Update: Problem solved.
As some of you know, I’ve been slowly working on a hobby startup in my spare time called Junk86 that’s designed to help people get off of print mailing lists in order to return their mailbox to something with a more sane signal to noise ratio.
Sadly, we find ourselves living in a world where businesses think that we want to be best friends forever because we bought one thing from them one time. Or, because we happened to buy one thing one time from the company they bought their mailing list from. Or, because we happen to live in a certain zip code. Either way, it’s generally fairly easy to solve the print mailbox overload problem since most businesses, while overly optimistic, are sane.
It turns out that direct mail advertisers understand the value of their lists, since response rates tie to profitability. Because of this, getting off lists is generally a matter of contacting companies to request removal. This, of course, takes time, navigating websites, finding the right person to contact, yadda yadda. Junk86 takes away the friction by allowing you to snap a picture of the junk mail on the way to the recycle bin. Send it in and we’ll do the heavy lifting.
Which brings me to Qwest. This company is proving to be the toughest nut to crack to date. In fact, the customer service agent I chatted with flat out refused to remove me from their mailing list and wouldn’t refer to me to anyone within the company who would. Seriously.
As the above video and transcript below show, getting off Qwest’s direct mailing list isn’t as simple as politely asking them to stop. Which leads to the value of Junk86. Eventually I’ll crack this nut, and Junk86 clients who don’t see a need for Qwest mailings clogging up their mailbox will benefit.
Qwest Chat Transcript Saved for Quality Assurance*
Chat Information: Thank you for contacting Qwest. My name is Mark. How may I help you today?
Current Resident**: Hello, I’m trying to figure out how I can get my address off of Qwest’s print marketing mailing lists. Could you help me with that?
Mark: Will you please verify the phone number or account number that you are inquiring about?
Current Resident: I’m not a customer. I receive advertising from Qwest at my apartment and would like it to stop. That would save me some time, you some money, and the environment a bit of pain.
Mark: I am unable to assist with that request.
Current Resident: Do you know of someone I could talk to about that? A contact in marketing, perhaps?
Mark: Sorry, no.
Current Resident: That’s very disappointing. Surely, there is someone within Qwest who’d think it’s smart to NOT send print marketing materials to people who don’t wish to receive them. I just need to know who to talk to, a department, an online form, email. Something like that.
Mark: Is there anything else that I can help you with today?
Current Resident: Wow, this is very disappointing. I’m sorry to hear that you were unable to assist me with what I believe is a very reasonable request.
Mark: Thank you for using Qwest.com today. Our goal is to provide you with excellent service and we appreciate your feedback, please take a moment to complete the post chat survey. If you need further assistance, please click here for additional customer service options on Qwest.com. We invite you to learn how to surf safer and smarter online. Click here to visit the Incredible Internet site and get online safety certified.
Chat Information: Thank you for using Qwest.com. Your chat session has ended.
* This chat is unedited with the exception of me removing Mark’s employee ID (or something like that). Some number that was after his name.
** Current Resident was the name on the mailing sent to a Junk86 client from Colorado who may or may not be a black woman in a sports bra who talks to Qwest reps in school cafeterias.