Every now and then I read print magazines (actually I read them all the time, but only occasionally do I blog about them).

Sales & Marketing Management had a nice article about research that Scott Hornstein had done where his firm sends a one line email to the Financial Times World's Most Admired Companies.

To: customerservice (at) COMPANY.com

Subject: Customer Service

Body: What is your corporate policy regarding the turnaround time for emails addressed to customer service? 

Here are two highlights reported in Sales & Marketing Management magazine:

  • 33% answered within 24 hours, down from 63% in 2002
  • 51% answered, down from 86% in 2002 


I sent Scott an email as follows:

To: edit (at) sales&marketing.com

Subject: Return to Sender:


this is in reference to 'The Big Picture' by Scott Hornstein in July/August 2007 issue.

In research that my organization published last month on "The Problem with Email", email is very important to the success of 83% of the over 540 businesses surveyed. Yet, users are deluged with irrelevant, inappropriate, anonymous bulk messages (aka sp&m*) even though the vast majority of organizations have some anti-sp&m technology in place. Sp&m is the third most frequent source of email – after treatment too! As your study shows, the effectiveness of email service may also be in question as well as the effectiveness of the customer service departments.

36% of our respondents' companies have lost business because some email did not arrive, and at least once a week ask or are asked to resend a message that didn't arrive. We know that the email network is reliable, yet the messages aren't getting through and as your study shows, aren't getting back.

I suspect your customer service test message was likely trapped in the junk folder of some well-meaning email hygiene filter, or was not discernible among the thousands of nasty messages in the inbox or junk folder.

Our conclusion is that email filtering technology is getting in the way of the services' ability to effect business. There are alternatives.

You can check out our findings at http://www.brockmann.com.

* BTW, I've spelt that word that way because many filtering technologies consider the use of that word a 'sp&mmy' offense and therefore toss it into the junk folder.

— Peter

[email protected]

— Brockmann & Company | www.brockmann.com

— +1-508-904-0171

"In God we trust; all others bring data." Dr W. Edwards Deming

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