Thursday, 29 July 2010

"Dear Valued Customer"

I recently saw a letter from a large financial services organisation to one of their High Net Worth personal and corporate clients which started with "Dear Valued Customer".

With three words, this organisation managed to show the customer concerned that he wasn't really "valued" at all but simply part of an amorphous group of faceless individuals.

The letter was correctly addressed to the customer by name at the top, so why couldn't they use it after "Dear"? They have enough cash and technology to do a "mail merge" which would result in a letter that at least started with "Dear Mr Smith".

The letter asked for updated information and was accompanied by a two-page questionnaire asking a number of questions to which the organisation already had the answers. For a client of their upper class banking service (I can't use the brand name as this would give away the organisation's identity), this could be more easily addressed with a simple phone call or even a face to face visit. It would certainly make the client feel "valued".

Perhaps the letter had been "approved" by someone in "Head Office" as "suitable", but did it really achieve its purpose (i.e. to gather up to date information on a "valued" client and make them feel "valued")?

One wonders what was going to happen to the questionnaire once returned. Was the information going to be keyed into the "system" and forgotten until the next update, or perhaps used to gather information for a follow-up promotional mailshot? It might well be used for further genuine development of the relationship with the "valued" client.

Whatever happens, one hopes that the organisation gets the information it needs and that it uses it to good effect!



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