Required Name Field, Custom Name Fields, and the Preference Center

I'm a big fan of CM (and it's simplicity!), but I'm a bit confused/frustrated by the default Name field.  It seems extremely limiting and presumptuous, but perhaps I am just not thinking about it in the right way.  Wondering if anybody can help me out.

As I understand it, the Name field expects a two word name.  If your name happens to be Mary Anne Smith or John Smith Jr. it seems you are just out of luck.  You are going to get customized emails that say "Dear Mary," or "Hello Mr. Jr."   Is this correct?

To get around this we've done a few things.  On simple accounts where we are only using the first names of folks we just use the default name field and code fullname in our emails.  On more complex accounts we have created our own custom name fields "First Name" and "Last Name", which allows us to put whatever we want in those fields, and add them together if we want somebody's full name.

While this kinda works, it is still problematic.  For example, in the preferences page, it doesn't appear that we can turn off the name field (nor does it appear that we can reorder any of our fields after we create them).  So instead of a preference center that concisely asks the user to update:

First Name
Last Name
Email

We get one that offers to update:

Name
Email
First Name
Last Name

This seems like it would confuse our clients a great deal.  I'm definitely sure I wouldn't fill in all the fields, and I have no idea what I'd put in the ambiguously titled "Name" field.  Do I just put my first name?  Or my first name and last name?  At least it would be convenient to have a light grey example of what I should put in there, or be able to re-title the field so it reflected what I wanted, such as only "First Name". Do other people find this confusing too?

My questions are as follows:
1) Is there any way to hide or re-title the first name field in the Preference Center?
2) Is there any way to reorder the fields in the Preference Center?
3) Is there any way to make the <preferences></preferences> tag link to a custom page that I have built using the CM API instead of the default preferences page?
4) Can any of my problems be resolved by thinking about this in a different way?

madebyspark, 4 years ago

I am having the same issue here myself... Any help on this? Thanks!

davidaf davidaf, 4 years ago

bparizek,

1) Is there any way to hide or re-title the first name field in the Preference Center?
No, at this time there isn't a way to do this.

2) Is there any way to reorder the fields in the Preference Center?
Not the default fields, no. The custom fields will appear in the same order as they are listed in your custom fields area.

3) Is there any way to make the <preferences></preferences> tag link to a custom page that I have built using the CM API instead of the default preferences page?
No, if you roll your own preference center, you'll simply have to link to it and pass any data via your URL.

4) Can any of my problems be resolved by thinking about this in a different way?
You are correct that there are limitations in the system; I think the points you bring up are valid and I'll be sure they get passed on for consideration.


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Leon Leon, 4 years ago
bparizek wrote:

So instead of a preference center that concisely asks the user to update:

First Name
Last Name
Email

We get one that offers to update:

Name
Email
First Name
Last Name

This seems like it would confuse our clients a great deal.

We're experiencing the exact same issue. If we could disable/remove the 'Name' field that would be perfect.

EDIT: Actually, we got around this by treating 'Name' as a 'First Name' field, and then added a custom field called 'Last Name'.  This gets the job done but it would be nice to have a bit more control with the default 'Name' field. Cheers :)

microscooters, 2 years ago

+1 on this. Would be useful to be able to change this or just hide the name field on the preferences page.

roshodgekiss roshodgekiss, 2 years ago

Thanks microscooters - I've noted this internally. Welcome to the forums, btw!

PS: Microscooters are awesome. Can you do mad tricks on them?


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gpro gpro, 1 year ago

A BIG +1 vote from my side for all of bparizek's suggested features as well!

From the programming point of view, hiding the Name field is peanuts, so please consider adding a check/uncheck button for the name field!


- - -
Mathias (gpro)
gpro gpro, 1 year ago

Another tip from me, this is what I do right now:

Instead of using two fields for the last name (1. = the regular "Name" field and 2. = a custom field), I decided to use the regular "Name" field for the family name only, but not for the first name. In addition to that, I have to set up a custom field for the first name, of course.

