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Tuesday, 02 April 2013 10:54

Overly-friendly customer service is a turn off

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Chumminess in email marketing campaigns could only end up consigning messages to the junk folder.

New research by search engine Ask Jeeves has found that despite being in vogue with many businesses across a range of sectors, many consumers are still not happy being treated as friends by businesses, telegraph.co.uk reports.

Ask Jeeves surveyed a number of Brits on their opinion of Americanised customer service models, which see them referred to by their first names and treated more as a friend than a customer.

Despite being affable and informal, few Brits claimed to like the new approach, with more than half claiming they preferred the older technique of addressing someone by their title and surname. In addition, six in ten said they were turned off by cold callers beginning a conversation with "Hi [First Name]".

Furthermore, three in ten claimed to be "fed up" by being spoken to by customer service operatives as though they are good friends.

This could impact the way emails are delivered, with countless brands currently exercising this informal approach; many without realising the effect it has on the recipients.

Explaining the findings, an Ask Jeeves spokesperson told thedrum.com that whilst there was nothing wrong with friendliness in customer service, it feels fraudulent when coming from someone with whom a person has had no prior interaction.

"Often these are people who are trying to sell you something and who have no other interest in you yet they treat you like a long-lost pal," the spokesperson continued.

"Jeeves was a well brought up butler. He would never have dreamt of saying to Wooster: 'Hiya Bertie, how's it hanging?'".