We have a curious problem in our apartment, Not something which can be resolved by calling a plumber or electrician.
There are 8 flats in this apartment and we have a small association of owners. We meet once in a while and discuss things such as maintenance fee, current issues, possible solutions etc.,
In paper, this sounds good, But in reality, it’s near impossible for us to gather all the house owners (just 8 of them) in one place. So, we kept postponing these meetings and many issues went untouched.
One fine day, we decided to sort this by using the power of internet. Someone created an Email group, asked all the owners to join there and we started interacting regularly. As we could read / respond to Emails offline at our convenience, this was very useful and we all liked it.
All, except two.
One of these owners, had an Email ID, But never used it. So he missed all important updates and was always raising a flag on every issue ‘when did you discuss this? I am not even aware of it!’
‘But we sent you an Email.’
‘Sorry, I don’t check my mail at all, you should have called me in phone and informed.’
Another owner, didn’t even know what an Email is. In fact, he never touched a computer in his life till date. So, he missed all updates too.
Thankfully, the other 6 owners had active Email IDs, and were checking / responding to Emails. But we could see some mismatches in the frequency of checking Emails, for example, couple of us checked Emails every few minutes, while others did it by end of the day, or even end of the week. As a result, we couldn’t make any decisions fast enough.
To summarize, eventho’ we had an Email group and discussing things, there is no assurance that all the concerned people get updated promptly. This brings down the overall effectiveness of the Email Group itself.
If this is the case with just 8 members, imagine what will happen with Marketing teams trying to push messages to hundreds of thousands of customers in their CRM Database. You may be sending a beautiful Email Newsletter, but 20% of your contacts may never open it, another 20% may open it late, effectively spoiling your party.
With “Social” messages, the risk is even higher. Most of your contacts in the CRM Database, may not be active in Social Media / check updates regularly, What is the point in touching base with them at great expense? May be they need to be contacted in a different channel?
To take care of this serious communication issue, it is advisable for marketing organizations to start analyzing their existing contacts and split them into different buckets such as:
- Email Aware
- Email Active
- Social Media Aware
- Social Media Active
This is just a sample, we may have more buckets like this, but the point is, if we know how active the contact is in various channels (by just asking them, “What is your preferred mode of communication? Email / Phone/ Twitter / Facebook / Others?”) we can push the same message to different people in different channels and expect a higher HIT Rate.
For example, a single campaign message may go to 20% of my contacts via direct mail (Post), another 20% in Email, 40% by Social Media etc., based on the bucket where they are. This way we ensure that a message has a higher chance of making an impact, by not falling on an inactive inbox / facebook wall.
Senior Director, CRMIT
(Originally Published in http://nagachokkanathan.wordpress.com/2012/03/29/why-not-beware-of-inactive-inboxes/)