Tempted to cut ties with paper communications and only present documents online? Here we look at why print still needs a place in an increasingly digital world.
Consumer use of technology has exploded in recent years. Email, SMS, instant messaging, mobile apps, secure website portals… the ways we receive information and respond to it are many and varied. However, do all consumers wish to interact this way? More importantly, can they interact in this way?
When it comes to financial documents, in particular transactional statements, it appears there needs to be careful consideration. Here we discuss why it is important not to ignore print and why one of the oldest forms of communication still matters.
A survey taken in 2013 shows that 16 million consumers over the age of 15 years don’t have basic online skills1 – a statistic worth stopping to reflect on. The implications for companies driving everyone towards purely online statements are therefore obvious. Pushing people into receiving statements online for example, may lead to a number of disengaged customers.
For an organisation, a complete switch from paper to online can mean a new streamlined approach – cutting costs and overall making access easier for customers. However, in the eyes of a consumer, who doesn’t have basic online skills, this new approach might suggest a complete lack of consideration and awareness of their needs.
According to research by Opinmum, 40% of UK adults say the removal of paper statements could seriously affect their finances.
For consumers without basic online skills, the removal of paper statements could lead to late or missed payments as they struggle to connect online. The potential result is the consumer feels their finances are out of control, and the organisation issuing the statements wastes time and money responding to queries by phone call or letter.
It is therefore important, if you are considering offering online statements, to inform and educate all your audience. Make sure you spend time by speaking with your customers and finding out any worries or concerns, they may have. It may be an idea to hold a number of training sessions across the country. Forcing your customer base to behave in a certain way will not yield positive results. Far better is to offer a print and online statement service, and involve and communicate with consumers so they make the switch when the time is right for them.
Choice is imperative to a successful relationship between you and your consumer. 84% of UK adults do not like it when companies take away their right to choose how they are communicated with.3
Communication is no longer a one-way street. No longer do companies speak solely to their customer and expect nothing in return. There is constant interaction with the consumer having much more power than ever before. There is also high competition, with many companies offering the same service. It is imperative that you offer your customer base a choice as to how they receive their own information. Having that choice there, makes your customers feel empowered and therefore satisfied with your service.
You need to be reactive, responding to the ever-changing needs of your customers. Presenting documents differently in print and online to give choice is the obvious answer.
Datagraphic offers a multi-channel approach to distributing statements. Taking transactional data from your existing internal systems, we can prepare and present it for your customers to view through an online secure portal as a printed document or both. Our online statements can be perfect for people wanting to view information whenever they want to, wherever they are, on whatever device they have connected to the Internet.
However, we do not forget the importance of print.
Four out of five people are more likely to read statements that are available both online and by post3. We understand how customers may not actually be up to speed with smartphones and tablet devices; and that they may just prefer having a printed copy.
Offering your customer a choice as to how they read their statements is the key. By placing the control back into the customers hands. So, if your customer fancies a good old-fashioned printed statement, why not give it to them?
Communicate with consumers in a way they want to receive your information and you will improve engagement, reduce costs and achieve more.
1 Source: Go on UK
2 Source : Opinium
3 Source: ONS