Time to turn the volume down

“Too Much, Too Often” (MW October 12), the article about the persistence marketing of financial services companies and the continuing volume-based approach to their direct mailing, struck a real chord with me.

Very recently, I received a DM mailing from my bank encouraging me to phone for a quote for home and contents insurance. They promised that they could undercut most insurers by 25 per cent. What a wonderful opportunity! Except that I already have my insurance with them, which made me feel cheated, then angry.

I then received a follow-up mailing two weeks later and on both occasions I also got a mailing for a loan in the same post. Four pieces of mail in two weeks – two for a service I didn’t want and two for a service I already had and was obviously paying over the odds for.

Why should it matter? Well, it matters because I have been a customer for 18 years and I’ve always had excellent service. I wholeheartedly agree with Jonathan Maiden’s comment that “the inappropriate frequency of financial mailings alienates customers and damages brands” – to the extent that I have stopped being an advocate and am thinking about finding a new service provider.

When large organisations merge, as is the trend in the financial services market, a significant proportion of their customer bases are likely to overlap, either because people hold an active account or policy, or because at some stage they have called up for a quote.

As a customer, I can appreciate that this means sometimes I will get conflicting mail from what is effectively the same organisation. As someone with years of experience in the customer-relationship management industry, however, I have a very good idea of what is entailed in reconciling lists of customer and prospect addresses and how much it would cost. This, I suspect, makes me less tolerant when such things happen to me – especially when I have had a long-term relationship with the service provider.

And what was the cost of destroying our relationship? I estimate it to be a fraction of a penny on the cost of the mailing piece. I think I’m worth more than that.

Rosie Poultney

Senior consultant

Dunnhumby

London W5

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