Too much customer contact can hurt business

Jul 15, 2011

Research conducted by an SMU marketing professor and two associates reveals that businesses can go too far when trying to keep in touch with customers, who are easily driven away by too many emails, phone calls and mailers.

A three-year study by University of California at Riverside Professor Andrea Godfrey, Boston College Professor Kathleen Seiders and Southern Methodist University Professor Glenn Voss found there is an “ideal level” at which businesses should communicate with clients, and once that's exceeded, the risk of losing them increases considerably.

The trio's findings are detailed in a report, “Enough Is Enough: The Fine Line in Executing Multichannel Relational Communication,” that appears in this month's edition of the Journal of Marketing.

The scholars based their research on the records of an auto dealership, gauging nearly 1,200 customers' reactions to , emails and mailings from the enterprise.

According to Godfrey, she and her colleagues were surprised to find that traditional “snail” mail was generally the most effective means of contacting customers, who were less annoyed by it than too many emails and calls.

The research showed that, over a three-month period, people were willing to tolerate three phone calls before they reacted negatively. If all the contact was by , customers were OK with four, but no more. And if they received information via the postal service only, up to 10 mailings were fine without eliciting a negative response.

The figures change if a business utilizes more than one communication channel for outreach.

According to Godfrey, the ideal number of email contacts appears to be five when one mailer is also sent. However, customers often become irritated after three emails when a business makes an equal number of phone calls over the same period of time.

Negative customer reactions mean less spending, according to the researchers.

Explore further: New research shows sportswomen still second best to sportsmen... in the press

More information: Journal of Marketing, Volume 75, Number 4, July 2011 www.marketingpower.com/AboutAM… _line_executing.aspx

Provided by Southern Medical University

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

US banks, companies issue warning after email hack

Apr 04, 2011

Computer hackers gained access to the email addresses of customers of several large US banks and other companies in a potentially huge data breach at US online marketing firm Epsilon. ...

Happy or unhappy, the customer is always right

Jan 13, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Understanding their dissatisfied customers and acting on the knowledge will help companies save money and reshape the way they conduct business, according to research by Heidi Kevoe Feldman, ...

Recommended for you

Beyond human: Exploring transhumanism

Nov 25, 2014

What do pacemakers, prosthetic limbs, Iron Man and flu vaccines all have in common? They are examples of an old idea that's been gaining in significance in the last several decades: transhumanism. The word ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

dirk_bruere
not rated yet Jul 15, 2011
About once every 2 months for me, or I unsub
Doug_Huffman
1 / 5 (1) Jul 16, 2011
Too much customer contact can hurt business
No! Who would'a thunk it? Surely not constantcontact.com

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.