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How DIRECTV’s Triggered Email Hurt More Than It Helped


Triggered email campaigns are a great way to stay top of mind with customers/subscribers. They are relatively hands free after implementation (aside from necessary testing and optimization that should take place) and can be quite successful. But the trigger email I received from DIRECTV last week did more harm than good.

Let me first start off by saying I love DIRECTV. They are a brand that I am very passionate about. This is partially why I will be so harsh on them right now. Here’s the story:

A couple of days ago I decided to rent the movie The Book of Eli through the DIRECTV Cinema feature. I had seen the movie in the theatre and it’s brilliantly shot and I wanted to watch it with my sister who is an ordained minister… anyway, the point is, it was the type of moment where you speak highly of a movie and you can’t wait to watch it with someone so they can hopefully share in your excitement.

I found the movie in the menu on my television and clicked the “order” button. Immediately I was told onscreen that my order could not be completed and was directed to call the customer service number or log into my account and order from there.

When I went online to DIRECTV.com and to my account, I tried to order the movie once more and received a similar error. It was off to contact customer service by phone. I was met on the phone by a very helpful woman who informed me that the particular movie I was trying to order was having issues, that she was very sorry and that she could grant my receiver access to the movie and for my trouble, give it to me free of charge. What was even more impressive was she could see that I had tried to purchase it not only through my TV receiver but also online. Within minutes I was watching the movie.

That sounds like a great experience right?

Then I received this in my email inbox the next morning.

The problems with this email should be self-explanatory, but in case they aren’t, here it is in a nutshell. After creating such a memorable experience of customer service and personalized care the night prior, I was greeted with an email that made it seem like I am just another ordinary customer. Perception is reality and the care I received over the phone made me feel like a valued customer. This email made me feel like just a number.

The details of my account behavior as well as the log from the call I made should have purged this email from my inbox.If they had built in these parameters, they would know that I already have an account; that I already use Auto Bill Pay; that I have the latest hardware and the full programming package and that I just tried to order a movie!

So in reality, this email reminded me to do everything I already do or did– a huge disconnect and a potential damage to all the goodwill DIRECTV had built up. I hope that this post can create some awareness for DIRECTV to fix their triggered email campaign. (If anyone knows someone there feel free to have them contact me.)

P.S. As a follow up, 3 days later I received this same email again, only this time, it was in Spanish. 🙁

Have you seen examples of poor messaging in triggered email campaigns?