Princeton Review: Don’t send me a huffy e-mail when I unsubscribe

So, it’s like that, Princeton Review. You loved me when I subscribed to receive your weekly School Research Service e-mails, but now that my daughter’s been accepted to college and I’ve unsubscribed, you can’t even be polite.

Here’s the let’s-destroy-our-business-relationship e-mail I received from Princeton Review when I unsubscribed:

From: Unsubscribe
To: LESLIE O’FLAHAVAN
Subject: Your unsubscribe is being processed…

We are processing your request to unsubscribe from our email services. Please make sure that you are sending your request from the email address subscribed to this service, otherwise we will be unable to process your request. Please allow up to 7-10 days for your request to be processed.  At that point you should receive no further email from us.  If you have any other issues, please let us know.

The Princeton Review

That is one cold e-mail:

  • The subject line implies that unsubscribing me is a complex task that requires “processing,” akin to reviewing a grant application or a Freedom of Information Act request.
  • They scold me for (possibly) having used one e-mail address to unsubscribe from another. Can’t they tell whether I’ve done that and only scold me if I have? (I haven’t)
  • They invite me to “let them know” if I have “other issues,” but they fail to provide any contact information.

Oh, how my relationship with Princeton Review has changed. Here’s the friendly, welcoming e-mail I received from them a few short months ago when I subscribed.

From: School Research Service from The Princeton Review
To: Leslie O’Flahavan
Date:  Tue, May 25, 2010
Subject: Colleges Looking For Students Like You

  • Are you a junior or sophomore exploring the right college for you?
  • Are you a senior still deciding where to go to college this fall?
  • Are you a returning student, or looking to transfer to a new school?

We can now provide you a personalized list of colleges, looking for students like you. Just answer a few questions to complete your profile, and you’ll be able to select and request more information from schools that want to hear from students with your background, and that offer your preferred major.

  • See matching colleges by completing your profile [I removed the link here]
  • Update your profile on PrincetonReview.com [I removed the link here]

So Princeton Review could be friendly to me when we started “dating” but barely civil when I broke it off. Don’t they realize that I might re-subscribe? Purchase books from them? Sign up for their Graduate School Research Service, Law School Research Service, or Medical School Research Service for either of my two college-age children?

The response to a customer’s unsubscribe request presents an opportunity to maintain a business relationship and build rapport. Princeton Review’s response really missed its mark.

— Leslie O’Flahavan

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