Email is here to stay, like it or loathe it we all use it in some shape or form.
For businesses it can be a blessing as it provides an instant way of sending information to your customers. If that information is an invoice, reminder or just some general customer service information, email is a tool that when used correctly provides a great method of communication.
But as you may have guessed this is #fail month here at Ayrshire Leaflet Distribution we are looking at the mistakes and the things that can go wrong with a marketing or other form of email.
To start I will embarrass myself somewhat just to prove I am not above the odd #fail or two.
I am the secretary of a local community group and as such have to organise all the meetings. For the July meeting we changed the date so I e-mailed the committee members to let everyone know. However, thanks to auto-fill instead of one member receiving the notification my relative in Canada who happens to have the same name!
I never noticed the .ca instead of the .co.uk at the end of the address!
In this case everyone saw the funny side and no real harm was done. It could have been so much worse!
The Servers are Down again – call tech support…..
This is not so much marketing related but we thought it was too good to pass up as our opening shot!
Who hit the wrong button then!
Email is used to great effect in the world of marketing but sometimes, just now and then, someone somewhere gets it horrendously wrong.
Unless you were living under a rock you will know that on 18th September 2014, Scotland held a referendum on independence from the rest of the UK – the people voted No to this. However the retailer Made.com decided to send this out to its customers on 19th September 2014.
Yes, this was sent just hours after the final result of the referendum was announced that Scotland had rejected independence!
In the interest of fairness, Made.com, upon realising its mistake promptly sent out the following as an apology:
Great they admitted their mistake but I think (personal opinion) that the “its great to have you back” a little disrespectful as if you think about it Scotland never left the UK in the first place. I will leave that thought with you to mull over!
To reply to all or not reply-to-all…..
We cannot in all decency do a post about email foul ups without a section on the most infamous way to get noticed in a firm for all the wrong reasons!
Hitting reply to all without realising it!
Now this little button is a great way to get a message out to lots of people who need to know your message quickly – but use it wisely as this HR worker found out (NB – do not read this while eating – you have been warned).
A recounting of a tale that actually happened in my office!
- Accidentally clog the office bathroom to the point of overflowing
- Covertly sneak into the other bathroom, retrieve plunger, and attempt crisis control
- Find plunger requires the insane amount of upper arm strength to be effective. Shamefully visit colleagues in HR and Accounts to get assistance
- Accounts Clerk fixes toilet
- Drop brief email to both parties with mention of incident thanking them for their help
This is where it goes wrong
- HR rep accidentally responds to that email by replying to all on a different thread, this thread includes one of the highest managers in the firm
- HR rep calls me in a panic to apologise as the manager HAS to know about the bathroom incident
- Concoct a less embarrassing version of events to tell the manager
- Die in my office very quietly avoiding everyone for the rest of the week!
Not the most pleasant of stories, but at least this one was kept in the office and was more embarrassing than irresponsible.
Speaking of irresponsible behaviour –
One day in a previous job a colleague came across an image of a shirtless man holding his hands in front of his chest.
However as part of the man’s thumb looked a little like another piece of the male anatomy he decided to screen shot this part and email it round his colleagues.
Unfortunately, instead of a small list of 3 or 4 people, he selected a distribution list that covered the WHOLE ORGANISATION, including the CEO, overseas workers and so on.
The result of this was that the following morning I arrived at the office and the person who was responsible was nowhere in sight, Later that morning, I was informed by my manager that my co-worker was fired on the spot for inappropriate conduct and accessing pornographic material on work IT systems!
This proves that although it is fun to send silly pictures around the office – take care. Even a wrongly worded email can get you in serious trouble!
A co worker of mine was trying to motivate their sales office saying to get your hands dirty and if we had any difficulties closing a sale the girls should shake their little asses and close the sale.
Unfortunately again due to a reply all to the WRONG distribution list, this motivational message reached our CEO.
She found herself out of a job pretty quickly!
We close this little section with a little cartoon which i think we can all relate to
We have all done it – had a moan about something via email but included the person we are complaining about in the email address list!
That is it for this post – but since this is the last post in fail month we thought we would share a few tips so you do not end up on blogs like this in the future
- When composing an email – write the email BEFORE adding who is to receive it. This saves everyone getting a half-finished email if you inadvertently hit send.
- NEVER, EVER use reply to all. Try using the forward button then retyping the people who are to receive the email. A little more time-consuming but those extra seconds are so worth it!
- NEVER, EVER reply to something when you are angry. By all means type a reply (on a word document or notepad). Once you have finished it, leave for half an hour and only if you feel the same way after that time get a colleague to check the email – THEN send it.
- Get second opinions – I am always asking co-workers to double-check an email or a letter before sending it. This gives a fresh pair of eyes on a situation and they may have a better way to word things.
- When creating designs make sure that the message you want to come across actually comes across. Ask someone else, a colleague or a trusted client or someone outside the trade.
- Tread very carefully on social media, triple check every single word you post and if you run a business page make sure you know who you are logged in as. I doubt your customers (or staff) would want to see that video of you downing shots in a bar then throwing up on your business page now would they!
There are many more ways to perform a faceplant while marketing, performing customer service or within work in general. I hope you had as much fun reading these as I had researching and writing them.
By all means share your experiences of any fails you have experienced or even admitted to yourself – its ok we won’t judge.
Over the next 2 weeks we will look at the more innovative ways major and smaller companies use leaflets and other forms of marketing to their advantage and made it work. We hope to inspire you to try something a little different
In the meantime, if you want to take advantage of our services or find our more about our 10,000 free leaflets offer, just get in touch with us on 01563 257120 to arrange an appointment for a no obligation visit to your premises.