I haven’t had time to blog as much as I’d hoped. So here’s one for now. The weirdest email I received in 2016.
Let me sum this one up for you.
Elizabeth (full name and email address obviously not mentioned here) emails me to say that I (Debbie Levitt) am an instructor at General Assembly.
Elizabeth found one of my blog posts where I mentioned that I was NOT an instructor at General Assembly but that I recommended them and heard good things. My point in that post was to recommend them without people thinking I’m biased in any way.
Elizabeth then says that, “Full disclosure and trust is very important to” her. Yes, me too! That’s why I’ve always said I have never worked for General Assembly.
Elizabeth writes, “Was disappointed to find out that your company would rather manipulate potential customers, rather than be honest. I will no longer be frequenting the site.”
I’m not an instructor at General Assembly. Never was.
Interviewed for it twice but they had previous instructors return and said they didn’t need me… but they keep looking at my LinkedIn profile. 🙂
GA is not on my LinkedIn as past or present work experience. They’ve never hired me to do anything.
I’m recommending GA based on hearing good things about them but wanted to know people I wasn’t recommending them because I work there (and recommending them lines my pockets). Elizabeth would like that!
According to Elizabeth, I am manipulating potential customers (Ptype’s or GA’s? not sure) because in my blog I am (I guess) not telling you the truth when I say I wasn’t a GA instructor.
So let me say this again.
I have never taught at General Assembly.
I have spoken at non-GA events held at GA. I have spoken at Meetup.com meetings that used GA space. I have mentored at startup competitions that used GA as meeting space.
I have never been a GA instructor. Even if Elizabeth is sure she was aware that I was.
I just Googled this.
I just Googled this and found something very strange. GA lists me as an instructor… of an Axure class I was going to hold in Los Angeles but cancelled. It never happened but the old page is still up.
I was going to be your “Axure instructor” at a workshop I scheduled at GA but had to cancel.
I’m still not a GA instructor. I don’t teach anything there and never have. I’ve emailed GA to see if they can take that weird reference down. No reason to list me as an instructor for an Axure workshop that was scheduled years ago but never happened. They took the page down without question.
And how sad that someone believed that over me saying I’ve never taught there! Still true: I’m not and never have been a GA instructor. I would have been your Axure workshop instructor had the class happened! But it didn’t.
Strange to watch someone not believe me for telling the truth, but that feels kinda 2016. 🙁
So enjoy the weirdest email I received in 2016. Bests to you too, Elizabeth.
Sorry me telling the truth made you lose trust for me. But hey, it’s the truth. I’ve never worked for GA and if I recommend them, it’s unbiased because I’m not now and have never been an instructor there.
I can’t believe this is still a thing. Based on the request to renew the license of my FTP software, it still is a thing.
This email is coming from an unmonitored account or so says the copy. Yet when I hit reply, the email went to sales@.
That’s the right thing to do… though they do need to update their form email to say you can hit reply if you need help.
Every email you send should allow replies.
The reply doesn’t have to go to the same person, department, or mailing list that sent the email to the recipient. But if people naturally hit reply, let that email go SOMEWHERE where it gets attention.
Perhaps that reply generates a support ticket. Perhaps it goes to a real person or team. But it shouldn’t go nowhere.
And we shouldn’t even message people anything that sounds like they won’t be able to easily get service or support. Need help? Hit reply. Make it easy for them.
Recently, we have had some people fill out the forms on our website, choose to provide no phone number, and only give us their email address. That could go well. Unless…
You spell your own email address incorrectly.
We have had 2 people in the last week or so email us and give us an email address that bounced. The first person had a very uncommon name and we were able to track that person down. The second person has an uncommon name but hard to find. On LinkedIn, someone with her name seems to manage an eyeglasses shop… unlikely to be looking for Axure training.
If you emailed us and haven’t heard from us it’s because we can’t reply. You didn’t give us a phone number. You didn’t spell your email address correctly. And we can’t find you online.
Please email us again, check your email address spelling, and include a phone number! Thanks.
I filled out a web form to find out if a time share place had better rates on a possible hotel stay than the hotel is offering for those dates. I sent the form in. I quickly got this back:
Oh! You decided to have a web form sent to an email address you don’t use anymore, and you want ME to take some extra steps to contact you. I wonder who at that company had that great idea. Nicole and Maddie? Their hosting company? Their web guy or gal? Who decided this?
These people are new to me. I don’t feel tied to them at all. So it’s easy for me to give up and disconnect completely. Additionally, I had no idea what their email address was. Abandoning an email account or changing your email address should be invisible to the user. I shouldn’t have any idea that anything has changed, especially on my first interaction with you.
Because what should really happen is both of the following things:
- Forward that old Yahoo or Hotmail email to your new email so you don’t miss emails. Why run the risk that you’re missing emails, and why assume that every person who contacts you will take the time to try contacting you again?
