Monday, May 4, 2009

E-mail Marketing - Part 2

A couple of weeks ago I posted about my obsessive, sometimes futile attempts to have my e-mail address removed from marketing lists. In some cases the e-mails are from organizations I have done business with, but often they're not.

Today, after several unsuccessful unsubscribe attempts, I decided to call the customer service line of one such offender and see if a personal touch might do the trick. This organization is a frequent shopper reward program. I am a client and overall I am very happy with their services. It's just the two to three unsolicited, promotional e-mails a week that I find annoying.

My first point of contact, a friendly customer service rep, said she had "no clue" why I was getting the e-mails because my account confirmed that I chose not to receive them. When I referred to the company's privacy policy, she immediately transferred me to a supervisor, another pleasant representative who was equally baffled and assured me she had never heard of this happening before.

She promised to forward my question to the I.T. department but declined my request to have someone follow up with a status report because they just don't do that. I asked if she could take responsibility for calling me back when the problem is fixed and, after about ten minutes of begging, finally said that she personally doesn't call customers back but would have someone else do it within five to ten business days.

This seemed like a long time to look into a problem but she assured me it was fair. I asked if I could have her extension in case by chance, the follow-up call never came and she said she didn't have one. When I queried how someone gets a hold of her in an emergency, she said they call reception and leave a message so I asked if I could have the reception phone number. Her answer: they are not allowed to give out that number.

How weak is an organization's confidence in its ability to handle customer complaints if they are afraid to give out the main phone number? I know my own business is nowhere near the size of this corporation but if a client called me with a problem, I would do everything in my power to fix it and provide a solution within hours and I would take pride in personally following up to make sure they were satisfied.

How hard is it to apologize, investigate and follow up? I'll let you know in five to ten business days.


  1. I will recommend using for all permission based e-mail marketing needs. Its the best free desktop email marketing software I have used so far.

  2. I wondered how long it would take for my post about spam e-mail to receive a comment from someone pitching e-mail marketing services. less than 24 hours. aah, the sad irony.