Friday, November 18, 2016

Boo On These Bad Websites and Marketing Emails

I defend my email inbox fervently.  I started doing this when I realized how much time I was spending by reviewing and deleting marketing emails that were useless or unwanted.

I have completely filtered out a very few people and companies that refuse to honor proper email etiquette.  However, I don't like filtering out emails completely.  I won't see important emails relating to my services or account, for instance.  It's a nuclear solution that I would prefer not to  use.  Companies should realize this and respect customers' requests, and send only emails that really are important. 

Companies should spend make sure that their emails don't annoy their customers -- obviously, if a customer gets an email and wishes to unsubscribe, it should be easy, not hard.  Below are some marketing emails that I've received in the past month that illustrate BAD email practices.  Shame on these companies.

First up are the banks with which I have a relationship.  I have unsubscribed out of all their useless, time-wasting emails --  yet I am still get them.  These are not important emails, yet the banks and companies send them regardless of my email preferences, stating that these are important communications.  Really?

Here's an example from Comcast.  Their excuse in sending me this unwanted email (I've unsubscribed from all marketing emails from them) is that "This is a service-related email. Comcast will occasionally send you service-related emails to inform you of service upgrades or new benefits. " There's no way to unsubscribe from this email.  It supposedly is a "service upgrade or new benefit."

Frankly, that's bullshit.  This is a marketing email that is not of importance to their customers, and it wastes their time.  Comcast is disregarding their customer's preferences and blasting out this email hoping to make their customers sign up for electronic statements.  This email is solely to save Comcast money, so they don't have to send you paper bills.  It's deceptive -- they call it "Eco-billing" trying to make it sound environmentally friendly.  Shame on you, Comcast.  Not only are you sending me emails despite my requesting to not be bothered by your marketing emails -- but you are exploiting an environmental message to further your own agenda.

Another mistake that companies make is not realizing that customers often have multiple email addresses, some of which are aliases.  For example, one diving company keeps sending emails to one of my email addresses, which is an alias.  I can't log on and unsubscribe using that email address -- it exists purely to forward emails to another email address.  Therefore, when this diving company sends me its breathless marketing emails, and I try to unsubscribe -- I can't.  This diving company sent emails to four or five of the emails that I have or had in the past (and which forward to my main email address these days).  I had to go onto the web, use a browser (normally I use Thunderbird, an excellent email program), log into five email accounts, unsubscribe from there (so the diving company sees that the unsubscribe email is coming from the right place), and then log out.  Very annoying.  Most companies who hire professionals to do their marketing allow me to unsubscribe with just one click.

I got this email today, perhaps one of the worst examples of a bad email.  I had to filter emails from this company out completely, because I am absolutely unable to unsubscribe. The email I received had an "unsubscribe" button, but when I clicked on it, I was taken to the company's home page, which required me to log in!  I have no account with this company -- I had simply hired a painter, who then used this company to send me these incredibly annoying emails.

BAD Thumbtack!

How is a customer supposed to be able to unsubscribe?  You provided the "unsubscribe" link in your email, but it doesn't do anything!

Add caption
Clicking on "Unsubscribe" in the above email took me to the Thumbtack login page -- not a page telling me that I had been unsubscribed.  I have no choice to unsubscribe whatsoever. 


As a last example, Hyatt kept sending me marketing emails.  I went to my email preferences three times to unsubscribe from all emails from Hyatt, and each time, Hyatt  would send me another marketing email the next week.  It was ridiculous.  I finally wrote them to complain.  

They wrote back.  I'm glad that they wrote back, but their answer and behavior sure shows that they just "don't get it."  

Here's what they wrote: 
We understand the inconvenience caused over the recent e-mails that have been sent. You may opt out from promotional information e-mails from Hyatt and for your convenience we have already deactivated the option of receiving promotional emails on your Gold Passport account number LDDDDDDD. However, since we are undergoing program changes, we would like to communicate the changes to our members so that they are aware about it and can reap maximum benefits of the program.

So, I took the trouble to unsubscribe from their marketing emails (I was getting two or three per week, way too many emails!).  Looking back, I got Hyatt emails November 1, 3, and 7 -- far too many.  

The reason Hyatt feels that they can ignore my email preferences and continue to blast me with emails is given above: "since we are undergoing program changes, we would like to communicate the changes to our members so that they are aware about it and can reap maximum benefits of the program."  Ridiculous.  If a customer unsubscribes from your spam emails -- leave him or her alone! 

Here are just a few of the emails sent to me by Hyatt in the past two weeks.  
 I received this on November 7:


And this one on November 3...

And this one on November 1: 

Hey Hyatt -- your marketing department is sending out way too many emails, and not honoring unsubscribe requests!   

Oh, I almost forgot the best part of my Hyatt experience.  After deluging me with emails to the point where I had to write to complain, they sent me a final message (before I filtered them), asking me to fill out a survey!  Hyatt just does not get it.  

I am not a rabid anti-email person.  I like getting, and I request, marketing emails from companies that truly respect my privacy and respect email etiquette.  These companies show their respect for email etiquette by their actions, not just their words.