Why Aren’t You Reaching Out to Customers?

There’s a trend I’ve been noticing lately with a few companies: dropping the opportunity to reach out to customers in favor of making them do some legwork in order to receive loyalty rewards. Now, I get that we live in an age where people are bombarded with emails, messages and even snail mail on a daily basis, but there is one instance in which I always want a company to reach out and get in touch with me. That instance is when I have a credit or “reward” to use!

Last week, I received an email from Old Navy:

Screenshot of my Old Navy rewards emailing explaining that rewards will no longer be automatically sent to the customer.

In other words, this email is the last contact I should expect from the company regarding the rewards I have earned. From the date I received this email forward, if I want to cash in my earned $5 I will need to put in the legwork to look up if I have a reward and then print it out before shopping in the store.

The “best part” is, I don’t even log in to the Old Navy website in order to look up my rewards. I’ll need to go through my third-party financial institution and find their statement (since I don’t see the whole bill when I log in to just pay it) – a part of the process they even highlight in their email.

Missed opportunity? Absolutely.

While I’m pleased to see that Old Navy is reducing the number of snail mailings they send out to me in a given year (and all the accompanying paper that goes with those mailings), I don’t understand why – from a marketing perspective – they would want to make it more difficult for me to remember I’m an Old Navy customer. What benefit is a rewards system for the company if it’s not serving to remind customers that they enjoy shopping at your store and enticing them to come back in?

Not to mention, Old Navy in particular has a great potential up-sell opportunity that can be highlighted as a benefit in a quick email reminder (that can double as the coupon itself on customer’s cell phones). In this case, rewards are accepted at any of their “sister” stores as well – all of which are at a higher price-point than Old Navy itself. Meaning, if I take my reward and order a pair of shoes online at Piperlime, I’m definitely going to spend more with the company than I would if I just popped down to Old Navy and grabbed a t-shirt off the rack.

Without the reminders? Yeah, I’m less likely to use the coupon and save a few dollars at the store, but I’m also no longer reminded of a reason I should go into the store in the first place. In the case of ordering a new pair of shoes, I still might end up at Piperlime…or I might end up going to a competitor, particularly if a well-timed email from the competitor alerts me to some kind of credit I’ve earned with my loyalty.

Bottom line is this: Over-saturation of your message can definitely turn a once-loyal customer off, but so can radio silence. If you have reason to communicate with your customers, you should definitely take the time to reach out to them. After all, don’t we have enough on our minds without having to remember where we like to shop?

 Jennifer Soloway [follow me on Twitter] // Senior Art Director // Strategic Insights

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2 Responses to “Why Aren’t You Reaching Out to Customers?”


  1. 1 Melissa August 19, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    I agree with this blog post. I get emails from companies I frequently shop at and the emails are helpful and remind me to check out new things at the stores. I also like when coupons are included right in the email and would much rather print it out or use the coupon right from there than have to go to another site to use it.

  2. 2 Jenn Soloway August 22, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    @Jessica – Exactly! Depending on your customers to make the extra effort is risky and often will lead to them not bothering, or going to a competitor who simplifies the process.


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