I had an experience this morning that I wanted to share with you.
As some/many of you will know I work in sales for a major software house, based in London. Industry knowledge is an important part of the job so I subscribe to various email lists and RSS feeds which give me the information I need to do my job.
One particular company started to change the mix of their messages to me - more product selling than information delivery. So I decided to cancel the subscription. I checked the email and sure enough there was the unsubscribe link. I told it to open in a new window - fully expecting it to be one of those "Your unsubscribe request has been accepted" type messages. It wasn't. It opened a blank email to the unsubscribe list manager.
Now, you have to understand that 99 times out of a hundred I just hit send. This time I did something different. I sent them a message to tell them why. It looked like this:
"From: Parkinson, Paul
Sent: 26 November 2008 11:52
To: remove@XYZpublishing.com (Not the real name!)
Subject: Reason for removal request.
The signal to noise ratio was too high. Too much “product for sale” marketing compared with the information content. Sorry."
Here is where it gets interesting. I got the following email back - within 10 minutes no less.
"From: SC [mailto:remove@XYZpublishing.com]
Sent: 26 November 2008 12:02
To: Parkinson, Paul
Subject: RE: Reason for removal request.
Thank you for your email and feedback. We always welcome feedback and have found your comments useful. Would you like to still receive our weekly ezine which is an information/news email?
Brilliant! SC turned an unsubscribe request into resubscribe with one great question. Do I want to receive the weekly e-zine? Why yes I do! Thank you very much. And I stayed with them.
Some of you might be thinking "so what?"
They used a human being to capture the unsubscribe requests which is is unusual these days. All too often it's just a machine. It's true that with many large lists the job is a painfully tedious one which could be done "better" by a program BUT could a program have given me feedback understanding the issue I experienced and offer to improve their service to me by fine tuning their lists to my benefit? Furthermore could a program have made me feel better about the company I am doing business with (albeit in a small way) - to the extent I am blogging about it?
I guess what I am driving at is the difference between efficiency and effectiveness. Using a "remove" program is very efficient but a human being is more effective.
As one of my sales trainers from back the day said:
Efficiency vs. Effectiveness - don't mop harder. Turn off the tap.
A little human intervention goes a long, long, way and THAT is the important thing we need to remember in this connected world.
The company? www.ibspublishing.com
Thank you, SC.