In my business writing classes, attendees often state that it is virtually impossible to personalize their mass mailings–both in print and in email. But I send my e-newsletter, Better Writing at Work, to more than 10,000 subscribers each month, and I greet each reader by name–if the reader has included his or her name when subscribing.
Today I received a perfectly personalized letter from CEO Fathi Said of IX Web Hosting, where we host our company website. In the message, he greeted me by name, then began with this sentence: "You have been a customer for over 6 years, and we wanted to say 'Thank you.'"
Later in the message Mr. Said mentioned that we began using IX Web Hosting services on May 24, 2004. He noted that August 24, 2010, would be our renewal date but that unfortunately the plan we are on has been discontinued. He told me that we would be switched automatically to the plan that is the closest equivalent to our current plan, and he included the cost of the new plan.
I liked his email. It was written to me, not to "Valued Customer." Rather than providing general information such as "some customer plans will be changed," it provided specific information about our plan and how and when it would change.
If I had received a generic message from IX Web Hosting, I would probably not have read it. And then I might have been irritated when I realized our plan and pricing had changed.
Don't fall into the trap of thinking that you cannot personalize your customer communications. Your customers may switch to a vendor who knows how to do it.