Since I conduct a fair number of email campaigns, I am used to seeing a variety of auto-respond messages being sent my way. Some are pretty specific advising that the individual I am trying to reach is out of the office until a specific date. Others advise using another email. Some tell me they are dead and not to bother them anymore!<g>
However, many of the messages I see out there are either poorly written or they are not conveying a very good image of the firm sending these messages. Below is a message I received the other day and the more I read it, the more problems I find:
PLEASE CAREFULLY READ THIS AUTOMATED REPLY: You will only receive this message once in a 24-hour period.
We received your e- mail and thank you for using XYZ Printing. We will call/e-mail you with any questions or upon completion.
FOR THE BENEFIT OF ALL CUSTOMERS (walk-in and by e-mail), jobs taking longer than a few minutes are completed in the order received. Jobs for output only are often done the same day or within two days. If you need to guarantee faster completion, consider printing yourself through our self-serve computers (at 30% savings) OR if we need to put it ahead of other jobs there will be a 50% rush fee.
If you haven’t provided full details, your job could be delayed while we contact you for specifics (ie. due date, quantities, paper color and weight, double or single-sided, b&w or color copies, cut, fold, etc.).
Due to the large quantity of jobs we receive each day, e-mailed files are DELETED UPON COMPLETION unless we are asked to archive them permanently ($5 extra fee). Files are automatically saved when they become part of a graphic design or word processing project that we produce.
Now think about this for a second – They want me to read something carefully that they themselves haven’t read carefully themselves, and they have no idea whatsoever what the incoming email is all about. Instead, it is is being auto-generated and may have nothing to do with the reason for my email? They tell me that jobs are often done same day or within two days, but if I need it faster I should consider using their self-service computers? What the hell does that mean to the typical customer.
Worse – Charging “Rush Fees”? – And in this day and age, firms that insist on applying a 50% rush charge for jobs that a dozen other printers in town would gladly produce for you in 2-3 hours is almost humorous. Charging premium charges for providing services quick is in stark contrast to how this industry was first born.
Worse, this firm states that it “deletes upon completion” all files sent to them! Are they kidding? Oh wait, they will save in on their computer for a $5 fee? This entire message, and many of the ones I see daily, are simply insulting. Granted I’m not buying printing from them, but they don’t know that. By the way, another question… do you really believe the firm is so big when they say, “Due to the large quantity of jobs we receive each day…”? I don’t! Give me a break.
If you wanted to write a book titled, “How to Insult Customers” you could start with some of these auto-respond messages. There is way too much automation going on in this industry, and I strongly suggest that instead of turning everything over to the computers to handle, that the better choice might be in reading some of the thousands of “so-called” junk emails might in fact attract some new business rather than turn it away. To be blunt, I think I know as much about productivity in this industry as anyone, and I can tell you folks (your CSRs and others responsible for answering phones and checking email) are not being worked to death. Most firms are not that busy that they can’t take the time to respond quickly to both emails and return phone calls. Just my rant for the day. <g> Oh, by the way, one more rant… You know those “footer” messages about where trees and paper come from and the confidential nature of this email and if you’ve received it by mistake you should not read it? Get rid of that stuff…. it is nothing but silliness gone amok!