Wednesday 8 December 2010

Want to unsubscribe? Good luck!

The unrequited junk that comes through my inbox really bugs me - i realise i'm not alone in that. I'm not talking about the real spam, but the terrible efforts of companies trying to solicit my business.

It's bad enough getting it in the first place, but my major gripe is that so often they don't deal with the option to unsubscribe properly. Well, today i have to share one from Shire Leasing (, a finance broker, who really take the biscuit.

The email is not personalised in any way - either name, or email address. They do however display a clear link at the bottom saying "Want to unsubscribe or change your details?" which takes you to a web page, with the standard box with "Please enter your email address".

All seemed good ...i enter my address, but then i receive the message:
"Incorrect email address entered. Please enter the address to which the email was sent."

What? I re-read the rest of the page ....

"Note: Please use the email address that the email you received, was sent to. If the email address you try is not recognised please bear in mind that this email may have been sent to an old email address of yours or that you may have received this email as a result of being part of an email alias, for example you may receive emails that have been forwarded from a ‘sales@’, ‘marketing@’, ‘info@’ email address. "

The problem with this, is that it is not uncommon for a company to have had multiple domains names and email address, and to use forwarding to ensure that email does not get overlooked. But i've tried a dozen addresses and still cannot get one of them to be recognised.

Frankly it's just sloppy - this isn't a company i have opted-in to receive emails in the first place. They don't include my address in the email, but expect me to work out what address they use so i can subscribe from their list? What must Shireleasing think i have to do with my time all day?

The truth of the matter is, that aside from any regulatory requirements, you cannot force a user / customer to stay with you. Offer them a good experience, even if they wish to leave and you should at least retain a positive brand image. Poor customer experiences such as this, whether intentional or not, does more harm than good - not only have you lost a customer but you've also damaged your reputation.

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