Among the truths I believe should be self-evident is that when a customer says “No, thank you, I don’t want any more,” the provider should acknowledge this and stop marketing to the customer.
I know this doesn’t always happen, but my expectations are higher for providers in the technology industry, particularly so for publishers whose content includes newsletters on IT policies and best practices, as well as network and data security.
Which is why I am so absolutely frustrated with Information Week and their publisher, United Business Media. Several years ago I made the mistake of accepting a free subscription to the paper version of InfoWeek and giving them my email address. It’s been impossible to extricate myself from their calling and mailing lists ever since. I cancelled my paper subscription a couple of years ago, which resulted in ongoing written renewal campaigns, emails, and finally a series of nearly-stalking phone calls. It got so that I recognized the phone number and refused to answer their calls. Finally, they stopped calling me.
However, this seems to be like the Hotel California: You can check out anytime you like but you can never leave. Recently I found myself on several UBM mailing lists, including one for Dark Reading, which is focused on database security. This e-newsletter includes the standard CAN-SPAM unsubscription notice, which takes me to a webpage that allows me to unsubscribe. I then get a message that I will be unsubscribed shortly, but I may still receive one more weekly newsletter.
This has been going on for months. I have completed the unsubscribe process no less than 4 times, to no avail. In fact, yesterday I commented on Chad Barr’s blog about this process.
Just for spite, a paper renewal form for Information Week showed up in my mailbox yesterday (please tell me they are kidding). And guess what showed up in my email today! That’s right–another copy of the Dark Reading newsletter.
So what started out as something I was mildly uninterested in has turned into communications that really irk me, to the point where I am now blogging about them by name. I wonder if the UBM folks actually track and read comments in the blogosphere about themselves–or are they too busy trying to figure out how to ignore legitimate requests to unsubscribe to their publications?
The lesson for the rest of us is listen to your customers. No, means no–not yes or maybe or I was only kidding. Not listening to what your customers are telling you is the best way to turn a “No, not now” into “No, not ever, in your wildest dreams.”