Yesterday I received two sms messages and three emails beginning with ‘Dear Customer’, ‘Dear Patron’ and “Dear Consumer.” Now, really, that’s a great way to make someone feel wanted. Consumer!!!!!!! You feel like a cannibal.
Me, well, I like people to like me. It makes me feel good to be noticed and recognised and feel special. And the contents go straight to the heart. They tell me I am very important to am, that they would like to establish a closer tie with me, they are confident that I feel the same way, not to mention how excited I must be that their computer has profiled me as the ideal candidate for their new credit card scheme. Yes, sure, thanks guys, but it would make it a lot nicer if you knew my name.
It is very difficult to dredge enthusiasm for the scheme when you call me a customer and it is printed in the letter.
There is something so impersonal about generic addresses that it puts people off. I don’t want to be referred to as a client or a friend (if I am a friend at least figure out my name) The worst is when they say ‘valued customer’ like you had just been promoted from your garden variety customer to a classier level. Either that is there is some non-valued customer out there.
If you really have something to sell to me and your spiel is soggy with affection then have the courtesy of learning my name. You have my address somewhere on your files you have my name. Find it. Otherwise, don’t bother writing. In today’s computer programmed world the facility to list names and expedite printing techniques make the old nameless mailing system obsolete and rude.
Even less honest than the ‘customer’ address is the ‘Dear Sir’ letter. In this one, the writer is trying to curry favour with semi-intimacy. Considering that many women receive these letters compounds the sloppiness and ends up being insulting. I believe that junk mail does not get read because no rapport is established between the script, it’s principles and the recipient. Ho hum, just another couple of trees lost to the waste paper basket.
Not so long ago I received a letter that told me I was a selected client. It went on to say that the whole office was agog with excitement that I was going to be a customer of theirs (Not that I knew anything about it until I read this line) and wasn’t it absolutely wonderful that they and I could work together on their new enterprise and strike great blows for mankind. In the second paragraph there was this poetic thought about how successful people like myself who have no valuable time to spare (all last week I watched Law and Order on the DVD machine) need the new digital whatever gizmo to reorganise their lives and take executive efficiency to another level.
The final paragraph ended up in high key with the chairman of the board telling me it made his day to write to me on this matter and wasn’t it smashing that we were now on a roll. Were we? I don’t even know the chappie and where does he get off establishing all these relationships with me. I read the letter again, savoured the bit about successful people who haven’t got the time and then looked at the form of address again.
All it said was “Dear…” followed by a blank space. They had forgotten to even add “Sir” or whatever else they were supposed to add. Now, I want it known far and wide that I do not like being called ‘dear’ by anyone, even if he is the chairman of the board. – Khaleejtimes