Direct Mail Strategy: The Wonders of White Mail
For example, if you write Southwest with a specific problem, such as a flight that was late due to a mechanical problem, the letter you receive back is going to tell you why the flight was delayed, including pertinent details. To get the specifics, Southwest’s readers investigate the issue, interview employees who were involved, then provide a detailed explanation to the customer about what happened. Why go to all this effort? Kelleher explains in the article that it reinforces to the customer, “Hey, these people are really paying attention.”
Here are five additional tips you can employ to further maximize the value of your white mail.
• Answer “in kind.” Lands’ End had (and may still have) this policy. If the letter received was two pages long, the response was two pages. If the first paragraph was devoted to talking about how cute the customer’s grandchildren looked in their Lands’ End parkas, the first paragraph of the Lands’ End response was also devoted to talking about the customer’s grandchildren. Why? It builds rapport.
Lands’ End also applied this same principle in how it composed responses. If the original letter was handwritten, the response was, too. If the original was typed, so was the response. Again, it shows that the company is paying attention to little details that ultimately can mean a good deal to the individual customer as well as the customer’s lifetime value to you.
• Respond promptly. Don’t let correspondence sit for 60 days. Set a standard and adhere to it. According to the Spirit article, Southwest’s replies go out within 30 days. The more prompt your reply, the more impressed your customer will be.
• Share letters of praise. Distribute these messages company-wide to encourage all employees to emulate behavior that generates favorable customer comments.