Renewals and anniversaries


I don’t have many credit cards, so it’s something of a novelty when a card renews and I get a new one in the mail. Recently, I noticed what a lackluster job the credit card issuers do at recognizing the importance of this event. After all, the customer has been with you for at least a few years — perhaps even a decade or more — so shouldn’t you go out of your way to thank them?

Sure, some companies do a better job at this than others. For instance, the renewal letter from American Express is nicely designed and fairly gracious. It definitely outclasses the Visa and Mastercard letters I’ve received. But at best, it’s still a form letter. I’d like to see something a little more relevant, more personal.

For starters, the credit card company should create a series of targeted renewal letters that match up with the type of things the customer uses the card for. People who dine out a lot would get a different letter than those who spend all their money at electronics stores. That should make the first couple of renewal periods more interesting.

Then, for customers who have reached a major milestone like ten or twenty years as a cardholder, give them something really special. Perhaps a small gift that reflects the sort of things they buy, or a personalized letter or a phone call from one of the executives. These customers are probably the most loyal and most likely to say great things about the company when they’re happy. So investing the extra effort to really impress them at crucial moments in the relationship should pay off considerably.