Mar 16 2017 How Proactive Notification Solutions Can Go Horribly Wrong



I have spent my entire professional career working with companies on the effective use of technology, and I still believe that any IT solution can provide a company with a competitive advantage. Because of this belief, I want to correct the misconception of some (not all!) business decision-makers that silos IT solutions as a “necessary evil” expense item over time, rather than as strategic opportunities that can propel the growth and sustainability of an organization.

From a marketing and customer service perspective, “proactive notification” (or engagement) via email, phone, text or social is one such technology that can add tremendous value.

That is, of course, until companies come along and once again ruin a great thing by implementing what could be a successful IT solution without the proper amount of planning or oversight.

You Only Need to Be Proactive Once

Not too long ago, I wrote a post on this very blog about the three “must haves” for your outbound notification solution. The number one point I listed was avoiding sending of duplicate information to the same person.

Sounds simple enough, right? But with that simplicity in mind, how many of you have received the same phone call, the same email, the same text, over and over and over again?

Personally, I enjoy opening industry emails that are packed with best practices, trends and other news of note. That is until I get to my inbox, only to realize I’ve been sent the same email to the same email address four times:


Where the Right Thing Goes Wrong

When companies misuse or abuse technologies, they are subverting something that would be beneficial. Sometimes these missteps can even launch an entire industry in response. For example, “Do Not Call” lists for those in telesales.

So if you use notification systems via email, phone, text or social, please take a moment and check two key pieces of functionality:

  1. Duplicate phone numbers, email addresses, Facebook accounts or Twitter handles; and
  2. Your time of delivery.

It’s not enough to just challenge your database or CRM team to AVOID generating a list with duplicates.  After all, it is likely that a single person today within your organization will manage more than one account. Moreover, one of your customers will likely sign up multiple times to receive email deals. I know I’ve done it.

The service provider you use must have a second line of defense, in the form of rechecking your list. Think of it like Santa Claus. It needs to not only be making a list, but also checking it twice. Gonna find out who is on the list more than once or twice. (Poor attempt at humor, I know. I’ll stick to my day job.)

Also, we need to end the cycle of delivering information in the middle of the night.

Respect your customers, or potential customers, and ignore whatever logic or research points you to sending information at 5:00 a.m.! Or 1:00 a.m.! Or 3:00 a.m.! You get my point.

Bottom Line

You can call me biased by virtue of my position, but I’m always amazed and saddened by how often dynamic IT and technology solutions are devalued by businesses, if they aren’t overlooked entirely.

Proactive notification is a perfect example of that. So if you’re considering implementing a proactive notification solution yourself, or you already have one in place that needs an overhaul, take to heart what I’ve said today. Or if that doesn’t convince you, take a look at other ways proactive solutions are being misused.

If you don’t, you are simply contributing to the next movement of adding Twitter, Facebook, email and mobile to the next wave of “do not contact” government mandates.