Volume 15

Communicating With Your Customers

What do you expect your customers to get out of your communication with them?

After buying a new microwave, I was amused (and slightly annoyed) to receive the following email after registering it on-line:

Dear Customer,

Thank you for registering your ........ Product Online.

Your registration has been succesfully (sic) processed with .............

Your Customer ID has been created for your convenience.

Customer ID: .........-.........

Please use this customer ID no whenever you contact our Customer Care Center at .........

For more information you may log on to our web site at http://.....

Warmest Regards,

......... Customer Service



This is an auto-generated email, please do not reply as it will not be seen by our staff.


What was the point of sending me this email? Here is a golden opportunity for this manufacturer to communicate with me, and this is all they can come up with.

Do they really expect me to keep this email just for a customer number? Who are they kidding? I sincerely doubt that a ten digit customer number was created for my "convenience". More likely it will be convenient for them if I memorise this number and have it handy when I call in two or three years to report that my microwave has broken.

I wonder why they have not even attempted to promote their other appliances to me. Obviously I selected their microwave from a number of competing products, and brand surely had some impact on my choice. This email contains no branding, no logos, and without careful examination, you would never guess that it was sent from one of the world's largest appliance manufacturers.

At the very least, they could have provided some useful information about my new microwave. Tell me more about what sets this microwave apart from the others, and when my friends come over and admire it I could be passing this information on. How about a few recipes to get me started and thank me for registering?

Lastly, I loathe receiving emails where the "from" address is do-not-reply@xxxx.com, or when I am instructed not to reply because no-one is listening. This practice is becoming very common and in my opinion it shows a total disregard for the customer. To me it feels like they are saying "we don't want to hear from you". What marketer in their right mind would call a customer and refuse to provide a return phone number? Refusing to accept email communication will alienate many customers who prefer email communication.

It is a shame that a company can spend so much time and money on marketing to sell me a microwave, yet so little on the after-sales relationship. In an industry where repeat business is essential, I would expect more.

This month I'd like you to remember that every communication you have with your customers should have a purpose. Ensure that you carefully consider the impact that your email marketing will have on your customers and your relationship with them. Put yourself in their shoes. And please don't ask them to remember a ten digit customer number.