Automation Customer relationships customer retention Customer service Internet marketing Marketing Small Business Software business The Slight Edge

Wake up those sleeping dogs

Creative Commons License photo credit: flattop341

Every day, I get automated emails. Just like you do.

Most of them are so boring that we never read them, even though they might contain information we need to see.

For example, I recently received an email from Mozy, the online backup service:

Thank you for using MozyHome!

Your credit card ending in xxxx was billed $4.95 today for a monthly subscription to .

We appreciate your business.

– The MozyHome Team

Now contrast it to this hypothetical one:

Dear Mark,

Hard to believe that we’ve been protecting your data for xx months (or since mm/dd/yyyy).

A few stats for you:

  • Your first complete backup was on 09/16/2009.
  • You have 31,266 files on our system, which take up 118 gigabytes of space.
  • Your last successful backup was 12 days ago.

12 days ago seems like a really long time to go without backing up your stuff. Think “I have to redo the last 12 days worth of work”. Ouch. Avoiding that pain is why you signed up for Mozy in the first place, right?

The last thing we want is for you to lose your important data.

You might want to reboot your computer to force Mozy to start again. If that doesn’t get backups rolling again, please contact our support center (it’s open 24 x 7) and we’ll help you fix it.

Yes, this is an automatically generated email, but someone had to write it. That someone was me, and I appreciate what your business does for my company. Thanks for using MozyHome!

Joe Smith
A MozyHome Team Member

PS: Our billing system is obligated to tell you that your credit card ending in xxxx was billed $4.95 today for your monthly MozyHome subscription. $4.95. Not bad for backing up 118 gig of your stuff, eh?

PPS: Even though he works here and wrote this email template, Joe can’t see any of that billing or usage information. Naturally, neither he nor anyone else here can see your files.

The point: Don’t waste opportunities to communicate with your customers. Use them strategically.

Rotate between a small set of templates, perhaps seasonal ones, so that the messages don’t become 100% repetitive and again – go without being read.

Illustrate the value you provide in a way that the client actually cares about and show them that you’re taking care of them even when they aren’t thinking about you.