Customer Service??

May 31, 2018

This was a fun one. It begins with an email from a company that made a lovely product that I don't use anymore. Their marketing is ok... maybe a bit wordy and self-congradulatory, and strangely hard to read because of typeface choices and sizes, but... 

 Subject Line: I'm sorry, I've let you down 

 Oooh - I like that! No one ever apologizes to me! I'm guessing that they found me on a list of customers who bought several times (their's is a subscription style of product) and then canceled and stopped buying. I'm expecting Allen to apologize for his product letting me down or some such blah blah blah. Ok, you got me - I click open: 

Hey Louis,

Are you still interested in achieving your 2018 goals? 
Allen Co-Founder of XXXXXXX.

Hmmm... Where's my apology? I'm confused. And what am I supposed to? Answer back? Ponder Allen's words? There's nothing to click - no little inviting button.

Feeling a bit full of myself I decided to write back: 

Hmm.. this letter... I understand why you’re sending it, but from a marketing standpoint I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with it. Invite the reader to connect or something. Allen, you and I aren’t friends and don’t know each other enough that I have any compulsion to write you. In fact, I’m only writing now because I’m listening to an audio book on marketing. You can’t trade on a relationship that doesn’t exist. Invite me to do something. 

I hate this fake friends crap in marketing emails. It's like when kids that never said a word to me in high school would hug me at a bar after we were all out of college, and I'm thinking, "Dude, let's not pretend here." 

Allen answered back, but not in a personal way. Clearly no one read my email.

Hey there, 

Thank you so much for reaching out.Cathryn and Allen appreciate your dedication to make each day better than the day before, and they want to help you in that journey.

That's why they brought on Monica, Nicole, and Jessica (our customer success rockstars) to help you with your requests. These three are fantastic when it comes to helping the customers, advocates, and friends of XXXXXXX.

But, like all amazing people, they do need to sleep. They'll be available from 8am-8pm EST (5am-5pm PST) Monday-Friday.

So, if you're reaching us outside of these hours, know that they'll get to you as soon as they get back.
Thanks for your patience. 
Now, go make the most of your day!

I'm caught in a sales funnel and I've no idea what they're selling me. This is a mess.

I have no idea what these guys are talking about. A journey? How is being dedicated a journey? The word choices are weird here. And overall, this is a lot of email just to say, "We'll answer you in the morning." Why not just answer in the morning and not send this email at all? People can wait overnight for a reply - we understand sleep. In fact, email responders can be set up on delays to mimic the schedules of real people, which is useful in furthering the illusion that an actual human being is involved.

Regardless, clearly Allen didn't match his follow-up email correctly to his initial one. The whole thing is coming off insincere now, which really conflicts with the image they're trying to project. 

It's also bad to have a typo in the first line of an email -"Thanks so much for reaching out.Cathryn and..." Put a space in there. Hey! Here's an idea: put the "rock stars" Monica, Nicole and Jessica on proofreading duty!

I wrote this back: 

Oh man, this is ridiculous. First you send a “personal” apology that’s sort of clueless, and then, if someone answers they get a canned reply, so the whole thing is a sham. You’ve blown a lot of capital on this one. What were you all thinking??? 

I'm a bit of an asshole, I confess. I don't do this sort of thing to everyone, but... Allen is special. And here is their reply: 

That’s great to hear. I wanted to start off by saying I’m really sorry.

We’re hosting XXXXXX Unlocked in about a month & we haven’t done a good job with telling you just how much your life is going to change from this one day.

If you’ve loved everything we’ve done at XXXXXXXX so far & you’re not going to this event, we’ve truly messed up.

So I want to really share EVERYTHING about this event & tell you what I’m most excited for. I think it’ll really help you achieve your goal.

I recorded a quick video for you: XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

If you want to grab a ticket or learn more, just take a look here: https://www.XXXXXXXXXXX

Excited to meet you there & talk more about how we can help you unlock your potential. 

Awesome. They're going to change my life with something that they've not explained, and I have no idea what they're trying to get me into. My answer:

Great to hear? I called you all ridiculous.You're not even reading what I'm writing. And good lord, I have no idea what you keep apologizing about. And now you introduce some event called XXXXXX Unlocked and I have no idea where it is or when it is or what it is. Ah! That's why you're apologizing - because you've not sent the info to me yet at all. I guess that's to create some sort of "sales pressure." Ahh... But. You've been apologizing about something for three emails now and I still don't know what you're talking about, I guess some sort of event? Couldn't that very first email you sent me have been something like, "I'm sorry. You were inadvertently not sent an invitation to a fantastic event we're having, and I'm sorry about that. And I'd like to extend to you my personal invitation to meet me at XXXXXXXX Unlocked...." Maybe something like that - clear intent, a clear thing you want me to do, a clear button to click on? 

 The take away here is DON'T GET CLEVER. And make sure your email and its follow-ups are consistent in terms of tone. If you're going to play personal you'd better have a pretty smart Bot online or dedicate some time and staff to answering emails personally. I understand that this company probably doesn't have the resources to do that. All the more reason not to set-up a campaign that depends on maintaining an intimate tone. Again, don't get clever. 

I liked this company's products quite a bit. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't buy from them now, though. I sent Allen and the "rockstars" three email, which strikes me as quite a bit of reaching out, and they didn't answer a single one personally. And I'm not just any customer - I'm someone that dropped a couple hundred bucks and recommended a bunch of people to them because I was a fan boy. And they know all that, because they've got a CRM and are tracking me. Dumb. It's a million times easier to get a previous customer to buy again than find a new customer. 

Now, a last pet peeve. I HATE this "rockstar" thing. Rockstar this, rockstar that. It's like the constant comparisons we have these days to Hitler and Nazis: "This just like when Hitler... He's a Nazi when it comes to... " 

I was in the music business producing records for a long time, and I've been around a bunch of rockstars and wannabe rockstars. Rockstar customer service people... I'm not feeling that, and I'm sure not seeing it in the responses from Allen and Co. 

To be clear: these are rockstars:

Contact us
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Contact Us

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.