoretically good solutions, they may not work as well in the real world for most organization because:
- Irrespective of how careful people are, mistakes are inevitable (it’s part of being human).
- Auto-Complete is actually a very useful feature and it is painful and counter-productive to use Outlook without this turned on.
Is there a better solution?
Yes! Send Confirm is an Outlook addin that integrates inside Outlook and automatically prompts for confirmation before emails are sent out.
The domain is highlighted in red as the greatest damage can be caused if confidential information is sent to the wrong organization.
Send Confirm has been designed with the needs of both small and large companies in mind.
- The warning prompt can be customized based on corporate/legal guidelines and policies
- Special filters can be setup to control when the prompt gets displayed (external emails only, all emails etc)
- All settings can be set and deployed centrally
We’ve actually Send Confirm available to users for several years as part of Send Guard for Outlook. However at the request of several larger organizations, we have now packaged Send Confirm as a separate component to make it more cost-effective for wider deployment in organization.
Please contact us at email@example.com for more information on how Send Confirm can be used to protect your organisation.
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