In an effort to meet the demands of digital-first customers, reduce expenses and improve efficiencies, Bank of America has recently opened three completely automated branches in Colorado and Minnesota. These branches include ATMs, as well as video conferences with employees from other branches, according to Bank of America Spokeswoman, Anne Pace.
“We are literally automating every single thing,” said Dean Athanasia, co-head of consumer banking. “Paper handling in the middle office, we want to take out. We want to streamline the transactions from front to back office – make it completely seamless – and that goes to auto loans, mortgage, credit cards, deposits.”
The banking conglomerate’s move toward a more automated, self-service model is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to creating a more streamlined, cost-effective and digital-first customer experience; and it is the exact path most other financial institutions are following. This will provide most financial institutions with a more cost-effective way of serving customers.
What does this mean for your business?
1.Personalization is Key
62% of millennials report that brand engagement is more likely to make them a loyal customer, according to USC Dornsife. Because the actual in-person element is being eliminated, it is important to consider that each of your customers wants to feel special- which means that blanket messaging will no longer cut it if you want your business to be successful. Instead, customers want an experience that is unique to their individual preferences. The transition to more hi-tech, less touch strategies will force financial institutions to personalize all communications, including electronic and print customer documents. If your documents are consistently formatted and optimized for readability, easily accessible through any platform or channel and personalized to individuals instead of your customer base as a collective group, you will create the memorable and engaging experience customers crave.
2.Your Vendor Relationships Matter
According to Biztech, when you choose the right document services vendor, your organization can save up to 30% annually. When it comes to user-friendly digital applications, the best defense is a great offense. Be sure to align yourself with a document services vendor that has a digital roadmap and is heavily invested in technology that can help you address your customers’ digital demands.
Interested in learning how Lanvera can help guide your customer communications in today’s digitally driven world? Contact us today.
When they call, customers naturally expect their FI to be able to view any of these documents and answer questions regarding the information they contain. There’s only one problem. A collection of unconnected internal or external systems generate the documents delivered to customers’ homes. Customer service representatives don’t have a complete picture of all the paper and electronic communications sent to a customer on their company’s behalf.
Downgraded Customer Experience
The lack of centralized document repositories that hold all an organization’s paper and electronic documents results in a poor customer experience. Without all the information, customer service representatives can’t answer customer questions immediately. They put calls on hold while they hunt down the information, or they call the customer back. These responses are not acceptable to busy customers who just want an answer about a document from the organization that sent it!
A similar issue exists on the customer’s side. They may be able to access some documents via an online portal, but not all of them. Again, the disparity of document-producing systems makes it nearly impossible for FI’s to collect all the materials in a single place. Customers may have to log into multiple systems or bounce around to different areas of the portal to find the documents they need. In some cases, desired documents may not be available to customers at all.
This issue is becoming critical as more customers migrate to mobile or electronic banking. Paperless customers rely on online document archives when they need to research information about their accounts. Information must be available when customers need it.
Complete Communications Access
Fortunately, Lanvera has a solution. Customers of FI’s serviced by Lanvera can access all their documents, even those not created by Lanvera, in a single online repository. Our clients deliver superior customer experiences and they save time and money by handling customer calls more efficiently.
This is a revolutionary leap in customer communications management. Most document service providers don’t offer this functionality. They focus only on document operations. At Lanvera we view ourselves as a technology company first. Yes, we handle customer communications tasks for our clients, but we’re mostly focused on solving problems for them. Lack of a centralized document repository was one of those problems we wanted to tackle.
To learn more about how we can build document archives, including access to documents we don’t even produce, contact us. We’ll be happy to show you. Omni-channel document access will change the way you think about customer communications.
Postage is the greatest expense in any mailing project, whether direct mail advertising, transactional communications, or regulatory notifications. In the USA the cost to send mail is relatively cheap compared to other countries, but that doesn’t mean mailers should spend more than necessary.
The US Postal Service allows commercial mailers to lower their postage costs through a program called workshare discounts. Doing some of the work necessary to distribute and track the mail entitles mailers to pay reduced postage rates. Mailing professionals at your mail service provider (MSP) know how to qualify for these discounts and pass savings along to their clients.
The Postal Service requires mail to meet certain criteria to qualify for workshare discounts. MSP’s add value to their services by ensuring client mail qualifies for postage discounts by meeting standards for:
The USPS spends about 1.3 billion dollars every year handling mail they can’t deliver because of inaccurate addresses. By fixing addresses in advance, mailers help the Post Office lower their costs. They receive postage discounts in return. Unlike many kinds of business data, mailing professionals can standardize and correct mailing addresses without creating extra work for their clients. Mail service providers use sophisticated software and USPS databases to make sure streets and cities are spelled correctly, proper abbreviations are used, and addresses fall within a range of known house numbers.
