“As Soon As Possible” Just Not Good Enough for Customer Service Communication, And “In Due Time” Is Even Worse!

I am appalled and may never use SIXT Rental Cars again, EVER! Here’s why…”In Due Time”

We used SIXT while vacationing in Germany in the fall of 2011. My wife has been on the company’s email list ever since.

Last week, she decided to unsubscribe from SIXT Rental Car’s email list, clicked the link in its most recent e-mail and was taken to this webpage:

What message is this sending to its customers, or potential customers?

As my wife said, “in due time is worst than ‘as soon as possible.”

With “as soon as possible” at least the message is that “we received your notice and its important for us to serve you in a timely manner.”

The message of “your entry will be removed in due time” sends a couple of messages:

  1. Since you no longer want to be part of our mailing list you are no longer important to us so we’ll get to it whenever we get around to it.
  2. This is a rinky dink operation that has an intern in a backroom going through these unsubscribes manually deleting them off a database.

According to a Wikipedia page on SIXT “It has around 4,000 service stations in over 90 countries. Sixt was founded in 1912 by Martin Sixt in Munich. Sixt has continued expanding its business and is now in the USA.”

Even I have an automated system that automatically removes unsubscribes from my database if someone submits a request.

Get with it SIXT, the above response is insulting!

What does everyone else think? Please leave a comment below.

’til next time, make it a great week!


P.S. – my wife was previously receiving an email from SIXT about every two weeks. We’ll see if and when we get the next one.

10 thoughts on ““As Soon As Possible” Just Not Good Enough for Customer Service Communication, And “In Due Time” Is Even Worse!

  1. Louis Pageau says:

    I like to make my clients feel important and that we will take care of any request even those that are not planned.
    If the action is planned, I will refer to the date AND TIME that we agreed upon. If it is a new request, I will write “We will take care… (… of the matter in question) with diligence.
    It really says: It is important. I don’t know I much time I will need to respond but I will do it in the shortest time possible.

  2. Elaine says:

    Need to keep in mind, this company started in Germany and have to aware of cultural difference. ‘In Due Time’ could be their equivalent to our (USA)phrase of ASAP. I agree with your comments. SIXT should review/revise all of their customer facing communications.

  3. Skip Weisman, Workplace Communication Expert says:

    Thank you for leaving your comment!
    I appreciate your thoughts and bringing that cultural language difference into the conversation.
    There are a number of subscribers to my blog and hopefully some
    off them will chime in on it.

  4. Skip Weisman, Workplace Communication Expert says:

    Nice work!
    I would encourage you to do whatever you can to do even better.
    You can do that by committing to a time frame for giving an update on the status, even if you don’t know specifically. Keep this in mind, uncertainty is one of the worst human emotions, whatever you can do to reduce or eliminate uncertainty in those you serve, will raise your standing and credibility.
    Let me know if you’d like more specific ideas to do that.

  5. Hanu says:

    I have a problem with ASAP too as it conveys some kind of uncertinity. If I am over due in my payment and would tell the vendor that I will pay ASAP, would they accept? ‘As soon as Possible’ means possible based on what? for whom? who or what drive things to make them possible or make them possible sooner than later? I feel every customer facing action should hsve a process around it defining target time to finish which is SLA (Service Level Agreement) taht sets expectations to sevice providers and remove uncertinity for service subscribers.

  6. Skip Weisman, Workplace Communication Expert says:

    Hanu, you make great points and I love your question “who or what drive things to make them possible or make them possible sooner than later?” Something to think about and something we should be asking those who use that phrase! Thanks for stopping by and being inspired to leave a comment. Please come back, again soon.

  7. Katja says:

    I’m from Germany. The phrase “in due time” seems strange to me in this context. Was it a translation error? I would expect something along the lines “Your e-mail address has been removed from our distribution list”. Maybe they do need a while to process it? But I agree, this should all be automated.
    I hope you enjoyed your trip to Germany. 🙂

  8. Skip Weisman, Workplace Communication Expert says:

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting to add a German perspective to the discussion.

    I did enjoy my trip to Germany, its a wonderful country and I love the German people, my wife and I had a great time. One of my best friends is born and bred in Hamburg, and still lives there with his family. He’s coming to visit me in New York in September and will be coming back to run the NY City Marathon in November.

    Thanks, again for commenting and please come back and contribute soon.

  9. Eswari Kalugasalam Lawson says:

    I must confess that I have used the term ” will get back to you soonest” and I am lucky enough that I have not been queried by anyone so far. Though it may seem at first glance that I may be trivialising the customer, I felt that I was buying myself time while I address the matter/issues in the back room. My soonest has always been within 24 hours which is probably why I have been lucky to escape the wrath of clients…touch wood!

  10. Skip Weisman, Workplace Communication Expert says:

    You are in the majority. Few people, except me, will call you on something like this. Just understand that my concept isn’t so much the length of time in the response but the commitment and certainty the dedicated response time gives the person with whom we’re speaking. 24 hours is a great time response, and right now, its internal and you keep it to yourself. My coaching for you would be to make the commitment transparent. Put it in your outgoing voice mail and that will also keep you honest with yourself and make you much more aware of the follow through time frame you need to keep to.

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