First up, apologies for the impersonal greeting. We write to a lot of people and I’m sure you appreciate that learning all your names would be quite an undertaking. We’d be lying if we said we didn’t think about going with ‘Dear Sir/Madam’, but that sounds rather old fashioned these days, doesn’t it? And you might even consider it disingenuous. After all, we’re not attempting to start a personal relationship here, are we? You’re the customer, we’re the utilities provider. Let’s keep it professional and above board.
‘Occupier’ has a certain ring to it, though, wouldn’t you say? Formal, but not cold. I’d say respectful. We’re acknowledging straight out that it’s the resident power in this plot of land we want to do business with, not just whoever happens to open the mail. Only you, the Occupier, will do. God created the earth, and this is your spot on it. You need utilities, so here we are. It couldn’t have been planned better.
Plus if you really want to get into it, there’s no denying ‘The Occupier’ takes things onto a more existential footing than just ‘Dear Mr and Mrs’. You don’t need us to tell you that in the scheme of things you won’t be in this property forever, and someday further down the road your number will come up and that’ll be it, ker-put. There’s no hiding from it. By calling you ‘The Occupier’ all we’re doing is coming right out and alluding to it. Property ownership, relationships – everything’s temporary. Everything except utilities providers.
You see, when we call you ‘The Occupier’, what we’re doing is signalling that we remember a time before you were ‘The Occupier’, when that other family with the Honda and grown-up children was there and you were still renting. There were customers before you and there’ll be customers after you, and they’ll all need their utilities. We’re just being up front about it. No one’s stay here on earth is permanent, but we hope it brings you some comfort to know that there will always be utilities providers here to provide you and whoever follows with the utilities you need.
And at the end of the day, maybe that’s why we don’t learn your names. If we start out with ‘Dear Mr and Mrs’, then I’ve got to sign off ‘Yours, Mr Such-and-such’. Sure, we could put your details on a database and send you a personalised mailshot every quarter, but the point is it wouldn’t be me writing to you in perpetuity. Not Geoff Stanley, Marketing Director. Some day they’ll get a new Marketing Director, and then a letter will appear from Ian Sutherland or Helen Albright and you’ll read it and say, ‘Hey, wasn’t the last letter from that Geoff guy? And now not even a mention of where he’s got to?’ It’d just make us both feel bad about the futility of life and the transience of the relationship between a customer and his utilities provider. By signing off ‘Marketing Director’ I’m making a claim for permanence that only a well-salaried position within a utilities provider can. At least it stops us getting into any of this heavy stuff.
Look at me, rambling on here. Keep it brief, they told me. In and out, bam-bam-bam, no one gets hurt and you land yourself a sale. Here I am breaking all the rules in the book.
So, dear Occupier… Here at the office we joke that that’s how the Palestinians probably write to the Israelis. You see, we’re a company with personality. You’re not Jewish, are you? Hard to tell from a name like The Occupier.
Anyway, cutting to the chase. It’d be just great if you felt we were the utilities provider for you. Hand-on-heart, I honestly think we’d do a first-rate job of getting you your utilities just when you need them. Why not give us a call today? Be sure to mention that it was old Geoff here that you put you onto us. They know me over in sales and I’m sure we can cut you a great deal.