Once an MSP standardizes and corrects addresses, they compare client mailing files to the National Change of Address (NCOA) database. The software updates the addresses for any individuals, families, or businesses who have filed a change of address notice with the Post Office.
The US Postal Service checks the mail for accuracy. If mail exceeds certain error thresholds, the USPS can fine mailers or revoke postage discounts. MSP’s must be diligent in their mail preparation efforts, continually adjust their procedures, and update software when mailing regulations change.
Intelligent mail barcodes (IMb’s) contain a wealth of information that allow the US Postal Service to route the mail, track mailpieces as they proceed through the distribution network, and more. The USPS must process un-barcoded mail through multi-line optical character readers (MLOCR’s). These machines read the printed addresses, look up information, and spray the barcodes on the mail. When mailers present mail already encoded with the IMb’s they qualify for special postage rates and save the Postal Service time and money.
Sorting mail into a sequence that allows for efficient routing and transportation speeds delivery and saves the USPS a tremendous amount of money. When mailers can present mail trays, pallets, or truckloads of mail already coded and sorted for delivery the Postal Service rewards them for their efforts with postage rate reductions.
Mailing today is a data-driven automated process. MSP’s must abide by USPS rules for how they handle the data, create and package the mailpieces, and transmit information to the Postal Service. Large data files prepared by MSP’s provide all the information the Postal Service needs to track the mail, charge mailers for postage, verify the mail meets all regulations, and perform other necessary actions. Trays and other mail containers must include identifying tags and labels. The days of filling out paper mailing forms and manually preparing the mail have past.
Just because MSP’s produce mail in a certain location doesn’t mean it must enter the mailstream at the closest USPS facility. Some MSP’s include logistic services. They analyze the mail and decide if trucking some of it to locations closer to the final destination is more cost-effective than depositing the mail locally. Known as drop-shipping, this tactic earns mailers extra postage discounts. Drop-shipping is most often used for marketing mail with a target in-home date. On a national mailing, inducting the mail locally in each market provides for more predictable final delivery dates.
Postage Savings for Clients
Print/mail service providers generally pass postage savings along to their clients. Most do not describe postage discounts as line items on client invoices so clients may need to investigate to determine exactly how the service providers compute their postage bills.
For repetitive jobs such as bills or statements, MSP’s will often analyze a client’s mailing data to determine the sortation level at which the mail will qualify. Clients with high geographic concentrations of customers, such as utility companies, will qualify more of their mail at lower postage rates than clients who mail to customers dispersed across large areas. MSP’s will quote each client an average postage rate based on the characteristics of their mail. Mail service providers may compensate clients for any additional discounts earned through co-mingling or other extra work they do. They may factor the savings into per-piece prices for printing and mailing.
In other cases, such as for one-time mailings, MSP’s might track actual postage paid and pass the cost through to the client. Prices for printing and mailing services might be slightly higher since the MSP won’t be keeping a portion of the workshare postage discounts.
You should never pay more for postage than necessary. Overpaying doesn’t get your mail delivered any faster or provide any extra benefit. Call the document delivery specialists at Lanvera to talk about strategies for lowering your postage bill.
When it's time to evaluate communication and document providers, the process of comparing pricing from current and competing providers proves to be a difficult task. Each provider may offer a different menu of services and price schedule, throwing off any opportunity to compare "apples-to-apples" unit costs. Invoice line item evaluation can be time consuming and confusing.
Outsource providers bundle services differently. Some quote a single price for printing and inserting a document. Other organizations separate those operations on their invoices. Companies may quote ePresentment as a flat rate or by the image. Tiered prices change when volumes fluctuate. Some service providers charge extra for receiving and storing items such as pre-printed inserts. Others don’t. Still, other document service providers may replace inserts with full-color “onserts” printed as part of the documents themselves. Onserts may be billed separately, or not mentioned at all on price quotes.
Outsource service providers add value at different points in the document production workflow. It’s not just the pricing that’s important. Companies must consider the benefits of working with each prospective outsource document vendor. Can an outsource provider enhance your documents? Add functionality? Improve deliverability? Lower customer service costs? Do they handle document composition or must you supply print-ready files? Document service companies can enrich your customer communications in dozens of areas. Added value must be part of the calculation.
The greatest financial benefits of working with one service provider or another may never be evident as details on the service provider’s invoice. Savings in postage, paper, or printing are relatively small compared to the positive impact an outsource vendor can have on their client’s objectives for customer retention, lifetime customer value, or customer experience. Document improvements such as upgraded design or user-friendly online self-service portals reduce client operating costs. These changes lessen the volume of calls handled by a client’s customer service department, increase customer retention, improve cash flow, or promote upsell opportunities.
