How to ask nicely

Recently, one of our customers (let’s call him John) needed a way to collect data and files from thousands of different people. These weren’t people his team already had a relationship with, and they knew they weren’t likely to be very technical.

So, where do you start?

People are more aware than ever about the risks of clicking on links in emails – particularly John’s new user base, who were mainly retired. John’s team knew these people would be expecting some contact from them to kick off their relationship, but he also knew that the whole process needed to be short, clear and painless – keeping the amount of support calls to a minimum and importantly, avoiding them becoming disaffected.

John’s CRM was set up with the contact data for all of these people. They’d even created an initial email for the onboarding process. However, they needed their new customers to reply to the email and attach a number of files, including sensitive stuff such as pictures of driving licences etc.

John’s team were already using DOQEX Secure Data Exchange for sharing sensitive B2B data with their suppliers. He naturally asked us if we could also integrate with his CRM and capture the files being emailed back.

Initially, we were concerned about people emailing the wrong things, or sensitive data getting lost along the way, so we suggested they add our Email Gateway service to their DOQEX service. This way, we could intercept all their emails from the CRM campaign, without needing to make any changes to their legacy system, and modify the emails to include a few short words and a link to their fully white-labelled DOQEX service. This gave their new users a sense of security from start to finish – the email came from them, and the link went to a branded service under their domain name.

A file upload page was linked to each email, so we could easily link uploaded files to individual users, and securely send their information back into John’s team without it ever being transmitted in the clear.

At first, one of John’s management team was a bit concerned about such an approach. We therefore ran an A/B test across a few hundred users and got the following results:

Approximately 7% responded with the “please email files”, but they got a whopping 84% success rate for people using the upload portal.


The lesson here could have been “don’t ask, don’t get”, but in truth we like to encourage all our clients to reach out to us when they encounter business challenges and ask for our advice and help. Often, as in this case, if you ask nicely, you get a. fast and positive result.



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