OPB – Where’s the Love?

When it comes to OPB, the following is true:

  • I am a huge fan of OPB (Oregon Public Broadcasting).
  • I am one of the 120,000 contributors who believe that the service and programming OPB provides is necessary and valuable.
  • I am a proud OPB member.
  • I am a little bit miffed at OPB’s Membership Team.

Earlier this week, two emails from OPB hit my inbox. The first email was an invitation for a behind-the-scenes tour of the OPB station. I knew that I had received this invitation in error, because it started out with “Dear 20 Year Club Member” and I have not been a member that long.

It was easy to forgive the error. Anyone who has done email blasts knows that if you aren’t careful, then a batch of emails can get sent to the wrong group. I knew the tour invitation was not intended for me and I was ok with that.

However, the second email (from John Bell, OPB Membership Team) rubbed me the wrong way. The intention was to correct the error and rescind the invitation. But the execution fell flat. Here’s John’s email:

Maybe John Bell was trying to be witty but he flubbed it. First, I don’t think it was necessary to call Julie out for sending the email to the wrong member list.

But more importantly, John’s email ends by thanking me for my understanding. But he doesn’t thank me for being an OPB member.

Hey John – where’s the love? I may not be a 20 Year Member, but I am an OPB member.

So please join Julie at the blackboard and write “I will not forget to thank my members” 62,475 times. Thank You.


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6 Responses to “OPB – Where’s the Love?”

  1. Rick Says:

    Hi Anne,

    I also received the 20-Year Club invitation but have not yet received my dis-invite.

    I’m 100% with you on calling out Julie. I thought it could be a pseudonym for the organization as a whole, but a few seconds on LinkedIn showed me otherwise. I wonder how many other people will do this, resulting in a somewhat public humiliation for Julie.

    As Julie was responsible for the original email blast, she was probably responsible for sending the dis-invites too. I cannot imagine how she may feel, emailing thousands of Members about her error. I know how I would feel about myself — and John Bell….

    You inspired me to email John Bell after I receive my dis-invite. If others take issue with his choice of words, John may rewrite the verbiage before I receive mine.

    On the lack of a “Thank You”, I’m not all that disappointed. While I feel all NPOs should always thank you in every communications with it’s members or contributors, I would not have noticed if you had not mentioned the omission. Could it be you were hyper-vigilant after being ticked-off by the Julie section?

    • servicerox Says:

      Hi Rick – I know…these kind of email-blast errors are embarrassing – especially when it goes out to a large group of people as this one did. I don’t think I was hyper-vigilant. But calling her out made me cringe because I can easily imagine myself in her shoes. 😦

      I know OPB appreciates their members; but the carelessness of their second email surprised me. I wasn’t ticked off; just slightly miffed with the omission of a “thanks for being a member”. It’s a pet peeve of mine. Every contact with your members/customers is an opportunity to let them know that you appreciate their support. And he forgot to do that.

      Thanks for commenting – I appreciate it!

  2. Ari Says:

    Hi Anne –
    I guess I feel the same way you do. I was a little bit shocked at how John threw Julie under the proverbial bus, and this while I as a non-20 year member, but nevertheless, a member, didn’t get so much as a “hey,
    even though you haven’t not been around that long, we appreciate you too”.
    Working in a commercial organization myself, I know that when your staff makes a mistake, the organization should come out and cover for that on behalf of the organization, never making it about individual employees (unless they did something for which they should be fired immediately). You would never want an employee of your organization say something negative about any other employees to your customers, whether they be subordinates or superiors in the corporate hierarchy. That negativity would always reflect badly on the organization, not just on the subject of the comments.
    John managed to make the initial mistake about a specific person rather than about the organization, and then to boot, while speaking on behalf of the organization, made the no doubt sizable field of less-than-20-year OPB supporters feel just a little bit like they didn’t really count.

  3. John Bell Says:

    Hi, Anne.

    Thanks for posting this. It’s been really interesting to see the differing reactions to that email. One set feels, as you do, that I threw Julie under the bus and dissed our members, and the other who found it funny and humanizing. Obviously, I was shooting for the 2nd reaction. I had hoped that the oversized “punishment” was an indicator that, while the mistake was regrettable, it wasn’t that serious and we’re capable of laughing at, and about, ourselves.

    We’ve been trying to break out of stuffy, corporate-speak habits at OPB. It looks like I was only about 50% successful, which isn’t very good.

    Thanks for your perspective. And thanks for being a member!


    • servicerox Says:

      Hi John –
      I am so glad to hear from you. It’s good to know that the intent was to poke fun and be light-hearted. 🙂

      One challenge of written communications is that sometimes people are going to misinterpret the intent. When I have to apologize to customers, I try to keep it simple and very clear so there is little room for misunderstanding.

      I appreciate that you took the time to read my post and for your comments. I love OPB and am proud to be one of your many supporters!

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