Monday, September 23, 2013

Email Barely Misses the Mark @RCSHSeattle (A Work-Related Post)

Here's a recent email from Ruth's Chris Steak House that gets so many things right but also misses the mark.  

Relevancy: Right on. An anniversary message with a very soft sell delivered before our anniversary. Probably the right amount of time ahead of time. (One awkward bit - it wishes the reader a "Good morning" - it's minor, but that's the perspective of the sender, not necessarily the perspective of the recipient.)

Branding: Failure. If you don't recognize "RCSH" you don't actually see "Ruth's Chris Steak House" mentioned until the fourth paragraph. I would recommend adding a simple logo at the top. That would allow it to continue to have the simple, more personal touch (too many graphics and it becomes an ad) but still reinforce the simple elegance of the brand. Also, do away with the boilerplate copy at the bottom.  (Probably a side-effect of someone doing this by hand from a personal email address?)
Technical - From: I'm not sure the history behind the name, but they're saddled with a mouthful of a name. Pre-internet, that was no big deal. Now it leaves them stuck with an awkward acronym.  So instead of a clear "From:," you get the "RCSH - Seattle <>"  I'm not saying they need to be all hip and change their name to "RC Steak" but I think "Ruth's Chris Seattle" would be recognizable to past patrons much more quickly than "RCSH - Seattle."

Technical - To: Sadly, they probably will get a far lower response rate than they expect, or at least hope. The email was addressed to the General Manager of RCSH Seattle, I was just a BCC.  And what happens to BCC:s? That's right, spam folder.  (I've railed against BCC before, for other reasons.)

Messaging: It's ok. I don't know if they're offering free/discounted champagne or just saying that's how they'd start, but that's fine. It's inferred and goes with the soft-sell nature. Also, the hours work best just in the text (a table might make it look less informal) but there's so many parenthetical hour changes that maybe it's best to just post the more restrictive hours to make it simpler. It has a good flow - relevant engagement, offer, call to action, more details, warm close.

Summary: A nice touch, a good effort. We absolutely enjoyed our dinner there in 2012 and we will definitely be back and would totally recommend Ruth's Chris Steak House Seattle to our friends and family. The food and the care ("service" seems too light a word) we received were fantastic. An email a year later to recognize the anniversary is a welcomed engagement and fits with the experience.  

Here's the email:

Click to enlarge

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