Why Customer Recovery Surprisingly Works Best With Handwritten Mail

Retention| Andrea|28/05/2021


If you take a look at most marketing departments, you quickly get their focus: the acquisition of new customers. But, in fact, it would be much cheaper to try to retrieve lost clients. If a company succeeds in reactivating renegade customers with attractive return offers, the result is usually above average. In this case, the quality of the chosen communication is crucial. A simple e-mail isn’t enough anymore.

Why customer recovery surprisingly works best with handwritten postcards

Marketing experts have already recognized that conventional snail-mail is now a good way of reaching people again. But many others also resort to this type of communication, albeit often very uninspired and uncreative. Handwritten letters will definitely get you noticed. Today it’s more and more about how to use handwriting to communicate unique messages most effectively.

How can you retrieve lost customers?

If you want to regain former customers, the focus must be shifted to personal contact. Only a direct conversation or a handwritten message works – even more than a phone call to reach them. Recovery campaigns with handwritten postcards, Pensaki customers achieve a customer retrieval rate between 9 and 12%! This is a significant increase compared to the usual acquisition, which is about 5%.

A great example of customer recovery mailings with handwritten postcards is electricity providers. Since every German household can freely choose its provider, the market is highly contested. The consumer can legally and easily change the electricity company within just three weeks. Therefore, the chance to lose a customer to a cheaper provider is pretty high if you haven’t established a personal relationship with them.

Even local bonds no longer protect the municipal utilities from their consumers searching for a cheaper electricity supplier. If there isn’t any business connection on the emotional level, it doesn’t even need to be a problem, and the customer decides to switch if he finds a cheaper offer. Some electricity providers are trying to retrieve their old customers with personal handwritten postcards containing special prices and discounts.

The big opportunity: reactivation through emotions

In fact, for most customers, an emotional bond with a provider is much more important than a tiny price difference for gas and electricity. If any problems occur, quick and easy personal contact is essential. A solid business relationship is a necessary condition for customer loyalty and is characterized by high resilience on both sides. If the customer feels valued and not only like a dispensable number, they won’t mind the price difference.

Build a new foundation of trust by appreciating the customer

Handwritten messages and letters express a very personal and high level of appreciation. Our brain doesn’t receive communication; it decodes it, according to British marketing expert Rory Sutherland. He names an excellent example of this automatic selection of the importance of messages:

Imagine receiving two different invitations to a wedding at the same date. One will be sent by e-mail, the other by snail-mail in a pretty, heavy envelope, and your address has been handwritten. You immediately attach more importance and value to the handwritten invitation. Sutherland calls this phenomenon “costly signaling.” The addressor invested time and trouble to select the stationery and write the invitation by hand, regardless of the expenses.

Your brain will immediately judge that it’s essential to the sender for you to attend their wedding. We also automatically associate a higher chance for nicer food and an open bar at this wedding. In comparison, the message sent by e-mail is perceived as “cheap”. We assume right away that the wedding celebrations will take place at a lower level. The handwritten message sent by mail has a significant impact.

This example shows perfectly how important it is what kind of medium you use to contact your customer. If you send a handwritten postcard, the recipient will automatically assign greater importance even if the message is very short and concise. The customer feels valued; they realize the effort and costs you have invested. This also builds up trust in the business relationship. Why would you cheat on them if you take on so much trouble? This is called reputation reflex; customer loyalty is sustained. By taking the time and costs for a handwritten message, you signify to the customer how valuable they are and how vital it is for you to get them back.

How you can win new customers with handwritten mailings

Electricity providers have taken advantage of this surprise effect by sending personal handwritten postcards without much advertising content. This campaign aimed to get feedback from the recipient. In a first mailing, the provider sent their former electricity customers 10,000 postcards with a personal offer, including a one-time credit as a thank you.

In the second wave of mailings two weeks later, flyers were added in a handwritten envelope. Only because of this handwritten address, nearly all envelopes were opened! This campaign resulted in 9-12% returnees to the former provider. With 10,000 households contacted, we’re talking about 1,200 new customers – what a number!

Of course, you can send a brief text message or post on the Facebook timeline to wish Happy Birthday or Merry Christmas. However, this doesn’t express a high level of appreciation. This type of communication is too generic and may get lost with all the other messages.

This materiality plays a significant role in terms of value, which also explains the continued popularity of analog media such as books, records, or photos on actual paper. However, all of this has long been available in digital form. Consumer research found out that people are willing to pay more for physical goods because they attribute more significant value. This, in turn, also has to do with the fact that objects you can hold in hand trigger significantly more positive emotions.

Therefore, handwritten letters and postcards have a double effect on the recipient. On the one hand, through the expression of personal style, signaled by the handwriting, on the other hand through the possibility of being able to feel the message. Together they beckon a special appreciation: Someone has taken the time and effort to put text on paper and send it by post instead of typing it in the phone or computer and just sending it off with a slight tap of the finger.

If you can deliver this feeling of appreciation with your handwritten messages, you will see measurable results, such as higher response rates. This has to do with the basic rules of social behavior. If someone is doing us a favor, we feel obliged to reciprocate that gesture. According to the marketing expert and social psychologist Robert B. Cialdini, taking into account the so-called “principle of reciprocity” is one of the most critical success factors in marketing.

How to achieve higher opening and response rates with handwritten mailings

Studies show that follow-up calls on handwritten messages are about 4-5 times more likely to be accepted. The opening rate of handwritten letters is up to 90%! Almost all handwritten letters in a mailing aimed at retrieving customers are actually opened – provided you consider the success factors.

You can also achieve 10-40% response rates when acquiring new customers and communicating with regular customers. Read more on this topic in our blog post “Why handwriting really works in the digital age.”

But, of course, you don’t have to sit down for hours and days and write the postcards by hand to regain customers. Our friendly and tireless handwriting robots from Pensaki are more than happy to take on this task for you! Select the card or the paper & envelopes and the robot handwriting styles in our showroom, upload your message, and we will take care of the rest.

To convince yourself of the high quality and authenticity of our robots’ handwritten postcards and letters, request a free sample in our showroom now. Check out what our customers say about our handwritten letters and postcards. We ship worldwide via UPS!