Vexed by voucher

Jo Francis
Thursday, June 30, 2011

My post-holiday mailbag contained a frown-making item that caused a flashback to this time last year.

The item in question originates from John Lewis, and it's my quarterly reward mailer for being one of their umpteen thousand Partnership Card customers. Thanks to my vast expenditure on fripperies I generally receive a John Lewis voucher, the value of which depends upon the extent of my profligacy.

Prior to the car crash at BemroseBooth these mailing were a slick, one-piece security product whereby the voucher was integrated as a perfed section at the bottom of the letter explaining one's points tally and voucher value. Perfect.

Since the meltdown in Derby there's been a hiatus when the mailing was put on hold, a period where the vouchers were in a sort of cardboard wallet, and in this latest mailing there's a letter with a loose voucher floating around in the envelope.

In short, from a John Lewis point-of-view this must surely be a logistical and security headache, and from a customer point-of-view it's just not as slick anymore. Not quite the standard of printed communication I'm accustomed to from good old JLP, frankly.

What I'm scratching my head about is why Paragon, which picked up the pieces at BemroseBooth, hasn't managed to get this back on track. Or if that's not a go-er for some reason, why JLP itself hasn't sorted out an alternative source of supply for the original one-piece format.

Of course John Lewis wasn't the only customer scrambling for their business continuity plan after BemroseBooth failed. And while I realise that the more immediately pressing issue for the retailer was sorting out the availability of gift vouchers in-store, a year on one might imagine that by now a better solution could have been found.



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