Worst Practice

by Scott Austin October 10, 2014

Worst Practice

I like to minimize the amount of marketing email that I get.  I frequently opt-out of emails that I find I am not interested in.  Today, I went to opt out of an email and found what I am dubbing a worst practice.  The email was from Xbox Live Rewards.  I followed the link in the footer to unsubscribe, and here's the page that I got.  This one is pretty sneaky, so give it a read.

Notice what they have done here.  They have tied one's participation in their rewards program to receiving their marketing emails.  In other words, to opt out of the emails, you'll also be optia the rewards program.  The equivalent comparison would be an airline requiring you to receive their marketing emails in order to get their miles.

But wait.  It's not over yet.  If you do click to be removed from email and the rewards program, here's the next screen you see.

Yep.  You just can't opt-out.  You need to double opt out.  I'm going to guess at the root cause of this problem.  There's someone of the Xbox Live team whose primary job is retention in the rewards program.  They are probably goaled and bonused on the single retention metric.  So with that myopic focus, they do everything they can to reduce churn.  Even if there are negative consequences elsewhere to the business.  From a marketing standpoint, I can how this happens.  But from a customer relation standpoint, this just screams to me "THIS COMPANY DOES NOT CARE ABOUT ITS CUSTOMERS."  Unfortunately, in org as big as this one, no one has the complete view of the health of the business.

So, I happily unsubscribed from the email and the rewards program.  I've been an Xbox Live subscriber since the beginning.  That's something like 11 years now.  This tactic is something I'll be thinking about in couple of months when its time to renew my Gold subscription.

Disclosure.  In the past, I worked on the Xbox Live team at Microsoft.

Scott Austin
Scott Austin