Don’t Call Us; We’ll Call You

The amount of mail I get has dropped dramatically in the past few years.  That’s one small reason why the Westport post office is moving from an actual building downtown to half of a former day spa in a shopping center.

In fact, if it wasn’t for AT&T and Cablevision, I wouldn’t get any mail at all.

I’ve been a valuable customer of both behemoths for years.  I pay my bills on time — and they are not unsubstantial amounts.

A sampling of mail from the past couple of months.

But like clockwork — at least once a week — they send me stuff.  Not only is the message the same — add services!  pay more! — but sometimes it is the exact same letter I threw away the previous week.

It’s like they were little children, who think that by repeating the same message over and over and over and over, they will get their way.

Here’s my response:  Stop mailing me crap.  I am not interested in being upsold.  Please take whatever it costs to send me weekly mailings, and credit it to my bill.  Then I will know I truly am a “valued customer.”

16 responses to “Don’t Call Us; We’ll Call You

  1. Hi Dan – I agree with you about the excessive junk mail the cable/tv companies send. I got off a few mailing lists (particularly AmEx) by taking the junk they sent me, sticking it in the reply envelope that was also included in the mailings and sending the whole deal back to them with note asking that my name be deleted from the mailing list. It took a couple of efforts but ultimately, the mailings stopped.

  2. Dennis Jackson

    We “went paperless” and so now pay the Cablevision bill online, so we get no mail from them at all. However, we get a half dozen “important information for valued customer” mailings from Verizon – sometimes two in a day – from whom we have paperless billing for phone numbers on NY state. Will try Carol’s idea.

  3. Terry Brannigan

    No one likes unwelcomed solicitations, including me. However, I’ve been a sales guy my entire professional life so I’m probably a bit more sympathetic to being upsold than most. There’s a great “poem” I read a long time ago (but can’t find right now) that reminds the non-sales critics of the world that “nothing happens until something is sold”. The world just needs to find the right channel and I agree that un-targeted junk is definitely not it!I But stay tuned, all the contextual and predictive computing now possible will improve the quality of the opportunities to up-buy your are presented. I absolutely love being a sales guy. I think when we do it right, great sales organizations are really in the business of solving problems, and when you do, people are happy to pay for the result. Any good upsell should improve the value exchange for your money or time sadly 99% just don’t

  4. A. David Wunsch

    I don’t like getting this merde in the mail either, but I console myself by the thought that these companies are paying postage and helping to keep the postal serivce afloat. Ask your letter carrier if he/she wishes that this junk mail would stop. That person might well be out of a job.

  5. Sold…upsold…it’s all just more “noise” to me. The belief among marketers seems to be that if you throw enough ads out there, some will stick, and there must be at least some truth to it or they wouldn’t keep pouring money into the effort. I’m curious to see if targeted ads really can be made feasible and effective; from what I’ve had targeted at me via FB, I’d say not so far. I don’t think the algorithms based on demographics and currently available data alone will do the trick, which means more “sharing” (or stealing) of information will be required…which means greater loss of privacy. The argument marketers make — that people will happily give up privacy if it means we see ads we might actually be interested in — sounds like wishful thinking to me, but perhaps I’m an “outlier.”

  6. The Dude Abides

    Apparently this form of marketing works because they keep doing it. The junk mail also keeps the postal rates down. So, I suggest you do what I do: Have your garbage can available on your way in from the mail box.

  7. It isn’t necessary to stuff the return envelope with all the junk they sent you. I take only the name/address portion of the mailing and write on it, asking them to remove me from their mailing list and to not share my name/address with anyone. Only that goes into the return envelope and back to them. This works!
    Also, most places have a customer service # and/or place on their website where you can opt out of advertising mail.

    • THANKS for the advice. What about the weekly mailing I get from the Connecticut Post — tons of coupons and wasted newsprint. I can’t find any address on the mailing to opt out — I’m sure it’s not the Post sending it out, but another “service.”

  8. Jo Ann Davidson

    Dan, You are the new Andy Rooney. Now how about complaining about the reduced size in diameter of toilet paper rolls? Same price, 1/2″ of paper.

  9. Terry Brannigan

    Think about this…would you rather your credit score be kept private? Yes? Ok are you willing to pay an additional 3 points on your mortgage in exchange? The debate is really tough, privacy vs. progress. Imagine your health info was available. (All of this is actually possible now…) You are walking down the street in cloths with bio receptors sewn in and your cell phone with a GPS is in your pocket. All of a sudden an ambulance pulls up, there’s a cardiologist on board and they tell you to get in because you’re about to have a heart attack! Or on a more commercial note, your Dr tells you to reduce fat, so when you shop you look for specific ingredients and the super market begin to build a profile of your buying patterns and as you wave your smart phone down the cereal aisle it beeps when you pass by items whose ingredients match your historical preferences. It puts the power in the buyer’s hands. (does it? because for one split second you paused as you passed by Lucky Charms and in spite of your Dr’s orders, before you get to the shredded wheat, you have already received a $1 off coupon for Lucky Charms) Marketing sure isn’t like the show “Mad Men” these daze!

  10. Since you ask, I’d rather third parties weren’t keeping track of my credit for profit. I wish the bank would come look over our finances. I know — so old-fashioned and time-consuming! Imagine! Even the idea of a bank offering mortgages and hanging onto them…Ah, it’s a brave new world. In my experience, the more people know each other, the kinder they are. I’d rather put my trust in people (including myself — I can walk past those Lucky Charms — really, I can!) than companies. Too many opportunities for error under both systems, but much easier to fix via people.

  11. Yeah, let’s keep the postal rate down by sending more junk mail – at the expense of wasting trees.

  12. Let me guess, it’s the `bundled services’ offer for $49.99. If I had a nickel for every time I received that mailing from AT&T…..
    I asked to be taken off the mailing list and customer services said I would be, but it might take a couple of months. So that’s another `bundle’ of junk mail in the meantime.

  13. Those cablevision mailings are textbook worst-practice marketing – literally. There is a section in the Harvard Business Review customer service book on how irritating it is to get non-targeted mailings from a company you’re already doing business with advertising a lower price than what you’re currently paying. Wake up and hire a new marketing director, Optimum.