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Have you ever sent an email to someone at a radio station — only to receive an automated reply informing you the person no longer works there?

If so, the message probably was similar to this one, which I received yesterday:

Bob Smith is no longer employed at XYZ Broadcasting Co. If you need to contact someone please call our main office during normal business hours at (333) 333-3333.

Contrast that with an email that I received exactly one month earlier. This was sent proactively — before the people in his address book would have a chance to send an email that would only bounce back to them.

Good Afternoon!

I wanted to send you a quick email to let you know that I will be leaving XYZ Broadcasting — KXXX / KYYY as of today. I’ve accepted a position with Radio X as Market Manager in (City, State).

I’m excited about the new challenges, but somewhat saddened with the fact that I leave an incredible staff behind. KXXX and KYYY Radio have always strived to deliver the very best marketing and service to our clients. Let me assure you that this will not change. Our staff stands ready to serve you for years to come delivering the same quality service you have come to expect from XYZ Broadcasting. If you should need anything, please don’t hesitate to give me a call on my cell at (333) 444-4444 or email at jameson@idooie.com. My new business contact information is listed below as well.

To streamline the transition process, I’m also including two key contacts for your address book. Please forward any email, faxes or calls to their attention. Barbara Bell — Sales Manager — (333) 333-3334; bbell@XYZBroadcasting.com; Carol Collins — Business Manager — (333) 333-3335; ccollins@XYZBroadcasting.com.

Thank you again for your continued business and I look forward to working with you down the road.

James Jameson
VP of Radio Operations
XYZ Broadcasting

Compare those two messages, as well as the thought processes behind them.

The first one says, “The person you’re trying to reach doesn’t work here any more. If you’re an advertiser or otherwise do business with our station, call us at our convenience and we’ll try to find someone who is willing to talk to you.”

The second one says, “This person is leaving for a new job in another city. If you want to reach him personally, here’s how to contact him. If you wanted to talk to him about business related to our radio station, we want to make it easy for you to reach the right person.”

This is so obvious, right?

The second version is the one that makes good business sense.

So why is the first version is so much more familiar to you?

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  • Anonymous September 30, 2008, 11:39 am

    Dan I think we are more familiar with the first example because overall it is much easier to send a message like that. I agree that it is much more proactive to go the second route, but often times an employee get fired/takes another job and there isn’t time to send out a courtesy email.

  • Dan O’Day September 30, 2008, 1:54 pm

    But that doesn’t mean the radio station can’t create an autoresponse for the departed employee’s email address that is more helpful than the first one I quoted in the original blog posting.

    Instead of saying, “Whoever you are, if you want something from us then call us,” it could make more of an effort to assist the person in accomplishing whatever goal was intended by the original email.

  • Kevin Zimmermann October 1, 2008, 1:34 pm

    I think it comes down to one important aspect of business: Respect.

    Out of respect for the clients with which you have developed close business relationships, you are showing them that, regardless of your new situation, you respect their needs. This also shows committment to your own business ethics. The first message says: “You can forget about this guy”. The second says: “Thank you for your business; Here are the people that will help you now.”

    I’d certainly remember someone that cared enough to think of me after the business relationship had ended.

  • Rich Roszel October 18, 2008, 9:15 pm

    I think Version #2 is a masterful way of handling the situation. I wished to do something similar at a job I left (on good terms) but was never given the information as to whom my contacts should be referred. I asked several times because I care about the people I do business with and didn’t want them to receive Message #1. Unfortunately, it wasn’t my call.