I’ve been thinking of switching wireless carriers lately. It’s not that I’m unhappy with my current carrier—it’s more a matter of consolidating some family bills. As if on cue, a large yellow envelope appeared in the tiny mailbox in my apartment building’s lobby. It wasn’t easy to pull it out without tearing it.
The piece of mail was from my wireless carrier. Something about it told me it wasn’t just the usual junk mail. Maybe it was the color and texture of the envelope. Inside was a form letter from the company’s president of external affairs in New York. She makes a point in the letter of saying that this was a new role for her in the company and that she was a lifelong New Yorker. She writes, “No matter who your wireless carrier may be, when you think of our company, different things may come to mind…we’d like to add one more iconic image: the New York skyline. Over the past 12 months, we’ve taken great strides to become a true New York company.”
She briefly lists some of the company’s community and arts sponsorships, and then writes: “I don’t expect you to take me at my word on this. That’s why I’m enclosing recent editorials from the Daily News, the Queens Tribune and the Brooklyn Daily Eagle that talk about the work we’ve done across the greatest city in the world.”
It’s a brief letter, with a nice font and plenty of leading between the lines. It was a pleasure to read.
Also in the envelope were four unstapled pages: three reprints of articles from the newspapers she mentioned, with old-fashioned highlighting of certain passages; fourth was a New York City map with the header “We Support NYC” that indicated the locations of the arts and community programs the company supports. The map itself is ingenious: While it purports to showcase the good works of the wireless carrier, it also cleverly raises awareness of the arts and community organizations themselves.
The whole package was so simple and so human. I got a sense of who the external affairs is as a person—only a New Yorker would be savvy enough to think in terms of distinct boroughs. I wasn’t burdened with too much information and too many pages. She made it easy for me to learn some new things about my wireless carrier. I would have instantly deleted an e-mail transmitting the same information.
Maybe this old-fashioned snail mail outreach worked for me because of the struggle I had pulling it out of my mailbox—I wanted some kind of payoff for my efforts. The bigger factor, I think, is that the wireless carrier took some time to think about who its New York customers really are.
And no, I haven’t made the switch in carriers—yet.
Follow Steve Goldstein: @SGoldsteinAI