In our most recent tests, we found great improvement in the quality and
timeliness of responses to Web-based queries. However, we found that the “look
and feel” of email responses left a lot to be desired. The typical bank response
was a few lines of text and perhaps a link or two to general information. And
because of poor choices in the FROM and SUBJECT fields, the responses looked
spam like and easily overlooked.
Compare those bank messages to email responses from leading Web-based
retailers and service providers such as GoDaddy, an Internet domain name
registrar (screenshot below). Most savvy retailers use graphically
appealing HTML messages to get their point across effectively, and when
appropriate, up-sell the user on a solution that solves their problem. In the
GoDaddy example below, I asked a question about website capabilities and
received an excellent response along with an appropriate upsell into their
$3.95/mo hosting option (see note point 4 on the screenshot below).
GoDaddy knows shows their savvy in responding to customer service inquiries.
Not only is it good looking and answers my question, it arrived eight minutes
after the question was submitted, beating by three minutes the
expected call center hold time listed on the website. That’s how to deliver
e-service, faster than alternative channels. The email response grabs your
attention with a well-designed layout including the following (see
corresponding numbers above):
1. Answer to my question (at the top)
2. A real person responding to the question
3. Link to a privacy
4. Banner to select the service upgrade about which I had inquired
5. Phone numbers for customer support
6. Repeat of my original question (not visible on the
My only major complaint with GoDaddy’s message is that it fails to identify
itself in either the email From field (it used “Support”) or the
Subject field (it used: “Other: One page website incident 040506-001360”).
In comparison, the typical bank response is delivered in plain text with few
helpful links. Following are examples of banks responses to a general
non-customer query via their websites.
The question posed: Do you offer overdraft protection that does not
charge for each advance?
Email response from Chase to a question about whether they
offered no-fee overdraft protection: The speedy response, 41 minutes, answered
the question correctly and concisely and provided a phone number for more
information. However, there were no links in case I wanted to sign right up for
the account I asked about. Score: A for service, D for sales. (09 Apr 2004)