Alistair Blevins eMarketing Blog

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Opinion, theory and general chit chat on the wonderful world of digital marketing

Should we help those who fail to help themselves?

This morning I received my ‘Annual Price Adjustment Notification’ from MultiChoice, my cable television provider. They broke just about every e-marketing best practice rule with their communication. Rather than berate them for their lack of forethought I thought I would offer some constructive criticism.

First off, here’s the email:

 

Dear Valued Subscriber
Please find attached your MultiChoice annual price adjustment notification.

You will need Adobe Reader to open this attachment. If you do not have Adobe Reader installed, please download and install from here

Should you have any queries relating to letter, please send an e-mail with your account number in the subject line to priceincrease@multichoice.co.za for assistance.

This is just another way that MultiChoice will continue to bring you “so much more excellent service.

Regards 

 

Not a particularly offensive email I know. The attachment much the same – the price is going up – no big surprise. It just that one word kept repeating in my mind. Lazy.

Let’s look at the evidence…

Salutation

Starting an email with ‘Dear Valued Subscriber’ is no longer acceptable for a big corporate. Even the most rudimentary of email systems can handle salutations – and given this email had a personalised PDF attachment I would bet that the system MultiChoice are using could do a whole lot more.

Attention to detail

I spotted 3 errors in this email, which doesn’t say much about their marketing communications team or QA process:

  1. No line break under salutation
  2. No full stop at the end of the second sentence
  3. Typo in final sentence – …”so much more excellent service… Where’s the closing “?

Construction

This is by far my biggest bug-bear! 

  • No lightness of touch.
    Why not try and soften the email by explaining why the price is increasing and some of the benefits and enhancements we, the paying customer, can expect to see in the coming year. Have MultiChoice failed to notice that the world is in the grip of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression? Surely they must understand that people are no longer willing simply to accept seemingly arbitrary price increases without reason, or fear of retribution. Lastly, why use such terminology as ‘Annual Price Adjustment Notification’? What’s wrong with a simple ‘annual pricing review’… plain English please!
  • Failure to cross-sell/up-sell
    As a commercial organisation they have failed to capitalise on the opportunity to promote their wider products and services. New channels, forthcoming features, refer a friend, etc. They missed a big opportunity generate traffic and increased revenue.
  • How is the final sentence related in any way related to the rest of the email?
    Can someone please tell me how this ‘Annual Price Adjustment Notification’ is just another way that MultiChoice continues to bring “so much more” excellent service?

Whilst price increases are never wanted, they are a necessary evil. I think we all understand that.  What I do not understand is the lack of forethought that large organisations put into their customer communications – particularly when dealing with price increases in the tough economic times.

I wonder how many complaints this email has generated and how many could have been avoided by taking more time to consider the customer.

So, I’ve responded to priceincrease@multichoice.co.za and have constructively raised the points above. I wait to be surprised with a response, and who knows, maybe more customer-friendly emails going forward. I suspect unfortunately, it will fall on deaf ears.

On a positive note, and I thanked MultiChoice for this, they have provided me with a great blog topic!

Every cloud…

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Filed under: Email, , , , , , ,

5 Responses

  1. Steve Newman says:

    Al,

    Another really interesting post. Did this company send the email purely as a text email? If so they missed out on the opportunity of presenting you with any kind of brand impression. This could have been easily achieved by sendin an HTML email with images. There also doesn’t appear to be any kind of unsubscribe?

    As you have highlighted – poorly conceived and executed!

  2. alistairblevins says:

    Steve,

    Sorry for only replying now!

    I should have pointed out that they did send the email in HTML format although it looks like a 5 minute FrontPage job – picture an HTML email c.1996.

    So many missed opportunities.

    Oh, and definitely no unsubscribe!

  3. […] Africa), for Investec Asset Management, recently highlighted on his blog an excellent example of poor customer communication via email. I was therefore intrigued to receive within a few days of his post another example of an extremely […]

  4. Another really interesting post. Did this company send the email purely as a text email? If so they missed out on the opportunity of presenting you with any kind of brand impression. This could have been easily achieved by sendin an HTML email with images. There also doesn’t appear to be any kind of unsubscribe?
    +1

  5. Adam Torell says:

    It is good to read an interesting blog for a change. There are so many blog posts in existence that are a complete waste of time reading.

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