Delivering bad news in a way that builds custom


The successful VIP loyalty programme that JD Williams runs, collates its VIPs from its customer base on a yearly basis. Customers who don’t meet the requirements for VIP status in the previous year, lose out on the subsequent benefits. A good VIP scheme relies on good VIP customers and we want to keep them and add to the base! After mailing the customers with a warning that they are close to failing to qualify as a VIP earlier on in the year, we had to find a way to break the bad news.


We came up with a digitally printed letter with oodles of personalisation plus a strong discount to help them on the road to VIP status once more. Our tone of voice remained gentle, understanding and encouraged them to continue spending with the incentive of being a VIP.


We saw some impressive response rates and reported that using a generic discount was preferred over a discount in one department. The generic discount mailer received a response rate of 7.2% and the preference discount was best received in the footwear department with a rate of 4.8%. A good spin on making the best out of bad news!