Pitney Bowes Study: Customers Pay Less Attention to Online Statements


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· Customers pay more attention to printed bills and statements
· Bank & Credit Card statements in top slot for holding readers’ attention

A new report by Pitney Bowes Group 1 Software reveals that in the UK, France and the US, people spend more time looking at their bank statement, than they do looking at their tax correspondence.

The relatively low attention span devoted to government correspondence may be seen as carrying an important message for local and regional authorities (who make up the larger proportion of such correspondence). Most people would imagine that one would devote most attention to correspondence about personal taxation, in that it directly affects one’s disposable income. Equally, it is reasonable to suppose that governmental matters – especially from local or regional authorities – would get close scrutiny in that they affect the recipient’s home and/or the environment in which they live.

Andrew Greenyer, VP International Marketing at Pitney Bowes Group 1 Software comments, “Evidently, communications are not sufficiently clear or compelling if they are only commanding not so very much more attention than a piece of direct mail. This could be something of a wake-up call for government to start using some of the attention-grabbing techniques of the commercial world.”

Web statements receive significantly less attention than their printed equivalents – attention which also may be fragmented across the month. Therefore banks, credit card issuers, mobile telecoms companies and utilities may be well advised NOT to actively migrate customers to the economies of web self-service, but instead concentrate on generating additional income through advertising on printed bills and statements, whether through additional cross-sales, or through charging an affinity partner.

Greenyer adds, “There has been much debate over the years about the demise of print with the rise of new media. And yet a great deal of attention is paid to monthly statements, especially financial and mobile telecoms. This means that any such organisation that is not using this ‘touchpoint’ as a means of putting targeted marketing offers in front of the customer is simply wasting valuable sales opportunities. There is evidently also great scope for monetising the attention that recipients pay to their statements. Suitable affinity partners may be allowed, for a fee, to occupy the advertising slot on a statement and/or insert a leaflet. If such partners are also required to develop offers exclusive to the statement issuer, then the issuer can also gain brand value and customer retention benefits.”

Email emerges as a powerful medium, but principally for communications with existing customers rather than as a customer acquisition tool. This study provides statistical confirmation for the voice of some pundits who have long predicted that email would become focused on existing customer management.

Direct mail remains firmly ahead of cold email in terms of the recipient attention it can command. Given the universal reach of direct mail, plus its relative lack of legislative restriction compared with email, it is likely that the medium will retain its key place in the marketer’s armoury.


Over 1,000 consumers were interviewed via web survey in each of the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the United States, during May/June 2007. Respondents were asked to estimate the typical amount of time that they spent looking at a range of documents, from their monthly bank statement to the direct mail they received.
About Group 1 Software
Group 1 Software (www.g1.com) turns data into results, providing innovative software solutions that enable our clients to better understand and connect with their millions of customers, prospects, and partners. Group 1 Software helps over 3,000 organizations maximize the value of customer data to improve profitability, increase effectiveness, and strengthen customer relationships, through consolidating, cleansing and enriching corporate data, and generating personalized business documents for multi-channel delivery, customer care and efficient business processing. Our comprehensive Customer Communications Management (CCM) solutions span from database to delivery, adding value to every aspect of communication and allowing clients to integrate intelligence throughout their mailstream. As part of Pitney Bowes (NYSE: PBI), a $5.6 billion company, Group 1 Software’s solutions are utilized by leaders in the insurance, financial services/banking, GIS/mapping, government, mail services, retail, telecommunications, utility, and other industries, including Entergy, ING, L.L. Bean, MapQuest, Microsoft, Safeco Insurance, Wal-Mart and Wells Fargo.

For more information or a copy of the management summary, please contact:
Dina Morton ([email protected]) / John Tilbrook ([email protected])
Tel. 020 7402 0510

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