The following is a guest post by Sarah Blackmon of d2design, an expert in church direct mail. I invited her to give us some pointers on handling church direct mail complaints.
Is your church sending out direct mail to your community? If so, you are probably hoping that your mailer makes a good impression and you start to hear positive feedback because of the mailer.
But what about handling church direct mail complaints?
At d2design, I work with churches on their direct mail campaigns from start to finish. Our clients receive mostly positive feedback, but every now and then there is a complaint. The top 4 complaints churches are most likely to receive are:
- Remove me from your mailing list
- Mailer addressed to the deceased
- Mailer addressed to an ex spouse
- Welcomed them to the neighborhood but they haven’t moved in years
Here are some tips on handling church direct mail complaints before the issues escalate:
Remove Me from your Mailing List
Since most mailers are based off of a purchased external list, you will want to start and maintain an internal scrub list of people who have called your church and asked to be removed from your list. As you plan for future mailers, you will always want to run a check on your mailing list remove any addresses that have complained previously. If you are working with a direct mail company, send them your list so they can do this for you.
Mailing to the Deceased
If your list just says “Current Resident” you won’t run into either of these issues, but if you are using names provided by an external data provider, you may also get a complaint that you mailed to a deceased family member. How can this happen? Somewhere along the history of data on that household, the deceased was never registered as deceased. That person will continue to get mail from other senders until the family takes this necessary step. Direct them to www.dmachoice.org to start this process.
Mailing to an Ex-Spouse
First, simply apologize for the error. Then let them know they can fix this data error and prevent it from happening again. This is a similar issue to the point above: they will need to go to www.dmachoice.org to disassociate their ex-spouse’s name with their household.
Welcoming Someone to the Neighborhood Who isn’t New
Again, just apologize and let them know it was a simple data error. New mover mailers are based off public records like new mortgages and utilities being turned on. If the person isn’t a new resident they may have refinanced or changed a name on their utility bill so their record was flagged as a potential new resident.
When handling direct mail complaints, never forget why you sent the mailer out in the first place. Your church is in your community to show Christ’s love. Even if the caller is angry, remember that the best way to handle the complaint is by staying calm and helping the caller resolve the issue quickly. Who knows? You may be the only Christian the caller talks to for a long time, so be kind and plant a seed.