Welcome emails

Welcome emails

Introduction

A message was posted to Lis-pub-libs (September 2012) asking if libraries sent out a ‘welcome email’ to new customers.  There were eight responses.

6 details on wordings (with 1 being covered in detail below under “Addition”).

2 requests for the results – both are looking into doing this themselves

1 New Zealand Library pointing to South Australian libraries that had recently won an excellence award.  (Still waiting on response from South Australia!)

Results

Three out of five were brief emails with links to fuller welcome information on the libraries web page

Of these emails, only one detailed actual lending and online service (using bullet points).  Two requested that customers follow them on Facebook and Twitter, and the third requested customers sign up to their online newsletter.

All three included

  • A hello message e.g. ‘welcome to…’  or ‘congratulations on getting your library card’
  • the libraries web page link

The two longer welcome emails sent to customers had different emphasis.

One of these emails was a pilot run for new members to see what difference it made to the take up of services.  While the pilot was not quite a success, no customer opted out of the email services.  This library service is intending to revisit the use of emails, limiting the number sent to customers.  The conclusion to the project being that too many emails had been sent.

  1. Concentration on library notices as a result of registering the customer registering their email.   The welcome email listed the three types of notice customers would receive.  Customers were invited to either ‘do nothing’ or opt out by replying to the email if they did not want the service.  This also included a newsletter.

Customers were also asked to keep their contact details up to date – online (link included) or at the library; and that ‘bounced’ emails would result in the address being removed from their details.

  1. Concentration on introduction to library services – details of lending rights, mention of online renewals, reservations and catalogue searching, and PIN information (required to access online services, what to do if PIN not known)

Automated phone line details, information on the consortium, and how to opt out of receiving emails – link included

There was also a request for the customer to join friends and family, with a link for more details.

This was also the only welcome email that included a link asking customers what they thought of their joining experience.

Addition (12/9/12)

The new entry provides the most detail – and includes information on how to set up the delivery of library notices. This covers overdue notifications, reservation collection, and marketing/events. Also included was information on the ‘People’s Network’ and the ‘Virtual Reference Library’. The difference with this welcome email being the level of detail covered.

For example, ‘People’s Network’ was described in full, what it is, how to access, what the charges are. In the other entries this was described as ‘IT and Computers’, with a link to free internet access, brief information on wi-fi and computer classes. ‘Virtual Reference Library’ was translated to ‘Information’ and covered a select few links.

Interestingly – and I maybe I should have highlighted this before – only one response included information on discounts available to customers through use of their library card.

Conclusion

‘Welcome Emails’ have a number of dependencies

* What’s important? How to use the service, promote events, notifications, encourage customer participation? Something else?

* How easy is it to send the emails out? Can you change the email or is it easier to change the web page?

Plus

* Who is going to write, and keep the ‘welcome email’ up to date?

 

Information compiled by Linda Monk

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