Email Blunder Or Opportunity?

The following is a true story. The names have been changed so I don’t get in trouble.

Pat, the Director of Marketing at a “just right” sized financial institution (i.e., not too big, not too small) inadvertently sent out emails to a small — but not insignificant — number of customers under her (or his) own email address instead of the financial institution’s. Pat didn’t send out another email explaining what happened, deciding instead to see what percentage of emails would be reported as spam. Considering the situation, Pat also wanted to see what the open and response rates on the inadvertent emails were, compared to the correct emails sent under the FI’s name.

My take: I thought Pat should have immediately sent out a follow up email explaining to the group what had happened.

My rationale: Whether or not people think it’s spam, they might not realize it was a mistake. Hiding your mistakes is never a good strategy. In fact, one of the key elements of being perceived as a customer advocate (doing what’s right for the customer and not just bottom line at the expense of your customers) is being transparent and proactive about fixing mistakes.

To me, this was an opportunity to differentiate the firm. Granted, I’m just a data point of one, but if I got an email from the marketing director of my bank, apologizing for sending an email from his/her own email address, I would be impressed. Not only would it put a little more of a human face on the bank, but I would appreciate the fact the s/he acknowledged the mistake and took a proactive step.

What would you have done?


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