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Dental Practice Marketing, Email Rules of Engagement

Jun 14, 2008
The following story has been posted by many (if not all) of the major news companies around the world including Yahoo, AP, Reuters, BBC, and many other websites, have also reprinted the story.

For those of you that didn't see it, here is the run down:

Lawyer Paula Brosnahan, 33, and her fiance Steve Hausman, 36, who were getting married in April 2007, sought a quote from The Great Marquee Company for their Whangaparaoa cliff-top wedding. They viewed photos on the company's website and arranged an appointment to inspect a marquee in Devonport.

But when the Mt. Albert couple decided the marquee would not be suitable and sent a polite email to the company saying they would look elsewhere, they were shocked to receive a reply from the firm saying their wedding wasn't posh enough for its tents.

The couple, who met 17 years ago, had written a polite letter saying: "Paula and I went and viewed your marquee setup at Devonport... unfortunately we did not like it... thanks for your assistance and we are sorry that it turned out this way."

Two hours later the firm's office manager, Katrina Jorgensen, replied to the couple: "Your wedding sounded cheap, nasty and tacky anyway, so we only ever considered you time wasters. Our marquees are for upper class clients which unfortunately you are not. Why don't you stay within your class levels and buy something from Payless Plastics instead."

The email response from the office manager has now been sent the world over by email forward and has been printed both online and in paper by many of the major newsgroups. It has surely been read by tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people.

The response has destroyed the company, and the owner has since fired the office manager (which happens to be his wife).

What to learn: TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY! With the invention of the internet it allows anyone to communicate anything to any number of people instantly.

What was supposed to be a "private" email has now been spread worldwide, and has destroyed a business, all because an employee got a little snappy with a customer and documented it in an email. Just imagine if this was your employee and your business.

If you say "My office staff would never do that." Reread the above example, and remember... the office manager was the owners wife!

Action-To-Take Tip: If you don't have office rules of engagement for email communications, do it now. Any employee you have on the internet has the immediate power to create a problem just like the above one.

Also, realize that email is solid documentation, if you aren't willing to have it broadcast to the world, don't put it in an email. That [forward] button is to close to the send button to risk putting anything out there that could compromise your business.

Even though there is no standard set for email and it is still considered "informal," make sure you and your staff communicate in a professional manner at all times through email, or otherwise, because you never know who is going to see, read, or hear your message.
About the Author
James Erickson is the President of EMC Dental Marketing which gives Dentists a resource for turn-key dental marketing programs and dental practice marketing education including new patient attraction, and internal marketing systems. Visit www.EMCdental.com and get a free practice
building kit sent directly to your home or office.
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