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Quick survey for retail/service providers: does you company allow all employees to email customers directly?

Can anyone provide an example of a United States retailer that allows their sales personnel to email customers directly from a company account? Any idea if the email is limited to templates and canned responses or if the employee can write anything they want? Is all the email screened for private information or offensive language?

The company I work for is considering this and I just can’t get past the risk issues to see the business value. I’m looking for you guys to get me out of my baby-boomer mentality and push me to Gen-Y.  

Some background that adds to my paranoia:
•   PCI complaint retailer
•   Privacy laws
•   Proper grammar and spelling  
•   Quantity of false positives in the email screener
•   E-Discovery


Thank you,
Steph M.
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Steph_M
Asked:
Steph_M
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David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
microsoft, ideria, paragon, quest, to name a few
Most of it looks like a canned follow up message

PCI complaint retailer
•   Privacy laws  

Depends upon how you got the contact information.. did the customer implicitly agree or do you have a previous business relationship?

•   Proper grammar and spelling  
supply some canned scripts, periodically check (quality control).. Test applicants for their level of spelling and grammar (HR function)

•   Quantity of false positives in the email screener
•   E-Discovery

don't understand your problem here, unless the business is breaking some laws

Guaranteed any thing the customer doesn't like they will be in contact right away to complain, the weeds will be culled very quickly
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Steph_MAuthor Commented:
I was looking more for brick and mortar stores like Apple, Best Buy, Kohls, but still, your points are right on target. I was also hoping to get positive and horror stories from EE members if they've received emails as a customer from sales associates.

We have canned scripts but are considering allowing sales clerks the ability to use 100% free form.

No, we aren't breaking any laws and we want to keep it that way :) which is why we would run all the emails through a screener to ensure a disgruntled employee (industry average is 50% turn over for sales associates and we fit in that bracket)  wouldn't go on a rampage the day before they quit and send out obscene or some other type of email to a customer.

Ediscovery was mentioned only because the tools we use when this is needed might need to be expanded (more disk space, etc.)

Never thought of the applicant testing for the sales force writing option - good idea, thank you.
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David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
Brick and Mortar stores only send me flyers if I've subscribed to them.. otherwise I never hear from them ever.

Except from customer support personnel that is an entirely different scenario.

For instance, My favorite Travel Agency,  has an associate that is very familiar with my vacation schedule and my likes and dislikes, and will send me an email if something special turns up.. If she was to change agencies, then so would I. I've gotten some good deals through her.

You test salespeople on their verbal skills, so testing their literary skills is a no brainer if they are to use that medium.

A company that gets a horror story because of an employees actions only happens ONCE.. The employee is summarily terminated..

50% disgruntled workers?  Something is wrong ... 5% seems to be about the right percentage (you can't please everyone)
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