Outsource service providers add value by:
Choosing the right outsource document service provider involves more than an invoice comparison. The most important selection criteria is determining how each prospective vendor can improve your business. What do they offer that enhances the customer experience, lowers operating costs, or achieves other business objectives? Price will always be a consideration when choosing vendors, but the line items on a price list don’t tell the whole story. Today, organizations look upon their communication and document services providers as business partners, not suppliers of a commodity that can be acquired anywhere and are differentiated only by price.
According to NFCC’s Financial Literacy Survey, roughly 1 in 4 U.S. adults do not always pay their bills on time. Depending on where your business falls on the priority scale of all the monthly bills your customers receive, it is inevitable that many of your customers will make late payments, or even skip payments altogether. Here are four steps to better billing that will encourage your customers to pay you on time, or even early:
1. Offer convenience. A recent Pew survey reported that nearly three in ten adults say the most common way to they take care of their regular monthly bills is by an online or electronic payment. Furthermore, the Federal Reserve has found that roughly one-third of consumers and three-quarters of businesses express willingness to pay a fee for payments that have faster availability to the payee. The best way to cater to this need is to implement an online invoicing and payment process. An automated billing system not only gives your customers easy access to their bills and the ability to pay, but can also be set to send your customers friendly email and SMS reminders.
2. Communicate a clear and colorful call to action (CTA). Adding color to messages can increase engagement rates by up to 42%. Additionally, color can aid in improving your customers’ memory. Studies have proven that color can help people process and store images more efficiently than black and white. By adding color to your CTA, customers are far more likely to engage and pay their bills. Try orange or another bright color! According to QuickSprout, orange CTAs boost conversion rates by about 32.5%, and red CTAs boost conversion rates by about 21%.
The CTA should be eye-catching so your customers are compelled to read it and act. When you clearly state exactly what you want your customer to do, it eliminates guesswork and encourages action.
3. Be consistent. Consistency is key to your customers knowing exactly where to find their balance each time they receive their bills. Online and printed bills should be identical, making it easy for your customer to quickly scan their bill to find how much they owe and when they need to make their next payment.
4. Utilize Incentives. Try positively incentivizing customers to pay you early. Incentives might include a 1 to 2 percent discount if payment is received within a specific timeframe. Early payment rewards work particularly well for companies you are billing that have a separate accounts payable department. In fact, they tend to cut checks first when they see incentives for early payments.
To learn more about how to optimize your billing and increase the amount of on-time and early customer payments, contact Lanvera today.
Spotify’s multicontinental out-of-home (OOH) advertising campaign rollout this week is both hilarious and creative. The worldwide music services conglomerate utilized aggregate and individual listener data from 2016 to create personalized and segmented messages for display in high traffic areas across the world. Here are a couple of messages that made us laugh:
“Dear 3,949 people who streamed ‘It’s the End of the World as We Know it’ the day of the Brexit vote, hang in there.”
“Dear person who played ‘Sorry’ 42 times on Valentine’s Day, What did you do?”
“To the person in NoLIta who started listening to holiday music way back in June, you really jingle all the way, huh?”
According to an interview between Creativity-online.com and Spotify CMO Seth Farbman, the idea for the data-driven campaign originated with 2015’s end-of-the-year “Year in Music” campaign, which revealed that data from listeners in different geographical areas reflected culture through listener behavior.
“There has been some debate about whether big data is muting creativity in marketing, but we have turned that on its head,” Farbman said. “For us, data inspires and gives an insight into the emotion that people are expressing.”
While many OOH advertising campaigns are successful in driving new business, they can be pricey. The good news is that you can take a page out of Spotify’s book and combine it with outreach efforts to your current customer base without breaking the bank. The end result? Deeper customer relationships and higher margins.
Enter statement advertising. Customers receive print and/or electronic statements each month, which gives you the chance to connect with them on a whole new level. Based on what we have seen with the quick success of Spotify’s campaign and our own statement advertising expertise, here are a couple of tips to help you effectively advertise on monthly customer statements:
1. Put customer data to use. Sixty-four percent of marketing executives “strongly agree” that data-driven marketing is crucial to success in a hypercompetitive global economy. Spotify did an excellent job of using both aggregate and individual data to create their campaign. Not all customers are created equal, and data will reflect that. You have a much better chance of standing apart from all of the usual communications your customer receives on a daily basis by presenting them with messaging that is targeted specifically to their needs.