- Have your web guy or gal update your online form so that it sends to the correct email address that you actually pick up. Don’t show me how lazy your business is that you couldn’t spend $20 having a high school student change 50 characters of HTML so this form goes to the right email.
This happened. How? Why? Which part of “unsubscribe me” makes it sound like I want to be on this list for 10 more days?
How is it that your email system doesn’t email who’s on your list when it’s time to send? Does that mean your email list is sending to people who opted out and NOT sending to people who recently joined?
Does it take ten days to get on the list? I don’t know. I didn’t sign up for this list. I was being spammed. But I bet it doesn’t take 10 days to join the list.
Unsubscribes should be immediate. And you should never put someone on a mailing list unless they opted into YOUR list. Buying a list off a friend doesn’t mean those people want to hear from you. They might not even want to hear from your friend.
I had booked a bunch of flights before I was approved for TSA Pre Check. I then needed to add my Known Traveler Number to all of my flights and frequent flyer accounts. Some made that easy… JetBlue had an obvious spot to add it to my profile and my upcoming flight. United was also easy. Got it in my account.
I couldn’t find where to do it in my Southwest Airlines account. So I emailed them. I got a reply that my email would be answered within 48 hours. Click to enlarge:
Within 1 day, I got a reply that explained their TSA Pre Check policy AND hey, they took care of it for me! Thanks, Southwest.
US Airways was next. Their site drives me crazy. The visual design is OK but the interaction design makes me crazy. There seemed to be no way to add my KTN to my upcoming flight or my frequent flyer account. So I went to Contact Us to send them an email. This was the auto-response to my email. Click to enlarge:
Please allow 21 days for a response. Maybe 30 days if we have to look something up. It takes up 9 more days to look things up.
Insane. In today’s modern world of immediate communication, why should this take weeks? Why can Southwest do it in 1-2 days and US Airways needs weeks?
By the time I wait for their email, I will have taken my flight. So then I called them. 23 minutes into being on hold, I noticed that the recording was making Mother’s Day suggestions. Mother’s Day passed. Does anybody over there care about any sort of customer experience?
If you need more than 2 days to handle support emails, you need to take another look at your email support programme.
Shouldn’t happen. The person in charge of US Air’s email support team should ask himself or herself if he/she would be happy with a company that needed a month to write back (especially when the email is about a flight in 10 days). No? You’d want to hear back within 2 calendar days? Then fix that.
I tried Eat24 the other day mostly by mistake. I was home sick, looking at the menu of a local place we eat at with some frequency. I wanted lunch takeout. And it looked like they had just added online ordering! Good for them. Delicious place.
So I had my first Eat24 ordering experience. It went fine. No real complaints. But last week, I got a follow up email encouraging me to use them again. Here’s a screen shot of as much of the email as would fit on my 32″ monitor (I’d have to scroll down to see more, which I assumed were just boring terms and conditions). Click to enlarge.
OK. Two things struck me immediately.
- What is this coupon for? I mean, how much do I get off and is there a minimum purchase?
- When does it expire?
As a UX chick with plenty of toes dipped into marketing (and especially email marketing), I was really surprised that this info wasn’t clearly presented to me.
I was just about to go to the next email in my inbox when I scrolled down. This was at the very bottom of the email. Click to enlarge.
OK. So now I know I get $2 off if I order $10 or more. And the coupon is good for 14 days. Which is weird because I then noticed that the email subject line was, “Your Weekend Coupon.” Evidently it’s not my weekend coupon. It’s my next two weeks coupon. Whaaaaaa?
I’d suggest that this email be redesigned to be more compelling. What is my discount? Punch me in the face with exciting savings. I’ve got two whole weeks to use it? Good, that makes me more likely to keep it in my inbox to remind me to try to use it. Don’t hide these things in terms people are unlikely to read.
I also think you could eliminate a few inches of length in the email twice. First by putting 2 call to action buttons next to each other. Second by cutting the whole “how to use a coupon” section down to one sentence just letting me to know to enter the coupon code on the checkout page.
I do like how Eat24 will save orders and let you quickly re-order. I think that’s a great feature, and I like that the email reminds you of that. But I think this email could have been shorter, punchier, and more compelling with some changes.
Airport WiFi. Why does it have to suck so much? Why do I have to agree to so many things and watch a video before I can get it?
This one was special. This was the Dallas airport, also knows as DFW. I was actually connected (which you’ll see as tiny orange text in the bottom left). But if you DON’T read carefully, you’ll think you need to fill this out to get on the WiFi.
Who the HECK would want to knowingly opt in to receive emails with the “latest and greatest” about the DFW airport? Who came up with this???
In June, I decided to try a hotel I’d never stayed at before. The oddly-named Hotel Menage was a cute little place walking distance from Disneyland.
Before I left, I was surprised to get an email from them that was basically a weather forecast. I thought that was clever. Better than the long, cluttered emails I get from Hilton properties which mostly confirm the stay. Click to enlarge: