For consumers, managing and properly storing important documents is a real challenge. Don’t make it worse by sending unnecessary envelopes to the same household or forcing customers to access documents via multiple interfaces.
Two solutions to consider for efficient document consolidation and management are householding and providing a unified online customer interface for e-presentment.
Companies know that mailed messages are highly effective engagement vehicles. But if you’re bombarding customers with unnecessary mail, the benefits of printed communications can evaporate.
Householding refers to the practice of combining several accounts into one consolidated statement or mailing separate documents for the same customer in a single envelope. Documents containing sensitive data such as health information can’t always be householded, and some communications need to be delivered as standalone pieces. But many ordinary business documents are prime candidates for a householding strategy.
The most obvious benefit to householding is the savings you’ll realize from printing and mailing fewer pieces. But other advantages should be considered.
In the case of financial information, for example, householding may deliver significant value. Individuals and married couples often hold several financial accounts administered by decentralized departments within a single financial institution. Pooling all their financial transactions and reports into a consolidated statement might suggest solutions that make more financial sense, such as target allocation, capital gains strategies, taxation, or estate planning. This holistic approach to household problem solving makes customer relations stickier and encourages clients to expand their business relationships.
Effective householding requires your databases be appropriately scrubbed and standardized. Statements and other documents can’t be combined or merged unless you can match name and address data. Once your company invokes householding, you will begin acquiring more data. You’ll be able to see household buying patterns or engagement histories with your brand. And don’t forget some demographic data, such as income, is usually collected by household. Your customer profiles and your ability to make judgements about offers can be refined by using household level data.
E-presentment is a well-designed system for making documents easily searchable and accessible on a customer portal, available online in HTML or PDF format. Few things annoy customers more than logging into a portal to access a document and giving up in frustration because the interface is confusing and the information is difficult to retrieve. Consolidating documents in a single interface erases this customer pain point.
An e-presentment platform extends your customer communications management program and gives customers instant and easy access to their documents, often going back several years. Access can extend to a consolidated view of their information and choosing whether they want HTML, PDF, or wish to order paper copies sent to them through the mail.
A sophisticated solution goes beyond the document repository function. It includes a variety or marketing opportunities, payment processing, email notification, and other services.
E-presentment provides seamless integration that ensures brand integrity and a common experience on a 24/7 basis. Customers can log in at their leisure and easily sort through the data and files they need. It also decreases the number of calls to customer service departments and reduces paper and postage costs.
Together, householding and e-presentment strategies help streamline communication and add value to the customer experience. Not every organization can implement these methods on its own. A great way of leveraging these solutions is to partner with a print service provider that takes an integrated and comprehensive approach to your entire customer communications environment. Talk to the Lanvera experts. We can help you consolidate your customer documents and enrich the customer experience.
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.
Many financial institutions struggle to integrate customer-facing applications. Program administration often resides in separate business units with little synchronization between them. Coordinated customer experience (CX) is difficult to achieve when the applications are running under separate software and accessing independent databases.
This situation came about as financial institutions (FI’s) scurried to meet rapid implementation targets demanded by top management and FI customers. To respond, information technology groups, and sometimes business units themselves, deployed standalone solutions that met marketplace requirements but resulted in a convoluted collection of uncoordinated systems.
As mobile communications became must-have’s in the FI marketplace, business units within FI’s contracted with outside development firms specializing in mobile apps. Time to market was the driving motivation. Now, application disconnections contribute to inconsistent branding images and customer experiences.
Making matters worse, some legacy FI systems are increasingly difficult to maintain. When regulatory changes or competitive pressures mandate new features, IT must find resources with the knowledge necessary to code and test the modifications. Given the maintenance headaches, IT might prefer to re-write the old code modules in a modern language, but there’s never enough time or budget. Patches and workarounds proliferate.
A CX Overhaul
FI’s need is a comprehensive overhaul that consolidates all the functionality in a single customer communications system. In many financial services organizations, customer communication frameworks can barely handle the communications challenges of today. Original programmers did not build dynamic on-statement messaging and channel preference, for example, into legacy document applications still generating transactional documents. Future communication technology developments are likely to present an even greater management issue for these aging computer programs.
A new comprehensive system for customer communications can generate plenty of benefits for FI’s. Unburdened by old technology, organizations can concentrate on what they want to communicate to customers instead of worrying about how to do it. Redesigned communications composed with modern software can allow FI’s to include interactive charts, add color, or enhance documents with details that improve comprehension and reduce call center traffic. Marketing teams can target their messages, test multiple versions, track results, and respond to rapidly changing conditions without waiting weeks for their turn on the IT priority list. New customer communication systems can deliver documents via the customer’s mobile device or other channels while maintaining consistent branding and functionality. Customers can start a process in one channel and finish in another while navigating within a contiguous environment.
