We opened an envelope displaying nothing more than an address and AT&T’s logo. We were initially wary. Some companies send such envelopes, hoping their lack of information will increase the chances of people opening them. Also, we recently read that some cell phone companies are trying to quietly raise revenue with new fees. Most likely, we assumed, the letter would promote services.
The letter’s first line states, “I’m Vicki Martin, the Vice President and General Manager for AT&T in the Arizona and New Mexico area.” Beginning the letter this way was refreshing. Most big businesses don’t even try to take a personal approach.
The letter’s purpose is to let us know “what we’re doing” and “how we’re contributing to the community.” Seeing a company write in plain English also is refreshing.
The letter goes on to explain how AT&T is helping promote education, uphold human rights, protect the environment and prevent the dangers of texting and driving. The letter does not end with a catch. You know how some managers deliver compliments to employees simply as a bridge to deliver unfavorable requests?
Cynics might argue AT&T is up to something. They will assume the company is attempting to deflect negative impressions and will scoff at the idea that simply printing Vicki’s name on a piece of paper makes it personal. We also can’t verify the extent of the efforts the company outlined in the letter.
But this letter is still one step ahead of many other businesses. And moving companies from robotic to personal communications takes one long step at a time. Instead of constantly criticizing, the public must find moments, when appropriate, to applaud big business’ approach to building customer relationships. For this letter, we say good call AT&T.