JournalismPakistan.com May 2, 2014
Yesterday I received two SMS messages and three emails beginning with ‘Dear Customer' and ‘Dear Patron’ and 'Dear Consumer'. Now, really, that's a great way to make someone feel wanted.
Me, well, I like people to like me. It makes me feel good to be noticed and recognized and feel special. And the contents go straight to the heart. They tell me I am very important to them, that they would like to establish a closer tie with me, they are confident that I feel the same way, not to mention how excited I must be that their computer has profiled me as the ideal candidate for their new credit card scheme. Yes, sure, thanks guys, but it would make it a lot nicer if you knew my name.
It is very difficult to dredge enthusiasm for the scheme when you call me a customer and it is printed in the letter.
There is something so impersonal about generic addresses that it puts people off. I don't want to be referred to as a client or a friend (if I am friend at least figure out my name). The worst is when they say ‘valued customer’ like you had just been promoted from your garden variety customer to a classier level. Either that there is some non-valued customer out there.
If you really have something to sell to me and your spiel is soggy with affection then have the courtesy of learning my name. You have my address so somewhere on your files you have my name. Find it. Otherwise, don't bother writing. In today's computer programmed world the facility to list names and expedite printing techniques make the old nameless mailing system obsolete and rude.
Even less honest than the 'customer' address is the 'Dear Sir' letter. In this one, the writer is trying to curry favor with semi-intimacy. Considering that many women receive these letters compounds the sloppiness and ends up being insulting. I believe that junk mail does not get read because no rapport is established between the script, it's principles and the recipient.
Ho hum, just another couple of trees lost to the waste paper basket.
(The writer is a Senior Editorial Advisor of Khaleej Times and the paper’s former Editor. He has also been the Editor of Gulf News, Gulf Today, Emirates Today and Bahrain Tribune)
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