A few weeks ago we started getting what I called “subscription spam” through our e-mail newsletter sign-up forms. It seems that comment spam attacks are mistaking e-mail sign-up forms for comment fields. Apparently e-mail lists are now collateral damage in the comment spam wars. Because we use a double-opt-in process we saw bounces from the fake e-mail addresses the spammers were using. That’s how we knew this was happening. And it was getting pretty irritating because these automated tools were becoming more aggressive and we were seeing several bounces per hour from these silly things. Worse still, the bounces were coming back from big portal sites and from their perspective it looked like we were spamming them! I sent off a note to Campaign Monitor to see if they had been seeing this with other clients, but it seemed we were the first ones with the problem. The way Campaign Monitor turned this complaint to their advantage is a great lesson for all marketers…
Rather than give us the typical “your problem not ours” answer, David Greiner at Campaign Monitor started working with us to figure out what was going on. We did a bunch of tests on our site using code variations they came up with until we found something that did the trick. Today Campaign Monitor rolled out an upgrade to their service that includes the changes they first figured out using One Degree as a guinea pig. To me this is a great example of how to use in-bound e-mail and customer complaints in general as an asset rather than a burdensome, but necessary cost centre.
Campaign Monitor shows us how to do this right:
- Read your support requests and reply promptly.
- Have those designing the service involved in customer support so they can feel the pain of their decisions and will feel motivated to fix problems as they arise.
- Don’t abdicate responsibility even when at first the problem doesn’t appear to be yours.
- Take advantage of passionate users who’ll help you figure out how to improve your product for their needs, and then roll those enhancements out to the broader customer-base.
- Use a blog to keep customers up-to-date on what you are doing with the product and to share knowledge between customers.
- Give props to those who help out. They might just blog about you too. (Thanks for the link David!)
Originally published at www.onedegree.ca on September 27, 2005.