If December is about faithful friends drawing near to us, then January, it follows, must be about breaking up with them by email.
So last weekend I did my annual review of things subscribed to, and tossed the ones I don’t like, don’t recall signing up for and that just plain irk me.
You would think after 20 years of push email that we would be better at letting people off the hook. But we are not, and I think it’s one of those gaps between marketing and customer service to which nobody is paying attention.
Let’s start here: I like the clothes at Banana Republic, and it’s a great place to shop with mostly helpful people. Daily emails, however, are cluttering up the joint and adding no value, so away you go. Where’s the unsubscribe thingy? Ah, here’s the Email Preferences link. And here are the preferences. Where’s the part where I can tell them I prefer not to have any emails?
No unsubscribe option here.
Interesting content on the unsubscribe page. A store locator and a place to sign up to receive email updates. Are they kidding? This is a wonderful place for their marketing department to find out why I’m not sticking around, and I’m pretty sure it’s not because I can’t find the store. At the very least, they could express the slightest regret at having me off their list. Not so much. But at least there’s free shipping on my next order.
This place got it right. A lovely expression of regret at our parting and a quick survey to find out why.
Here’s an email list I’ve been on for a few weeks now. Not interested, not even sure how I got on the list. Time to unsubscribe. Scroll, scroll, scroll down through the white space. Ah, here’s the info: Good lord.
If you can’t read this, here’s the text:Warning – If you click the link below you will be disconnected from ALL D + N Agency email communications and benefits that you, as a valued member are entitled to. No webinars. No free reports. No broadcasts. No interviews. No conferences. No special discounts. Once you click this link, you must call 800-980-1626 to reactivate your email communication with us. By Clicking Below You Agree To The Above PERMANENTLY Take Away My Rights To ALL Subscription
Yes please. And hurry! I didn’t receive any “nice knowing you” follow up email or webpage, and I think I’m relieved.
But in most cases, a confirmation is a nice thing. Like this one.
Unsubscribing from Golf Town was a one-click affair from the email (note to Banana Republic – no re-entering of email) and there was an instant confirmation screen like this one.
Even nicer, this email confirming the request and with instructions in case I receive more stuff.
Here’s the thing: not one of my many unsubscribes was followed up with a “nice knowing you”, “sorry to see you go”, “come back anytime” message. Which tells me the marketing department was not in the room when the unsubscribe conversation happened. More likely it was a discussion between the Customer Abuse Department , who just want clean data; the Hand-Wringers who don’t want any trouble and the Productivity Prevention Department who want to get it over with before the code freeze next month.
The trouble is, there’s not a ton of data in most organizations that tie email subscriptions (and blog followers, twitter followers and so on) to actual revenue. I think that’s a dangerous thing and an opportunity to put in place an early warning system that could flag unhappy people long before they start saying nasty stuff on Facebook.