Lost emails can cost you customer relationships in under 60 seconds

Consumers would consider choosing a rival brand following a negative experience, with frustration from a missing purchase confirmation emails or e-receipt beginning in seconds.

New research from email service provider, Mailjet, reveals an alarming risk to customer retention around business critical transactional emails – the purchase confirmations, e-tickets and account notifications – which 28 per cent of consumers across the UK and France say they now receive four or more times per day.

Regardless of the monetary value associated with these emails, 77 per cent of UK respondents state they always check that they have received a purchase confirmation email. Thirty-three per cent will even look for multiple emails, updating them at each stage if their purchasing experience highlighting the need for brands to get this right.

While this still presents enormous opportunity for direct marketing campaigns, the stakes are high for getting these communications right. Forty-one per cent of consumers in the UK and France won’t wait more than one minute for a transactional email to arrive in their inbox before getting annoyed with the company they are using. In the UK, only one in five (19 per cent) consumers will not get annoyed if the email arrives more than ten minutes later.

Ultimately, 93 per cent of customers would consider choosing a rival provider following a negative transactional email experience. With one fifth (21 per cent) of UK consumers saying speed of email delivery is the most important factor, affirming the need for brands to monitor these email distributions very closely and the probable cost of failing to do so.

Time is of the essence

Despite growing impatience, across the UK and France, 49 per cent of customers will wait in excess of one hour before contacting the company to point out the issue. In the UK, consumers are prepared to wait longer, even though their brand faith is already lost. With almost a third of Brits (30 per cent) being happy to wait for more than four hours before reaching out – six per cent will even hold off till shortly before they actually need the email i.e. the morning of the flight they need the e-ticket for. Although at this point the damage may already be done.

Josie Scotchmer, Mailjet comments, ‘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. Brands must monitor and rectify this from their own end to limit the risk of revenue and business operational impact. Features like Mailjet’s new real-time monitoring tool allows for communication anomalies within transactional emails to be flagged and resolved at no risk to the customer relationship and overall brand experience.’

Consumers still have faith in email, as when they do reach out to brands consumers turn to email as the most trusted channel. Sixty-two per cent of customers would reach out through the customer service email address this way as opposed to just nine per cent who would use the company’s Facebook page and seven per cent who would rely on Twitter.

Keeping consent post-GDPR

Companies have more to focus on than monitoring delivery issues. The dominant factors that cause UK customers to lose confidence in a brand are transactional emails that contain poor spelling, grammar or foreign languages, which ranked highest at 60 per cent. Interestingly, 51 per cent picked out inconsistency in how the brand is visually represented in communications as a concern.

With the biggest change in European data protection history due to come into effect next May, UK brands must not only consider how their transactional emails look and read, but also the security measures of their organisation. Fifty-one per cent agreed including sensitive data such as login details or a password in plain text would knock their confidence in a brand.

Scotchmer concludes, ‘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. With GDPR coming into force in May next year, these are vital communications not just for a smooth experience, but also to ensure the continued consent of existing customers toward future marketing communications.’

Further reading on consumer emails

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