Stop sending fake ‘personal’ emails during onboarding

I’ve been thinking recently about current onboarding techniques used by Saas products. Many of the products that I sign up for send an automated email after signup. I usually receive one of two types of emails. The first type of email is sent from ‘the company’, with ‘thank you for signing up’ content, and other helpful links. The second type of email is the automated email sent by ‘a person’, sometimes this appears to come from the ceo or account representative email address. This email is typically plain text and contains text to the effect of ‘I am here to help, reply to this email with any questions’.

It is the second type of email that annoys me the most. The recent hbr article, Customer Service needs to be either more or less robotic, helped me to articulate why this sort of email annoys me. It is pretty obvious that the ceo of the company or the account representative is not waiting by their email to send a personal welcome to every person who signups at any given time of the day. This doesn’t mean that the ceo or account representative does not want to personally welcome every person, its just not realistic. Imagine walking into walmart and the greeter is a life-sized cardboard printout of the ceo. The cardboard is playing a recorded script on loop, ‘Hi, Welcome to Walmart, let me know if there is anything that I can do.’ This would seem absurd, and far from authentic, since there really isn’t anything a cardboard printout could do. Well, these are my thoughts towards automated personal emails. My preference is for the robotic welcome email that contains helpful links to get me started.

Now, it is possible I’m the anomaly in this case, and customers respond greatly to these automated personal emails. If that’s the case keep on keeping on. If not, here’s my non-validated suggestion.

Send the automated welcome email from the company. In the email, place the ‘right amount’ of content to help the customer get started. Do an introduction within the email to the person who will be available to answer questions or feedback, include contact information. You can also let them know that they may receive an email shortly that person. Then if the ceo, personal representative, or whomever wants to welcome the customer, then have them personally write the welcome email. Just my two cents.

Image provided by Freepik

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2 thoughts on “Stop sending fake ‘personal’ emails during onboarding

  1. I think the essence behind that concept is to make the potential/customers feel valued. This is why you see some CEO/Founder put their personal email or even phone number, so that the customer feel valued. I’m okay with that and might even do it myself, but the follow up to the customer reply is what bothers me the most. My experience has been either silence or multitude of unnecessary email from different people. I just experienced it with Uber and even Lyft it makes you go ‘I thought I was the shit..now yall ping ponging me around’. I think that’s the real challenge to have a consistent tone/voice through the interaction with the customer. If I spoke to Matt why is Nathalie coming in the convo so that Nate finishes up. I think personal touch is something we all value..

    Just saw the blog and am a fan..Will stop by as often as I can

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About Hadiyah

Software Engineer and Startup Aficionado. I co-founded software agency, Playpen Labs, and Black Founders nonprofit. I teach women how to code at Hackbright Academy.