Customer-Controlled Communication

  • by February 19, 2001
By Adam Bernard

As every customer service rep knows, the customer is always right. But the old adage doesn't just apply to customer service. A recent study by Pitney Bowes showed that businesses could profitably apply the saying to advertising.

Pitney Bowes researchers called it "customer-controlled communications." Businesses can reach customers more effectively if they allow the customer to control when, and how they receive the business' messages, the study said.

Of the 500 people polled, 60% told Pitney Bowes they'd be more receptive if they could choose the point of contact. Moreover, relevancy is a huge concern - 75% of study respondents said they received too many offers not geared toward them.

Pitney Bowes says customers like having a choice as to how they're contacted by businesses and they like to be reached in different ways. Applied to advertising, this means that ads should run in multiple formats if they are to be as effective as possible.

According to this study, people do respond well to banner ads. The 500 people polled kept a log of what they did for five days, and during those five days, 25% of them clicked on a banner ad at some point in time. That means that over the five-day period, 125 people clicked on a banner ad at least once - that's the good news. The bad news is that none of them bought anything from the site the banner linked to, which is all the more reason to move away from click-troughs as a measure of online ad campaign effectiveness.

- Adam Bernard may be reached at

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