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Canada is a Moving Experience
Date: August, 2009 --
It should not be forgotten that, like the United States, Canada is a collection of States, or Provinces, each with a special character. One of the more unique of the Provinces is Quebec, which was the first part of Canada to be settled by Europeans, specifically the French, and which retains a great pride in its language and culture. One of the more unusual aspects of Quebec has nothing to do with French culture, but custom. Moving Day. On July 1 each year, predominantly in Montreal, thousands of leases of rented homes and apartments expire, and people move. Prior to 1974, by law all leases ended on April 1, but because this caused disruption of children's schooling, the law was changed to require that no lease could end before June 30. Mind you, it didn't say it MUST end then, just not before. But customs die hard in the law, and the lease forms appear to be hard-wired to June 30, which means every moving company and rentable truck for a couple hundred miles from Montreal is engaged on July 1. How many moves occur? No one is quite sure, but in 2004, the electric company in Montreal recorded 120,000 new accounts becoming effective on that day.
What does that mean for you? Well, that's a lot of customers who may or may not have filed a mail redirection notice with Canada Post or told your company they were moving. In fact, they may not even have purchased change of address service from Canada Post. After all, it is not cheap, for 6 months it costs C$39 for an in-Province move, C$45 if it's to another Province. Do many of your Canadian customers go missing around July 1? Remember, not only the Quebecoise are affected by that date, but so is anyone moving into, for example, Montreal, from Ontario or wherever. That could be the problem. They didn't feel like paying, and forgot you in the crush of the move.
DSI can run your file against the Canadian NCOA to ensure your addresses are up to date and your mail reaches your customers quickly. Also, it's a good idea to occasionally remind your customers how important they are to you. Perhaps an occasional 'reminder insert' in your catalog or billing letter telling your valuable customer you hope they'll either use redirection or the included post card or 800 number to let you know of their new location. For Quebec and Montreal customers, perhaps a special mailing in April or May with a special offer and a return post card with a place for their new address. In fact, now that it springs to mind, if you can identify customers who have moved, it's not a bad time to send a 'Welcome to your new home' offer. After all, moving time is spending time.
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