Re: Providing clients information via e-mail

Subject: Re: Providing clients information via e-mail
From: Paulette Hacker <PauletteH -at- SYNERGEX -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 24 Feb 1999 12:42:03 -0800

Some questions that come up include:

1. Should all e-mail sent to clients be reviewed and approved
by a
central clearinghouse?

If it is official email (i.e. directly related to product
announcements and such) then we do typically have it reviewed. If it is
private email via support reps then it is not typically reviewed. The
reason, however is that our support reps are highly knowledgeable. They also
verify any information they pass along (our techies are very supportive). So
generally, we have a low margin of error regarding technical pass-along.

2. Should a disclaimer be attached to the end of all e-mail
transmissions that would limit the company's exposure?
Some of our customers that write into our listserve do this.

They basically include a brief message stating that "email should
not imply a contract," or "opinions expressed belong to the XX person not to
YY Corp," or some other such wording. My opinion of this habit is low. I
generally think that the need for such nonsense exists only when you have
employees with a questionable level of professionalism, or who consider the
world to be their sounding board. In such a case, they (the employees) may
need to be educated or asked to relocate to a new employer.

3. How do other companies handle this issue?

We generally have official correspondence reviewed. Unofficial
correspondence is implicitly expected to be professional. However, I have an
exceptional work environment. The employees here are proud to work here and
the company has a high level of trust in its employees. We also respect our
customer base. Even if they are insulting on the listserve, responding in a
like manner is not acceptable. No matter how badly you want to flame them!

4. Should only a subset of employees be allowed to communicate
with
clients using e-mail, or should client e-mail addresses be made
available
company wide.

Absolutely! We do limit the number of people who correspond with the
customer. This helps to eliminate errors and prevents the people who are
tasked with other assignments from being pestered to death. It also allows
us to make sure the customers are receiving adequate representation,
support, and follow through. Also, unless egos are not being checked at the
door, everyone in the company does not WANT to be tasked with talking to
customers! Communication is hard enough, why set it up to be a melee?
Developers need to work on writing code. Accounting people need to do the
payroll and take care of financial issues. Sales and Customer Support people
should interface with the customer and shielding the others from a constant
barrage of Q&A. I am a technical writer. I don't want to be constantly
interrupted with customer calls! I want to do research, learn my product and
write.

Our system is very effective and makes things run rather nicely. I
think that speaks for itself.

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