Next Time, Keep The Penny

I love getting checks in the mail.

But this check had my whole family shaking their heads with laughter and dis-belief.

Here is the letter and check I received from Lord & Taylor:

Now, I appreciate the honesty in making sure my account is set at a zero balance and proactively issuing me a check for the credit amount, but for a penny?  Really?  Are you serious?

The postage alone was worth $0.35!  Printing, IT, envelope, processing, etc surely takes the total cost up to $1-2, if not more.  Not to mention the environmental impact of paper, ink, fuel, etc to deliver my one red cent back to me.

But the biggest crime of all (from a marketing standpoint) is the lost opportunity here.

Sending me a check is a good thing – I will be in a good mood and highly receptive and responsive to any message, suggestion or request they might have.  What else could they have done with this letter?  Well, here are a few thoughts:

  • They could have sent me a coupon to encourage me to come back and spend more next time.
  • They could have sent me a post card instead, telling me I have a credit balance on my card and that I should come in an buy something and use it up.
  • They certainly could have printed their logo on the letter.
  • They could remind me where the nearest Lord & Taylor stores are located.
  • They could have invited me to sign up for email alerts for specials and exclusive sales.
  • They could have asked me why I haven’t been back lately.  Maybe there was a customer service or merchandise problem they could address by just asking me, or giving me a toll free number to call.
  • Online survey?
  • Enter an online sweepstakes for a shopping spree?
  • Ask if I would like to donate the credit balance to a charity of my choice?

At least they did thank me for my business.  The point is, every interaction with a customer is an opportunity to do something…’ve already spent the money, now spend a little brain power and take it to the next level.

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One Response to “Next Time, Keep The Penny”

  1. Jon on July 20th, 2010:

    Hilarious. Had this happen plenty of times. Anything less than a stamp is worthless…and you’re right, why not capitalize on the opportunity? Or even cancel the debt and give something back?