Consider this text:

Long emails get ignored and filed away. Short emails get read. People see the value without having to get out the reading glasses. A welcome email shouldn’t be a novel.

We used to have a really information packed welcome email for Basecamp. It had everything you’d ever need to know about your Basecamp account. And guess what? We got lots of support emails asking about the things people should have spotted in the welcome email. But they couldn’t see through all the fog we put in their way.

They provided all the necessary information but the customers “couldn’t see through the fog”?! They were too lazy or indifferent to read for their own good, is closer to the truth.

I’ve encountered this servile attitude quite often over the last couple of years, and I think it is harmful. A policy of licking customers’ boots is bad for the customer and worse for your own colleagues and employees.

Customers come and go, but capable colleagues should be retained for the long run. The person who put a lot of thought into that introduction e-mail will feel unfairly put down if her work is described as “fog”. Why should she stay?

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