There is a contact management service called Happy Grasshopper, which some of my fellow real estate agents use to help them keep in touch with their clients & customers . It touts “effortless nurturing” of your email database – you plug your people’s names in and it will occasionally send emails, in your name, to your contacts that are often tongue-in-cheek or slightly unexpected, to generate conversation. An example would be a question such as “What is your favorite flavor of Girl Scout Cookies?” and the like.
This service came up as a topic for discussion in a Facebook group I belong to – it is a group for real estate agents to ask questions of their peers and get opinions on all sorts of things, such as tech support questions, how products function, are they worthwhile to sign up for, etc. I made an honest off the cuff comment – to my peers – stating that I personally would find emails like that annoying. I didn’t feel comfortable sending these kinds of emails out to people who have contacted me about buying or selling real estate in Northeast PA. I don’t think they want me to know how they feel about Girl Scout cookies. They trust me not to send them unsolicited, off topic messages.
Last night a friend forwarded an email that Happy Grasshopper sent out to its customer base. They titled it “Some People Just Don’t Get It” – and they took a screen capture of my comment, complete with my name and my photo and proceeded to use my comment to try to make me look silly for “not understanding” how Happy Grasshopper works. The issue is – they did not have permission to use my comment at all.
I certainly would not trust my client’s emails addresses with a third party; I never have given away my clients emails and I never will. Certainly not to an outfit that feels they can take someone’s comment to someone else and use it in their marketing materials without permission.
Let’s raise the bar just a little bit – clients and customers contact you and trust you to not abuse their information. I assure everyone who contacts me – I will never share your information with any third party without your permission. Too bad Happy Grasshopper doesn’t operate on that same principle.