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When email personalisation goes wrong

I normally have great things to say about my bank. Their automated phone system and website are usable and customer service agents friendly and efficient. But more recently they have started to get things wrong when it comes to using data.

I have a joint account with my husband. So it irks me that every time I get an email from them, it’s addressed to my husband despite the email address being in my name! I get that this is probably because it’s my email address associated with the joint account, but when postal mail is addressed to both of us, why does email fall through the loop when it comes to correct use of personalisation?

My automatic reaction when I received an email addressed to my husband today was to delete it without paying much attention to the content. But I dutifully forwarded it to his email address. However, it made me wonder how many emails do get deleted in these situations and how many opportunities to upsell to customers get lost through incorrect email personalisation.

My bank isn’t alone though. I’m sure we’ve all seen examples of different channels working in different ways and personalisation being used incorrectly. A seemingly simple thing like incorrectly personalising an email can negatively impact customer experience and brand perception. In this instance, even addressing the email to both me and my husband would have left me with a much more positive perception about my bank.