Thursday, 6 May 2010

DVLA: Slick Strategy?!

Richard Anderson,
Business Development Director

Ok. I confess. I hadn't realised the youthful photograph that adorns my driving licence is not good enough anymore being over 10-years-old. While it might not sound like terribly negligent behaviour on the surface, I had also forgotten to inform DVLA that I changed my address 2 1/2 years ago. So how did I find out the photo had expired? The irony is that DVLA have relocated me to my new address using a suppression file.

So is this a great example of database enhancement? The letter I received was a little Big Brother-esque in tone "The photo on your driving licence will expire shortly.... In preparing this letter DVLA has checked the last address you gave us with records held by a commercial partner". Very stern and a little disconcerting but it was reassuring to see the information was accurate.

After further reading it was clear that DVLA had already experienced issues with their suppression service as a caveat in the mailing states, "If the person we sent this letter to no longer lives at this address, please destroy this letter." My suspicion that DVLA had sent out two mailings at the same time was confirmed a few weeks later when the original letter, which had been set to my former address at exactly the same time as the other letter, arrived on my doormat. Surely, it would have been worth seeing if I responded at the first address before sending out the tester to my new address?

So, while the strategy employed by DVLA was pretty slick there are a couple of potential pitfalls I think it’s worth noting. First, the letter to my old address could have been opened by the current occupants, opening up the opportunities for identity fraud. The tone of the letter to my new address alludes to an all seeing eye, which is a real turn off. The letters weren't phased to allow any natural interaction with the "customer". And finally, relocation products are not 100% reliable so my details could have gone to the wrong house providing yet another fraud opp.

Ultimately, DVLA's objective to get in contact with me was achieved however, as a word of caution to those attempting to relocate lapsed customers, put yourself in the shoes of the intended recipient and invest time in getting the creative and message just right in order to avoid them feeling "found". A softly softly approach is more likely to give them an opportunity to reengage with you naturally.

Right, back to my passport renewal form. Mrs A won't be happy if we have to miss our next escape to the sun!

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