Last week I attempted to unsubscribe from a company’s email list only to discover that there was no unsubscribe link or instructions anywhere in the message I had received. It wasn’t really a big deal, but as someone who sends email campaigns myself, it really irks me when there is no way to opt out. I replied back with a quick note asking them to remove my email address and add an unsubscribe link to future emails. I didn’t really expect the company to reply, but it really only would have taken a sentence or two. Instead, I got the most mechanical and bureaucratic apology I’ve ever read:

Dear Jason,

Thank you for taking the time to contact us on this matter.

[Redacted] takes customer privacy seriously. We have investigated this matter and apologize for the fact that you were sent an email without an unsubscribe link. Please rest assured that this was a one-time error and has been corrected.

Specifically, in response to this incident, we have determined the problem which caused this error, and modified our processes to enhance the quality control checks to outgoing subscriber emails in an effort to prevent this type of error from happening again in the future.

Also, please note that we have removed your email address from [Redacted]’s email program. You will not receive any additional emails from [Redacted].

Once again we apologize for any inconvenience. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please feel free to respond to this email.

Thank you.

The run-on sentence that begins with “Specifically” is particularly meaningless. Is this person being paid hourly, or by the word? I understand that companies take these sorts of complaints very seriously and that a professional-sounding reply is important, but 90% of that email is unnecessary robotic cruft. When it comes to customer service, a personal reply is much more effective. Rather than wasting their time trying to make a stupid mistake sound like a technical one, they could have focused on not losing a customer. A message like this could have done just that:

Dear Jason,

We apologize for leaving out an unsubscribe link and will be sure to include one in our future emails. We’ve removed your address from our system and are sorry to see you go. We value the opinions from our customers, so please let us know if there’s anything else we can improve about our products or our email program.

Real Name

What’s the take away here? Keeping customers is far more important than covering your ass.

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