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At Elite Email we love helping people. It’s basically our passion.

But, every little while we get to do something that goes above and beyond what we even hoped to achieve.

This leads me to an amazing story about the Village of Brookville in New York.

[You can read the full press release here.]

When Hurricane Sandy struck the Northeastern United States, it left the town without power, phone and internet. There was no way for the town leadership to communicate to residents at all….well, except for Elite Email, of course!

With an intermittent internet connection, the town leadership was able to connect to their Elite Email account to send out important updates to residents and officials about what was going on. It really helped that Elite Email is cloud-based because even without accesses to their offices, all they needed was any computer with an internet connection and they were all set to send out their newsletter.

Here is the exact quote from Winsome Citarella, the Clerk Treasurer:

Elite Email was a life saver for our Village during this recent crisis. After Hurricane Sandy hit the Village of Brookville lost power, phone and internet services leaving us completely out of touch with our residents and officials. Since I was not able to access my usual software to communicate I was saved by my Elite Email account. I was able to access your site from where ever I was able to get internet however intermittently and was able to send out important notifications to the residents which was extremely helpful to all of us. So thanks for providing a great service.

We know the town residents really appreciated these timely and critical newsletters because we were forwarded replies like this:

“The residents of our village are indeed very fortunate to have you as our Mayor. The endless hours you spent in contact with LIPA, personally traveling every street in the village and relaying information to us was truly outstanding.  We appreciate your daily updates and subsequent twice daily emails.”

“Thank you for the valuable update report.”

“Thank you very much for these updates. We are sincerely thankful for all of your hard work and all the Village has done. “

“Thank you so much for all your efforts – for the hours that went into planning and preparation, and for the excellent follow through.  
Your email communication has been invaluable and is much appreciated.
The entire community is in your debt .”

“Hi – I love these emails! Thank you for the daily update. “

“You are a wonderful leader for all of us.  Your emails are reassuring and help us to know that we are being well represented. “

“Just wanted to say thanks for all the hard work and keeping us informed.”

“Thank you for the frequent updates.  Although the news is never great, it’s better than being kept “in the dark”, sorry about the bad pun!  I really appreciate all that you guys are doing! “

WOW, are we glad to have helped make a difference in any way at all!

Remember, there are still many people in need, so please donate to the Red Cross.

 

This past weekend I bought a new pair of sunglasses (… after losing my old pair that I held dear to my heart…) so I went to Lens Crafters and tried on every pair they had in the store. Then I tried them all on again (…what can I say, I’m picky!).

After finding a pair that I liked and getting the very important thumbs-up from my wife to make sure they actually looked good, I purchased them.

During the check-out process the salesperson at the store asked me a bunch of questions. I could see their screen as they scrolled through all the fields such as name, address, phone number, etc, etc.

Then, I noticed on their screen that it said “Email Address” and something to the effect of “Ask the customer if they would like to join our mailing list to receive updates from us?”

At first I was very impressed with Lens Crafters. It was clear that the higher-ups in the corporation saw the obvious value of building an email mailing list, knew to ask for the email address alongside other information, and even made sure to script things clearly to ensure they received proper opt-in consent to send mailings.

As I watched the salesperson’s screen, I saw her skip over the email section completely!
(In my head, I could hear the higher-ups at Lens Crafters groaning!)

I asked her “Why did you skip over the email address stuff?”

Her response was “Oh, you wouldn’t want to give us your email address because then we’d just send you stuff and people don’t want that.”

Yes, seriously! That is what she said.

First of all, we conduct research studies all the time and people are more than willing (and often times eager) to get emails from businesses they interact with. Heck, if Lens Crafters would have emailed me a coupon a few months ago, I probably would have gone out and bought a new pair of sunglasses right away.

Secondly, I think this situation highlights a major communication and strategy breakdown at Lens Crafters, which is an excellent way for everyone else to learn from their mistakes.

Lens Crafters had made a good strategic decision to really focus on building their email mailing list by asking people right at the peak moment of engagement, which is when they are buying something in their store. The problem is that this strategy came from “upstairs” and was not adopted by everyone else in the organization. This essentially dooms the strategy to fail or, at the very least, to not achieve the maximum results.

It is very important that if your organization is going to adopt a strategy like this, you need adoption from all levels in order to really make it work.

I find one of the best ways to help ensure adoption is to tell people not only what the new strategy is, but WHY they are doing that. I highly doubt the salesperson I was working with at Lens Crafters fully knew or appreciated why getting my email address was important. But, maybe if she was told that by me getting emails, I would be more informed about their products (including features, benefits, price, etc, etc), which would result in me needing to ask less questions in the store. Now the salesperson would understand that getting my email benefits them, benefits me, and benefits the company. At this point there is likely to be higher adoption to the overall strategy.

Of course, if would be nice if adoption was at 100% just because the people “upstairs” said so and in many organizations it may be like that. But, before you make that assumption for your business, be sure to check that everyone is on the same page and shooting towards the same goal.

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