Handling Church Direct Mail Complaints
This post was originally published over at Church Planting Tactics.
Is your church into sending direct mail to your community? If so, you are hoping for your mailers to make a good impression and that people respond by visiting your church. And that likely happens most of the time.
But what about the not-so-good feedback?
At d2design, we work with churches on their direct mail campaigns from start to finish. Our clients receive mostly positive feedback, but occasionally there are complaints. Here are the top four negative responses churches are most likely to receive, as well as some tips on handling them before the issues escalate.
Remove me from your mailing list.
Since most mailers are based off a purchased external list, you will want to start and maintain an internal scrub list of people who have called your church and requested to not receive mailings. As you plan for future mailers, run a check on your lists to remove any addresses from your scrub list. If you are working with a direct mail company, send them these addresses so they can do this for you.
The mailer was addressed to a deceased person.
If your lists use “Current Resident” for the recipient, you won’t run into this issue, but if you are using names provided by an external data provider, you may get a complaint that you mailed to a deceased family member. Why does this happen? In the history of that household’s data, the person was never registered as deceased. The person will continue to get mail until the family takes this necessary step. Direct them to www.dmachoice.org to start this process.
The mailer was addressed to an ex-spouse.
First, simply apologize for the error, then let them know that they can prevent it from happening again. This is a similar issue as above, and they can go to www.dmachoice.org to disassociate their ex-spouse’s name from their household.
The mailer welcomed me to the neighborhood, but I haven’t moved in years.
Again, apologize and explain that this was a simple data error. New mover mailers are based off public records like new mortgages and utility hook-ups. If the person isn’t a new resident, they may have refinanced or changed a name on a utility bill, which flagged their record as a potential new resident.
When handling direct mail complaints, never forget why you sent the mailer 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.