Business development · 27 September 2017

Swift and accurate email transactions now critical to customer retention

Email remained ahead of social media as the preferred point of communication for consumers
Email remained ahead of social media as the preferred point of communication for consumers

Over nine in ten UK consumers would consider using a competitor if a brand’s email transactions were not up to scratch, as new research confirms the importance of accurate and brand-consistent purchase confirmations, account notifications and e-tickets.

The study, by email service provider Mailjet, put strong email transactions firmly among the top priorities of customers, with impatience in some cases now reduced to a matter of seconds.

For over four in ten UK consumers, a minute was too long to wait for a transactional email before irritation with the company they were using set in.  Meanwhile, only one in five said they wouldn’t become frustrated if the wait extended to ten minutes.

As well of speed, the importance of accuracy was also confirmed by the study. Respondents were likely to lose faith in a brand if email transactions contained poor spelling and grammar, or foreign languages.

Sensitive data was another red flag for customers. Emails containing login details or passwords in plain text would severely damage confidence in a brand, while concerns were also raised over inconsistencies in how a brand was visually represented in email transactions.

Read more: Ten steps to prepare your business for GDPR changes

Commenting on the study, Josie Scotchmer, Mailjet marketing manager, said its findings confirmed the growing impatience among consumers of slow and inaccurate email correspondence.

“In no uncertain terms, brands can’t afford to let the customer report back these issues, as they might have already taken their loyalty elsewhere,” Scotchmer said.

“Brands must monitor and rectify this from their own end to limit the risk of revenue and business operational impact.

“Unsurprisingly, brand consistency is a vital element in building trust with customers. While the deliverability of transactional email is an essential pillar of selling goods and services effectively online, for marketers the challenge remains creating a consistent experience across channels.”

Despite standards growing, direct marketing campaigns remain a profitable source of revenue for business owners. Respondents claimed emails were the most trusted way of reaching out to a brand.

Almost two-thirds would use a company’s email address as their preferred contact point, compared to just nine per cent who favoured Facebook as the first point of correspondence.

Scattergun email marketing

Although email campaigns remain a crucial marketing tool for small business owners, further research has suggested excessive or impersonal communications could also be driving customers straight to competitors.

Some 90 per cent of British consumers has unsubscribed from a retailer’s mailing list in the past year, according to one study, with volume cited most frequently as the reason. Overall, a third of respondents believed they received too many email updates and offers from retailers holding their details.

The survey showed that shoppers wanted a more personalised experience, with a scattergun “spray and pray” approach undermining the ROI for marketing budgets, as well as turning customers away.

Three cost-effective marketing methods giving small brands an edge

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Simon Caldwell is a reporter for Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and communications from the University of Liverpool, and previously worked as a content editor in the ecommerce industry.

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