2. Be creative. You’ve gotten a customer’s attention- now it’s time to keep it. Spotify combined quick, witty text with colorful billboards. Simple, yet extremely effective. In a statement advertisement, the use of color combined with the right words and a strong call to action can do wonders.
3. Connect with your customers on an emotional level. Spotify definitely hit the nail on the head and mainly focused on humor in their campaign. From a psychological perspective, when humans feel something, they think, “What can I make of this, what can I do about this?” Those responses have dominance and lead us to a certain behavior – like clicking through to a mortgage application or sharing low auto loan rates on social media.
Data-driven communications are the future of advertising and marketing. Like Spotify, if you utilize data to personalize, be creative and connect emotionally, you will forge stronger customer relationships, increase retention rates and improve margins.
Organizations that send transactional and business-critical documents should track their outgoing customer mail to ensure the intended documents reach the mailstream accurately and on time. However, many do not realize their mail is being tracked improperly. Every day mail is improperly tracked, if at all, organizations are risking noncompliance, data breaches and collateral damage.
Government regulatory bodies such as the CFPB and OCC mandate specific times, dates and content for financial communications. Additionally, they require proof of mailing. Failure to comply or be prepared for audits can result in unforeseen regulatory fees.
If your document services vendor is properly tracking your mail, you will be better prepared for compliance audits. Alternatively, if your document services vendor falls short on mail tracking, you will not able to adequately provide information on if and when a customer receives a document, as well as the content of that document. As a result, you would be putting your business at risk for fines, legal fees and customer litigation.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, 40% of identity theft victims cited stolen USPS mail as the source of personal information taken. Thieves and scammers take advantage of an organization’s inability to properly track mail over a length of time, taking possession of personal data and mail offers. One of the most common scams mentioned, change-of-address fraud, involves an identity thief asking a financial institution to send a replacement debit or credit card to a “recently changed” address. What happens next? The customer’s account is depleted by the thief, resulting in an unhappy customer and a hard hit to the organization’s bottom line.
Benefits of Mail Tracking
Mail Tracking serves as the audit point for outgoing business-critical documents.
The Solution: Follow Every Mailpiece from Insertion to Delivery
Lanvera’s Mail Tracking provides visibility into each business-critical mailing as it enters the mail stream.
It is no secret that self-service is today’s preferred method of problem solving. In fact, Fast Company reports that 70% of consumers expect a company website to include a self-service tool.
While self-service applications are expected on all consumer-facing digital platforms, they are equally as necessary for your business’ use. Third party vendors with self-service portals can help you streamline routine tasks by giving you more control and drastically decreasing interaction with a representative.
A self-service customer communications portal will provide you with the opportunity to personalize marketing, reduce costs, increase efficiency, and be prepared for emergencies.
Gone are the days of mass marketing! According to a recent report from Accenture, 75% of consumers are more likely to buy from a company that recognizes them by name, recommends options based on past purchases and/or knows their purchase history.
An intuitive self-service customer communications portal allows you the flexibility to utilize customer data for personalized and dynamic one-to-one marketing messages. As a result, you will increase customer buy-in on relevant additional products and services.
Reduce Costs and Increase Efficiency
With 24/7 remote access, you can make changes to your customer communications at any time and on your own timeline. Additionally, the ability to make turnkey changes on your own without all the red tape of having to communicate back and forth with your vendor (submitting a ticket, clarify necessary changes, etc.) will save you headaches, time and extra expenses.
Be Prepared for Emergencies
Unfortunately, we do not usually know ahead of time when an emergency will occur such as a natural disaster or power outage. A user friendly, self-service portal will give you remote access to quickly and easily upload and import customer files and messages to your digital platforms in order to keep customer communications intact.
A self-service customer communications portal can change your communications strategy from reactive to proactive by providing you the ability to change messaging at any time, on your own timeline and from anywhere.
Contact us today to learn more about how Lanvera’s self-service customer communications portal can help you streamline efficiencies.
Documents such as invoices, notices, and statements sent daily represent not only a substantial allocation of funds, but a key vehicle for communicating with customers, and thus one of the most critical components of your business. These documents should not be overlooked as a simple operational formality.
There are 5 facts executives should know about customer documents, and why they comprise one of the most important elements of any business.
Between 50-70% of total indirect spend in the financial service industry is I.T. and Technology infrastructure.
Part of this percentage includes the equipment, software and maintenance costs necessary for document processing and production, as well as costs needed to ensure compliance with changing regulations, data security and management and overall operational improvements. Having the infrastructure necessary to keep up with demands is essential, but it is also costly. Additionally, expenses tend to be on the higher end of the overall percentage if all production operations are kept in-house.
