Contextual, sophisticated marketing and pre-sale communications are often used to attract customers; however, once they win the customer’s business, some companies send impersonal, unattractive mass communications. They overlook a powerful customer connection – one that gets read by 97% of their customers on a regular basis: the bill or statement.
When strategically leveraged, these essential communications can bring tangible business benefits by delivering a better customer experience. In fact, in transaction-based businesses, customers who had the best past experiences spent 140% more than those who had the poorest past experience according to the Harvard Business Review, “ The Value of Customer Experience, Quantified.”
When looking for ways to drive revenue, increase engagement and enhance your brand – all by leveraging an untapped, existing communication – these three tactics are critical.
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1. Be where your customers are.
According to a recent Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends study, nearly three quarters of individuals accessed a bill electronically over the past 12 months and more than a quarter accessed their bills from their mobile phone. While paper still leads as the preferred communication method for transactional communications, the companies that figure out how to apply the benefits of print communications to digital communications – and extend those benefits with interactive, personalized features and capabilities as only the digital world allows – are the ones that will get ahead, in both customer satisfaction and paperless adoption.
Trying to change consumer behavior and fight technology trends is a losing battle. Customer-centric companies deliver content to where their customers conduct their digital lives and “syndicate” their content across their website, cloud channels (e.g., Google Drive, DropBox, Evernote), digital mailboxes (e.g., doxo), online banking channels, etc.
It’s also important to ensure your print communications reinforce the digital experience. This requires companies to take a channel-agnostic approach in order to put the customer first. “Omni-channel” is not just a hot, new buzzword; it is the way companies have to communicate to keep up with their customers.
2. Make the communications clear and concise.
The right omni-channel strategy captures the more subtle nuances of clear and understandable communication. When communicating electronically, not making a customer click through to several different screens can also make a big difference. And making print communications more interactive and dynamic can increase their effectiveness.
Regardless of the channel, the communication should answer three key questions up front:
- Why am I getting this?
- What is the key data I should focus on?
- What is the most important piece of actionable information?
Answering these basic questions creates efficiency in several areas, including reducing call center volume and improving sentiment about the company.
You can also make communications clearer by eliminating jargon words, which can be refreshing while also helping to avoid customer confusion. Including more visuals is always a best practice, but the next step is making those visuals relevant to the recipient — based on geographic location, personal habits or other factors. These are subtle yet powerful ways for a company to immediately show the consumer they speak the same language.
3. Make it personal.
More than a third of customers now demand personalized content. When Amazon and other brands came out with “People like you also bought this,” most consumers considered that innovative. And it was. The test companies must pass now goes beyond “People like you” to “This is you.”
More than ever, the communication should include a personalized, educational component. This adds value for the consumer and makes them feel a company is a partner – rather than just another brand. For instance, a utility company can offer a customer tips on how to save on their electric bill based on their current usage habits. Companies can take personalization a step further by showing customers how they’re measuring up against themselves and their goals. For instance, a retirement savings chart is great, but telling individuals how they stack up against others and how they can get back on track is even better. Such methods, seemingly small, reinforce the value proposition exponentially.
What can companies do now?
To improve engagement across all channels, companies must constantly adapt to and keep abreast of new technologies, channels and preferences. Every decision should be made through the lens of, “Am I empowering the consumer?” The leaders will be the ones that recognize all consumers are different, and that enabling choice is the biggest differentiator.
In an age where people increasingly seek personal connections, it’s about becoming a customer’s trusted partner, not just their provider.