Email for Damage Control

baby-crib

We all know that email newsletters are a great way to keep in touch with your customers. But occasionally an issue arises that shows how email can be an incredible tool to swiftly and effectively communicate important messages to customers, conduct damage control and maintain relationships. That is exactly what Pottery Barn Kids did last month.

On November 24, 2009, the U.S. Consumer Safety Commission and Health Canada announced the voluntary recall of more than 2.1 million Stork Craft drop-side cribs, citing risk of infant entrapment and suffocation.  News of this recall spread like wildfire through online message boards, Facebook and forwarded emails, sparking panic among parents of babies and toddlers.

Less than one week later, Pottery Barn Kids sent an email to its customers assuring them that no Pottery Barn Kids cribs were involved in the recall. This was especially reassuring to me, as my son sleeps in a drop-side PBK crib each night. The email provided further information by linking to the original government press release and the Juvenile Product Manufacturer’s Association, and invited concerned customers to contact the company via an 800 number for any additional questions. They concluded on a positive note, by inviting shoppers to browse their assortment of safe cribs.

This email was simple in its design and message, but its power lay in its ability to allay fears when they were reaching a crescendo, and maintain the confidence of loyal customers. As for me, I was thrilled I didn’t even have to research whether my crib was among those with issues – the information came right to me.

If your company ever faces a similar situation, remember the power of email to get word to your customers quickly. There is no need to focus on design; sometimes the speed and the message are the most important elements.

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