Any marketing tool you use likely requires some level of support. Just like web analytic systems and ad servers, an excellent (or poor) client support system will make or break an ESP's reputation and ability to retain customers.
It all starts with the people. Do you have a dedicated account manager that is your go-to person whenever there is a problem or question about the system? A great account manager can be the traffic cop when it comes to tech support questions, billing issues, and ideas for leveraging the capabilities of the tools. Someone who is not only a go-to resource when problems arise, but also offers proactive advice leading to email marketing success can often make up for other shortcomings your ESP may have.
Customer service and client services aren't just about tech support. They truly are opportunities to generate success stories and build relationships. Unfortunately, this mindset has gone by the wayside with many ESPs as they focus on centralizing support services in order to streamline tech support tickets and provide 24/7 technical support.
While tech support centralization is a good idea, it's not a replacement for the dedicated account manager. If you don't have a dedicated account manager, request one. If your ESP won't give you one, it's a telltale sign that you need to shop for a new ESP.
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Thanks for the comment Annie. I hope that the ESPs view the article with your suggestion in mind.
These 6 reasons to fire an ESP not only warn people looking for the right ESP to consider these options seriously, but it also gives a good guideline to ESP themselves on the sort of level they need to participate on to be considered against their competitors. Thank you for setting the caliber high!
Hey Sean,It all comes down to this; the problems that you've mentioned aren't a reason to fire a vendor, but a reason to fire the person that selected an inadequate vendor in the first place.I've already gone point by point to your post and you haven't given me anything back other than insinuating that my view is colored from an ESP perspective and that I haven't any client-side experience. Did you bother checking me out before making such assumptions? Looks to me like the same approach as you seem to have taken in selecting an ESP.... I'm just sayin'....My post links to yours a half-dozen times and you've been kind enough to post back to me in the comments here, so I guess it's up to the reader to form their own opinions....
John, Thanks for your comments both here and on your post. While I may not be an expert on the inner workings of ESPs for an insider's perspective (since I've never worked for an ESP), my background comes from years on the client side. Each of the examples I've given in the article are based on real experiences from the lens of an advertiser. I'm not alone either. Many advertisers commonly share the same types of frustrations with each other. My experience with all vendors is that it begins with delivering what is promised and expected. Expectations need to be clear from both parties. It's defintely not a one way street. For the client side, expectations continue to evolve as business needs dictate. If a true partnership has developed, then solutions can usually be had. If not, the relationship can turn into a business hinderance quickly. In my experience with ESPs (and generally with several technology vendors), this is the case.
It's interesting that your vocabulary tends to fall to the negative with things like "fire" and "ripping".... It's also interesting to note that while you comment that you love being taken to task, I don't seem to see any defense of your original position either here or at http://RedPillEmail.comAnd while you're obviously not an authority on the subject (that's a rip, fyi), and most certainly have some unrealistic views of the role of an ESP, I'd hate to see someone with even less experience take this post as authoritive - because it's posted at iMedia Connection - and perhaps cause a rift between they and their vendor that wouldn't have been there otherwise. That would not be fair to the reader or the vendor.But hey, thanks for the link to my post! :)
Just came across this blog post ripping each of the points I gave in the article. I love it when someone takes me to task, whether I agree with them or not. Read this post and comment back here on this article to let me know your thoughts on his points as well as mine. http://redpillemail.com/blog/2009/6-reasons-to-fire-your-esp-seriously.html
Thanks Toni. Reporting is so crucial, that it has to be a top focus when going through the RFP process.
I totally agree with looking into the training and reporting before going with a system. Our ESP counts preview / testing in over-all results, and unsubscribes as click-throughs. Correcting the report is a manual process.
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