The Agony Of Receipt ...

I have a new car, and I took my baby in for its first oil change and “once-over” at the dealership that’s close to my office. It’s not where I bought the car but it is convenient to me for servicing, with a fab wifi lounge and coffee bar so I can get some work done while my hot tamale gets a checkup.

Apparently, in my coffee-addled state I mistakenly gave my cell phone number, my address and my email to the awfully nice and official-looking young fellow at the service desk. While I was not given a choice as to whether or not I had to provide that info, I have apparently set off the nuclear option of a deluge of follow-up that has me dreading every new-mail “ding” on my phone.

In the course of 12 days, I received 4 texts, 2 direct mail pieces, 8 phone calls, and 9 (count ’em 9) follow-up emails from the dealership service center asking for satisfaction ratings, offering coupons, deals, and heartfelt pleas to return soon. 

Is it safe to assume that after only seven days it’s okay to send the “We miss you” email series?

Did I detonate the CRM “Harassment Package” only because I sucked up some free wifi while writing my weekly status report?

Sadly, it appears that I have, and I have also learned that simply ignoring the texts only signals I am playing hard to get and want more. The last text I received from the dealership went like this; “We want to confirm this is your preferred contact phone number to receive texts and alerts about your car regarding any recall or maintenance issues. Please type back ‘yes’ so we can update our records.”

After squelching the urge to text back “Stop in the name of all that is holy ...” back to them, I instead placed my iPhone into “The Dead Zone” (otherwise known as my purse) and hoped I would not hear another text or email come through.

Okay, so as professionals we can all clearly see the crimes committed all over this strategy so I won’t bore you with pointing that out. However, think about the ordinary consumer who sits with the clipboard at a dealership, a doctor’s office, an insurance office or anyplace else that demands information in order for service to occur. The consumer has no choice but to hand over contact info and hope like hell that it gets filed away quickly.

And while they deal with writer’s cramp, now they have to worry that they have agreed to be hounded, harassed and harangued about their thoughts on service from you while you are clearly fishing for compliments. (Sending me a “Satisfaction Survey” for the third time obviously lowers my feelings a notch or two on the opinion scale.)

Why do we think this is a good idea? Who in their right mind sits in an office with “Marketing” on the door plotting out this contact strategy? I want to know who approved this fire hose of follow-up that now fouls up my phone!

While I sort that out, do me a favor, the next time you peruse your contact strategy and follow up, remember the consumer on the receiving end of all this “attention” and put yourself in the shoes of the drowning-in-messages recipient.  

Better yet, test your entire follow-up strategy on yourself and your colleagues, even your family. See if they are ready to send you “swimming with the fishes” by the time the follow-up trial is over.

1 comment about "The Agony Of Receipt ...".
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  1. Jim Rohrlack from Henry House Media, October 15, 2013 at 10:02 a.m.

    Had the same thing happen with both car dealerships and life insurance agents in the last month.

    Follow up is:

    1 call then 1 email on the day you call.
    Then 1 call and 1 email 1 week to 10 days later.
    No response?
    Wait a month and repeat the process one time.
    Add them to your 6-week e-mail list and if they call or email back, great.

    If not, for gosh sakes chase another prospect!!

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