Are you being heard ?

marketing technology, e-newle Are retailers really listening ?

Two interesting studies I have come across that highlight the place of technology in the relationship between organisations and the customer.

The first polled over 1,000 people to gain their opinion on how technology affects their dealings with organisations, the other a poll of over 100 top online retailers which involved signing up and analyzing their e-news letters.

While positive’s are within the reports the overall picture is not particularly favourable

First impressions count – e-newsletters

Within the online world there is an expectation of timeliness to communications and fulfilment, delay in these aspects can only damage perception and customer loyalty – with differentiation of products and services becoming less obvious this is one key element companies must use marketing technology to excel in.

Of the 118 retailers whose e-newsletters were subscribed

  • 20% took more than 30 days to deliver their first regular email or failed to deliver at all.

  • 30% didn’t deliver their first regular email within 14 days two weeks of the subscription date.

Consider this : the Spamming act ( excerpt ): The spam act - Any opt-out mechanism you offer must be able to process opt-out requests for at least 30 days after you send your commercial email. When you receive an opt-out request, the law gives you 10 business days to stop sending email to the requestor's email address.

The report points outlines the 10 days un-subscribe limit being reduced, this would impact these organisations and open them to spam reporting and abuse - simply because of their slow time to react and respond.

Frequency and subscription


Over 93% of the retailers gave no indication of how many emails to actually expect. Setting this level of expectation firstly confirms with the consumer their preferences, also by allowing them to consciously choose and decide you are entering into a dialogue – they will also ‘ expect ‘ and are more likely to read the email once delivered.

Add to this options on the content type and the format by which they wish to receive, you are tailoring the communications to what the customer actually wants, not what your marketing department would like to send.


The confirmation page is becoming more frequently used, with single email address subscription being asked for initially – further detailed capture of user information is only then being asked for in the confirmation email.

Splitting this into two parts benefits the user in not having to labour over multiple pages in the initial sign up phase. The retailer will undoubtedly have higher response rates and is able over time to slowly request information, using offers and information as reward.

People's view on Technology

There seems to be more examples of how things are done badly in the customer service world than good. Technology is used in many ways to assist our dealings with organisations, but are they really interested in the customer or merely meeting a need which they have to fulfill – begrudgingly.

Presenting first line contact centre’s with relevant information on customers is nothing new, however how this is used, the tone and the type of dialogue during these conversations can make all the difference in maximizing both the satisfaction for the customer and can give increased sales opportunities to the organization.
marketing technology.
It confirms this by highlighting over 60% of people think technology should make communicating with the brand easier and a similar number think they should be instantly known by the company, no matter which division they are dealing with.

However it seems there is a long way to go in achieving this :

Speed matters more to companies than customer service , 78% of consumers believe that companies focus on the speed of transactions rather than customer service and that the technology used is too impersonal.

Perception versus reality ?

Two-thirds of the people we spoke to said they’d regularly encountered difficulties when dealing with a company over the phone when attempting to do something as simple as placing an order or making an inquiry.

  • Over 90% of consumers don’t think that the technology is available to make things easier when dealing with a company over the phone, through the web, on e-mail or even via SMS.

  • Over a third of consumers think the technology to know who they are and what they want,whatever part of the business they deal with, is at least five years away.


Retail Email Subscription Benchmark Study

'Computer says no': British consumers slam customer service merry-go-round

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