When Multichannel Messaging Goes Wrong

3 minute read

dentistWho would have thought that my trip to the dentist would inspire a blog post about multichannel marketing? I recently got a new dentist. It all started off innocently enough, I filled out an online form and expressed interest in setting up a new patient exam. I got an auto response email informing me that someone from their office would be in touch shortly. And then they were. Many, many times.

When I filled out the form, I provided them with my phone number and email address. At the time, it seemed pretty standard. Within hours of sending the auto response, the front desk called my phone. I was in a meeting, so I let it go to voicemail. They left a message. Then they sent an email. Followed by a text informing me that they’d set up an appointment for me at 2pm the following Tuesday. Wow.

At first I was kind of excited that I’d made an appointment without actually having to talk to a living human being or navigate a phone tree. I texted them back to accept the appointment and went about my business. Then the barrage of emails, texts, and phone calls started.

Every time they sent me a message such as a reminder about my upcoming appointment, they sent it through all 3 channels. If I responded to one of them, I would continue to get messages through the other two like I had never responded at all. I got multiple messages informing me that I needed to come early to fill out paperwork, even after I filled out the paperwork online prior to my appointment as they recommended in one of their previous messages. Before I’d even met my new dentist, I was already thinking of him like he was a needy ex-boyfriend who was guilty of drunk-dialing me, only this dude was sending me the same message in multiple formats every single time he contacted me.

I’m sure there are retailers out there who are guilty of similar missteps. It’s easy to see how it could happen. You finally get the ability to contact your customers online, on a mobile device, and over the phone, so you do all three, all the time!

Here are a few tips for anyone diving into multichannel marketing:

1. Think about the end users’ experience. How would you feel in your customers’ shoes? Would you be happy with the experience or annoyed?
2. Give your customers the option to set preferences so that you know how they’d prefer to be contacted and what kinds of messages they’d like to receive.
3. Don’t blast the same message out across all your channels. Personalize messaging whenever possible. If you can’t personalize the message, at least tweak it so that it’s slightly different for each channel and space the messages out so that the customer doesn’t feel bombarded.
4. Send relevant messaging. Don’t retarget your customers with online ads for a $500 watch right after they’ve purchased one, and don’t remind me to come early to fill out new patient forms right after I’ve submitted an online form that included all my insurance information and my social security number. It’s unnerving and makes your customers feel like you’re not really paying attention.
5. Give your customer time to respond. With a little testing, you’ll figure out what frequency makes the most sense for your audience. Find the balance between making them feel spammed and making them feel forgotten.

If my dentist is reading this, please ask your friendly front office staff to dial down their enthusiasm just a notch, and please don’t start sending me daily texts reminding me to floss.

This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: When Multichannel Messaging Goes Wrong

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