May 30, 2010
Devaluing The Customer
I was tempted to stop reading at this point and bin the letter, but I knew no harm was intended, so continued on reluctantly.
Now I know it's well-meaning, but I find being addressed in this way is a real turn-off. The thought of being someone else's 'valued customer' puts me in mind of an oily huckster, rubbing his hands in glee at the prospect of another quick buck.
In the same way as I don't like to be called 'my friend' by a perfect stranger or 'pal' by someone whose angry tone tells me I'm anything but, the idea of being the 'valued customer' of a brand leaves me cold. Whilst I understand the sentiment (the company wants to tell me that my business matters to them), it's awkward and more likely to drive a wedge between me and them than to bring us any closer.
It's much better for a brand to lose the pompous, over-friendly language and choose words instead that better reflect the real relationship it enjoys with me.
Something along the lines of 'your business is important to us', backed up with evidence of how they value my custom is much more likely to win me over and keep me with them until the end of the message. As it was, only good manners stopped me from tearing up the letter and despatching it to the bin.
Over To You: What type of language from brands leaves you cold?