In the meantime, Elite-level frequent fliers don't know if their perks on Continental or United will be maintained once the programs merge.
The letter here is defensive and incomplete in its attempt to address these concerns. It adequately communicates some of the product's benefits, but fails to suggest that these benefits will be available in the long term. The opening of the letter assures the reader that "in most ways" the OnePass program will continue as it is today; however it does not affirm that the Presidential Plus program will continue as it is offered today. That means that this letter could get a Fail for Offer if neither Chase nor Continental/United are aware of future benefits or if they are aware of their intentions to change them by 2012. Even though it is a credit card solicitation, the letter suggests it is an update on the progress of the merger. It references "OnePass offers that you will be receiving this year," suggesting that this offer is not the most compelling. Should the recipient take this offer or wait for a better one?
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- The tone of the letter is defensive.
- It is not easy for a reader to scan the contents or message.
- The offer touted on the envelope is buried. It turns out that the complementary Presidents Club membership is available by being a Cardmember during the year that the annual fee is waived. However, discovering that important fact requires reading the body copy in the fourth paragraph then doing the math.
- The body of the letter does not open with specific consumer benefits. The fact that United/Continental is excited about the merger has no value to a consumer. In fact, it can suggest negative value, because the letter does not address the company's motivation for excitement.
- The tone is too formal and dry for a consumer communication. For example, there is a heavy use of passive verbs such as "...you will be receiving this year" when a dynamic communicator would write "...you will receive this year". Perhaps Chase attempted to use a business to business communications style because most frequent travelers are business people. However Chase/United/Continental forgot that business travelers are also consumers. They read memos at work, not at home.
- There is a typo in the 2nd paragraph. The letter states that the programs "...will hen merge into a single program in 2012." Hens lay eggs. I believe they meant "...will then merge..." Of course, a more dynamic letter would read "...and then will merge..." or even "...and then merge into a single program in 2012."
- Your customer communications should be clear, concise, and simple.
- Communicate your key benefits simply and reinforce them.
- Avoid passive verbs.
- Use an independent proofreader to catch typos.