As you read this and the coming installments, please keep in mind these were written when Amazon, Facebook, Google, Tesla, Twitter, and Yahoo! did not yet exist.
Written: November 1993
[email protected] Every organization publishes a great deal of printed material, advertising, newsletters, direct mailings, press releases, and many other communications. Most of these will have a section somewhere which says, “For more information, call 800-123-4567 or write to Customer Service, at 123 Main Street, Anywhere, USA. “
When a customer has a question or suggestion and does call or write, who answers the question and prepares a reply? And, if this same person also had e-mail at their disposal, wouldn’t that improve their responsiveness?
Why not bypass the postal system to the extent possible and include an e-mail ID on every printed document? Why not say, “For more information, send an e-mail to [email protected]?” You can also include a reference to your other resources: “For additional information, look at our home page on the World Wide Web.”
“What happens if we get swamped with e-mails?” Oh yes, you can anticipate the same push-back as with the other ideas. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful problem to have so many inquiries about your products and services it was a challenge to keep up with them all?
An important point to consider is each of these electronic inquiries becomes a valuable entry into your marketing database. All your electronic information contact points can be designed to ask some simple questions of the people who are accessing your information. Direct marketers will tell you getting the name of a person who already uses e-mail and is interested in your organization is worth measurable dollar amounts in projected future sales.
My reflections – 2022
I find it amazing some companies and organizations still highlight “Please call”. Email or website access should always be the preferred method to reply. Nothing is wrong with providing a phone number, but I believe most people would prefer email or an easy-to-use website. Unfortunately, there are still many websites which don’t provide the answer to your question or they make it very difficult to get a solution to your problem. That is why they want to call. It is not because they want to talk to someone. It is because a dysfunctional website gives them no choice.