Banks will spend more on technology in 2019 than they did in 2018.
Constantly changing customer needs and expectations make continued advancements in technology essential to any industry, particularly in financial services. Because of this, it is predicted that IT spend in financial services globally will exceed $500 billion by 2020. These expenses could include document processing and production equipment, regulation and compliance spend, data security and management, digital and multi-channel delivery vehicles, software, and operational costs as a whole.
The expectation customers have for the functionality and capabilities of their financial service providers are evolving, and the need to allocate sufficient funds to certain areas and reduce costs in others is a pressing concern.
A decline in branch visits and increase in digital and mobile banking has made customer documents a major contributor to the customer experience.
Traditional branch numbers have declined by 9% in just the last 3 years, and 45% of US bankers expect that decline to rise to 25% or more over the next 5 years. This decline doesn’t mean that the traditional branch is going away, but it does imply that financial institutions must adapt the customer experience to account for this drop in face-to-face interaction. Customer documents, both print and electronic, are more important than ever for influencing the customer experience.
Home banking systems that allow offer electronic document presentment and accommodate a user-friendly experience, mobile applications that provide capabilities such as opening a new account, fund transfers and direct check deposit, and printed documents that are designed and optimized to be customer friendly, easily understood, personalized, and fully branded are all ways to create unique and memorable customer experiences, despite the decrease in branches and branch visits.
Documents can Serve as a Powerful Marketing Tool.
Given the drop in branch visits, customer documents can supplement for the loss of face-to-face interaction and serve as an essential and profitable marketing tool. Access to transactional data gives every financial institution the unique ability to personalize documents and provide customers with timely, applicable messages through marketing in the form of personalized ads, or cross selling and upselling.
For more information on how you can utilize document and communication marketing, check out our previous posts: 2019 Communication Trends, Personalize and Enhance Electronic Marketing, Cross-Selling and Upselling Techniques to Increase Engagement.
Document outsourcing is the best way to simplify processes, reduce costs and manage risk while increasing value.
While the need to reduce costs and conserve resources is a prominent one, it’s important to remember to cut the RIGHT costs, and allocate expenses to elements that will work in concert with business goals and increase overall efficiency. Document outsourcing is an excellent way to mitigate some of this IT spend, while continuing to achieve the technological advancements that customers require.
A great document outsourcing partner will serve as a single-source extension of your business, offering a comprehensive combination of equipment, security, delivery vehicles and software. In addition to controlling operational costs and reducing capital expenditure needs, outsourcing can provide added value through enhanced marketing opportunities and assured quality control, which ultimately allows you to devote your time to your core-competency, and your outsourced partner to focus on helping you achieve the full potential of your customer communications.
Contact Us today to find out how a partnership with Lanvera can help your business simplify processes and maximize IT spending.
Brand consistency is an important factor in the design of your customer communications as well as your company’s identity as a whole. Your brand is who you are: your vision, your mission and your values. Repeatedly displaying a unified and cohesive image is the best way to prove these things to your customers, and build their trust.
Conveying your brand identity in your customer documents is critical. Here are 4 ways document outsourcing can help your brand solidify brand identity:
1. COMPLEX & DYNAMIC BRAND MANAGEMENT
Companies that operate a parent/child structure and manage multiple brands under a singular umbrella may have trouble conveying a unified brand, while still recognizing the individual images of the smaller organizations. Document outsourcing is a great way to streamline processing for these complex business relationships by centralizing data management to provide consistent formatting and branding across all member communications.
People like to feel recognized and known, and personalizing their documents is a great way to let customers know that your business recognizes people, not numbers. Personalization in documents creates a better user experience and is the difference between disruptive marketing content, and useful material. By personalizing your in-document marketing, customers can begin to see your business as someone who helps them by providing valuable information, thus enhancing your brand identity. A good document outsourcing partner will have complex marketing capabilities that allow you to target and segment your customers with automated business rules for more impactful marketing.
3. STANDARDIZED FORMATTING
Keeping a standard format for all same-type documents will ensure that your customers know where to find their information. Consistently formatted documents contribute to a more user-friendly experience and, as an added bonus, will reduce customer service calls. Document outsourcing partners provide design tools and formatting templates so that all your customer communications meet your branding standards.
While the standardized look and feel is important, it’s equally as important to have the ability to easily change documents if needed. Regulations and requirements change rapidly, therefore document reformatting and changes need to have the ability to be easily changed], in bulk or based on specific criteria. An outsourcing partner will provide the software and technology that accommodate fast and easy change management to all your customer documents.
Contact us today to find out all about Lanvera’s marketing capabilities and how we can help your business increase the impact of your branding.