Most everyone has an email account for use at work, and the email account we use as private individuals. In a customer relationship management tool, how would you manage those to make the distinction between Work email and Personal email addresses clear for a service like insurance? The chief consideration is that we contact the customer via their preferred channel. And they are inputting their email addresses into the tool, via the customer service portal.

Do we differentiate email address types by time, location, privacy, or some other dimension? And how do we know which email we have, if we offer up time of day as the dimension? (Let's say I work nights. My "evening" email is my work email. But if I change jobs, I lose that email address.)

Time of Day: Daytime Email/Evening Email

Location: Work/Home

Privacy/Access/: My Spam Account/My Private Personal Email/My Work Email

Permanence: My Personal Email / My Work Email

The reasons we want to collect emails are many and varied. The customer has opted in to be notified of policy changes. We also want to invite the customer to events, keep them apprised of the progress of a claim, and market to them.

Which dimension(s) of an email address would you call out for the customer, and why?

  • 1
    Why not just ask them for their preferred address, and use that? No, I'll make that an answer. Commented Oct 9, 2013 at 16:30
  • Thank you, @AndrewLeach, I've been over-thinking it, haven't I? ;-) Commented Oct 9, 2013 at 17:41

1 Answer 1


Since you have acknowledged that users have an email address that they would prefer you to use, just ask them for that preferred channel. Don't try and second-guess whether it's a daytime/work/home/throwaway address: use the address they nominate.

That is, the "most appropriate classification" is simply Preferred.

  • 2
    Actually, I know users that use their work email for personal stuff too. I know others that have more than two emails. Extra emails may be shared with a spouse, or reserved for e-commerce (to catch most of the spam), or used to post messages, or not really used at all, but given when a web site you don’t trust insists on having an email. It’s too hard to try to classify it all, so go with something like, “Email: _____. We’ll use it for (X)”. Commented Oct 9, 2013 at 18:11

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