The advantages of this idea is this:

- people are less confused because there is a clear differentiation between the two fields: one is for the first name, the other is for the last name (even if it is not called like that).

- you bypass the problem with complex names like "Miller jr." or "van Helsing" or "de Noronha e Rabaço". All these complex family names will reside in the regular "Name" field.

But this concept requires that you only use the "fullname" placeholder for the personalization! So, do not use the regular CM placeholder "firstname" or "lastname" anymore, as these placeholders will split the complex names into things like firstname = "Miller" and lastname = "jr.". And this is something, you don't want!


- - -
Mathias (gpro)
roshodgekiss roshodgekiss, 1 year ago

Hey there gpro, thank you so much for your feedback here - and thanks for your solution, as well! I've added your vote internally to hide the name field as suggested.

Another thing that we usually recommend is to get clever with forms and JavaScript, by creating fields like First Name and Last Name and Suffix, then appending the field values / adding them to custom fields on submit. In the case of complex surnames like "van Helsing", your approach is certainly the way to go (if you wish to use personalization like Mr. van Helsing).

Thanks, gpro - love your work!


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vante, 1 year ago

Hi guys, very useful work arounds -

I would like to add my  vote to add ability to separate/custom the name field.  I've created a form for client using Campaign Monitor and instead of using "Name" field, I created First name and Last Name custom fields.  Unfortunately in the lists & subscribers report view, I have an empty column under Name, and also don't have the ability to search for the subscriber using their first name (or by custom fields?)  in the report view, only by the default fields of Name or Email.

Basically my aim is to have their first name and last name listed in the report view, and  allows me to search for them by those values.  This is due to most of the form designs I've worked with that has the two fields, and means that the client can better manage their lists of subscribers - if you can let me know if there is other ways of doing this besides using first name as a label for Name field, that would be much appreciated.

Is there a way for us to receive an alert to this feature being added, I already follow you on twitter  thanks,

roshodgekiss roshodgekiss, 1 year ago

Hey there vante, thank you so much for your vote for more precise name fields, it's no problem at all. We really appreciate you explaining your scenario here, too.

Just to let you know, we contact everyone who has suggested a feature or improvement that makes it into an update - in this case, we'll be updating this forum thread.

Thanks, vante! Have a great weekend ahead :)


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missionmode, 1 year ago

I second the vote for more precise name fields. Many non-US/UK/AUS names have multiple parts. For example, we see names in a First Name field such as Alejandro Menezes or Cheng Hwa. It would be very useful to have the option to split Full Name into First Name and Last Name fields. This can't be done with custom fields because the name in the TO: email address is pulled from fullname., e.g. "Robert. A. Smith" (robert@nothing.com). At least, that's the way I understand it.

If were possible to customize the TO: name like some other systems do, we could use first name and last name custom fields.

roshodgekiss roshodgekiss, 1 year ago

Hi missionmode, this is quite unusual - from my knowledge, it isn't possible specify a To: name when sending email, this is something that exists only in the recipient's mail account (and can only be edited by them). By the To: name, do you mean the name that appears when they reply to you, or something else?

I'm happy to add your vote for separate First Name and Last Name fields, however if you could kindly provide more details on what you mean by changing the To: name, we'll be happy to look into this also. Thanks, missionmode!


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missionmode, 1 year ago

The CM name field assumes everything after the first space is last name. However, some people go by two first names (some have four parts to their full name). To use my earlier example, "Alejandro Menezes Garcia". The person's last name is Garcia, not "Menezes Garcia". The [lastname] variable becomes unusable for this reason.

Also, if someone enters "Dr. George" as first name and "Smith" as last name, the [firstname] variable would return "Dr." as the first name and "George Smith" as the last name, which looks bad.

If there were separate first and last name fields, this issue would go away.

jayc jayc, 1 year ago

Hello Ros,

I think missionmode is referring to what the recipient will see in the 'To' header of the email. The contents of this field depends on the email client - for example, in Outlook with a POP3 account, it will display whatever the sender chose to type:

http://img.createsend1.com/ei/r/AA/479/D40/csimport/screenshot.135847.png

I had the same concern as missionmode once - I was going to put the first and last names into separate custom fields, but I realised this would affect the 'To:' field in the email.

