We sent an email to our subscriber list. The normal number of advisors opened it and read it. A smaller group clicked the link in the body of the email. Some folks called in to learn more. It wasn't anything out of the ordinary. Just an email announcing the addition of some new principal-protection solutions to our fiduciary marketplace.

But then…

We got a very terse response from a fiduciary in northern California. We disappointed him. He had trusted us. He wanted to unsubscribe. Normally, when customers respond directly to emails requesting to unsubscribe, our team will simply unsubscribe them and send a follow-up email acknowledging the request, offering an apology.

This time was different.

"I'm very disappointed and you no longer have my respect."

This particular email was so impassioned and thoughtful that I wanted to speak with the author directly. When our team followed up, I asked if the advisor, Glen Davenport, would be willing to speak with us and explain what inspired his response so we could learn how we could improve. I offered my phone number. This was not an ordinary all-caps rant, and I had a feeling he wasn't just having a bad day. We hit a nerve, and I wanted to know why.

We work with RIAs and fee-based advisors offering a platform of insurance solutions. It takes time to build trust, and precious little to lose it. If Glen was moved to write us directly, how many others were silently thinking the same thing? Was it the solution, the message or both that triggered Glen's action?

It didn't take long for him to respond. He called me directly within 30 minutes of our reply. He was pleasant. Remarkably pleasant. Disarmingly so. It wasn't what I was expecting.

I read his email back to him, "Please! I thought you were pursuing better products for those of us who are fiduciaries. I am very disappointed, and you no longer have my respect. Time to unsubscribe you with all the other pretenders."

A passionate one

When I finished reading, Glen broke a short silence. "It's a passionate one, isn't it?" He seemed a little surprised with the tone. "It's not written out of any hatred or anything," he assured me. "It was just disappointment."