Please add my vote too - thanks!

roshodgekiss roshodgekiss, 1 year ago

Thanks jayc, you've been super-helpful! I've added your vote internally and will keep you posted on this one :)


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cdweeks, 1 year ago

What's the status on this? I like your service a lot but if I can't at least hide the "Name" field in the Email Preference Center (once I make my own fields for "Title" "First Name" "Last Name" etc), this will be a dealbreaker. I have a list with many last names that are multiple words, e.g. "de ____" or "van ______", and I need to be able to send emails as "Dear Mr. ______", but I also need the interface in the Email Preference Center to not be so confusing.

I think also there should be a way to reorder your custom fields, other than deleting the early ones and adding new ones to the bottom.

bparizek, 1 year ago

I'm very disappointed that this has not been addressed yet as well.  Each client that we place on your service expresses confusion about this feature within the first two weeks, guaranteed.

I celebrate most of Campaign Monitors design decisions and hold you up as an example to many people.  I also will fight to get our clients on your service because, unlike many other services, people come back to us with less questions and a general appreciation of how easy your product is to use.  Except when they express total confusion over the name field.

I end up comparing your name field to the sensibilities of other, lesser products which I will not name but which I am embarrassed to compare you to.

Please fix this outstanding issue.  Please, please, please.

roshodgekiss roshodgekiss, 1 year ago

Hi cdweeks and bparizek, thank you so much for your passionate feedback. In the real world, my last name is 'de Vries', so as you can imagine this affects me, too!

We are keen to address the treatment of names and name fields at some stage, as it undoubtedly affects our European customers in particular. So on your behalf I'll make sure this stays on our radar and keep you updated as we progress. Thank you for staying by us, despite the things we're missing.

cdweeks - I've also noted your interest in reordering custom fields, thank you!


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jnicol, 1 year ago

+1 For some sort of change to the way first & last names are handled in CM.

Personally, I would like it if CM exposed "First name" and "Last name" fields throughout the application: in the preference centre, and as fields that can be included in subscription forms. We shouldn't have to create custom "First/Last name" fields - they should be available automatically.

I realize this opens up a can of worms regarding the "Name" field. Obviously it's horrid UX if someone needs to specify their full name AND their first and last name in the Preference Centre.

My suggestion would be that via a setting a list can be defined as having EITHER a "Name" setup, OR a "First name" "Last name" setup. If the list is configured as the latter (First/Last) then the "Name" field would be hidden in the Preference Centre, but automatically generated by concatenating the "First name" and "Last name" fields.

I'm sure there are lots of edge cases to consider, but as a general approach to handling names I think it would benefit CM to offer the option of exposing "First name" and "Last name" fields, not only for the personalization reasons listed above, but just because sometimes it's better to be able to separate names into two fields if you need to, y'know?

ununpentium, 1 year ago

We're very disappointed in the bizarre, presumptuous and disrespectful manner that CM handles name personalization. Even more disappointed to find a 3-year-old discussion on the issue with nothing done about it. Lots of comments from CM Staff saying "noted", "on radar", "voted internally", "great workaround" or "keen to address".

Three years is a long time to ignore a very core feature that is available elsewhere.  It just shows CM's utter disregard and lack of respect for some very rational and patient users who are posting concern for such a standard and expected user experience.

+1000 for every rational and reasonable request in this thread to fix the personalization issue. (Is 1000 even enough? 1000000? How many votes will it take to get CM to prioritize this issue?)

Stephen, 1 year ago

Hi all,

Just following up here to let you know that it's now possible to re-order custom fields and make certain fields mandatory in your lists and on your Subscriber Preference Center pages!

This is now live in your account under 'Lists & Subscribers', and then within the 'Custom fields' option in each of your lists, so be sure to check it out. You can also learn a little more about below:

http://help.campaignmonitor.com/topic.aspx?t=113

Thanks again for your feedback and for helping to make this happen, and do let us know if you have any questions here!

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