Customers Demand More
Consumers expect companies to know their interests and anticipate their needs. Companies like Amazon and Netflix communicate with them on a personal level and they expect similar treatment from the companies that handle personal details like their finances. Financial institutions must step up their efforts in this area to gain customer loyalty.
Most FI’s, particularly small to medium size organizations, realize creating a modern, omni-channel customer communications system from scratch is a huge undertaking. They don’t have the internal IT resources to build, test, and integrate all the components. Outsourcing their customer-facing communications to a partner with brandable solutions already in place is often the only path that yields positive results within a reasonable timeframe.
Lanvera is a world-class provider of end-to-end outsourcing solutions for transactional and business-critical communications. We couple cutting edge technology solutions with industry expertise to solve the complex business challenges facing customer-critical document delivery. Lanvera lets clients provide data in any format while delivering documents via any channel, including print, mobile, web and ePresentment.
Our consultative approach, ongoing technological investments, and custom solutions provides FI clients with answers that satisfy their business challenges. We have been specializing in creating customized solutions for the creation and delivery of business-critical data on any digital platform and print for over 30 years.
By 2025 millennials will make up 75% of the workforce. This group is famously fickle when it comes to brand loyalty and they've been known to switch brands when a company makes a mistake or they aren’t treated as individuals. What does this mean for financial institutions? What must they change to earn loyalty from their millennial customers and avoid excessive customer churn?
Millennials are more likely to change banks or credit unions than other generational groups. If they have a problem, they aren’t shy about switching their accounts. However, studies also show the millennials are less likely to report problems to financial institutions! This suggests FI’s need to be skilled at identifying potential trouble spots and they must communicate effectively with their millennial customers to ward off negative experiences.
Examples might include predictive analytics that allow an FI to foresee credit score changes that might affect interest rates or warning customers about low account balances before they experience overdraft fees.
Making it easier to report problems is also a practical strategy for retaining millennial business. This generation uses a variety of communication channels so make sure they can voice their concerns via mobile apps, social media, text message, and email. FI’s obviously need to ensure they employ mechanisms to respond quickly to complaints or issues customers raise through these channels.
A Seamless Experience
A unified, personalized experience resonates with the millennial crowd. FI’s must continue efforts to combine isolated data repositories so they can leverage information gleaned from multiple customer relationships. Portals that offer customers access to financial products in a single environment can be a differentiating factor that encourages loyalty. Millennials are more focused on convenience than previous generations. They will welcome a unified dashboard where customers can retrieve all their financial documents on demand.
Mobile must be part of the strategy. Millennials use mobile apps to check on balances and transactions, transfer funds, or originate person-to-person money exchanges. These mobile activities must be quick and easy. This generational group abandons applications that take too long or require too much hoop-jumping to complete a task.
A Personalized Experience
After convenience, personalization is probably the most important aspect of millennial business relationship nurturing. Data must be accurate and deployed at every customer touch point. Millennials want to feel their FI appreciates their business and knows them as individuals. Otherwise, banking services become a commodity easily replaced by organizations the customers perceive as being different, such as branchless neo-banks.
An omni-channel experience is especially relevant for millennial customers. They want to choose how and when they communicate. Be prepared for conversations that begin in one channel but transition to others on the whims of millennial customers. Whether on phones, tablets, computers, or in the branch, millennials expect their historical interactions will be fully accessible and interconnected. Think of customer communications as a platform instead of a collection of vertically oriented pipelines of information.
Millennials may be un-enamored with conventional banks, but as they mature and their financial requirements grow, they will need the guidance and support established FI’s can provide. Very few millennials say they are confident about their financial acuity. By providing the frictionless environment the millennials desire today, FI’s can continue growing and nurturing their customer relationships. This will position them as the go-to resource when millennials need car loans, mortgages, investment accounts, or life insurance.
Many direct mail or graphic arts companies process transactional documents as a sideline to their core business, but they aren’t the best choice for producing critical customer communications. The skills necessary to produce direct mail, forms, publications, or packaging differ from those necessary for high-volume printed and digital transactional documents. Be careful about choosing a vendor to handle essential customer touch points like bills or statements. The company that prints your business cards may not be the one best suited to process complex personalized communications for you.
All customer communications are important, but highly personal documents that include sensitive data such as financial information come with added responsibility. Service providers creating these documents must make sure they send every physical page or digital image – such as email, SMS and ePresentment – to the right person and they deliver the material on time. Best practices dictate document service companies track the personalized material as it proceeds through the production and delivery steps.
Requirements for direct marketing communications are not nearly as rigorous. Consistently performing at the level necessary to handle transactional documents and communications require a different mindset than one normally finds in shops that concentrate on graphic arts or direct mail applications.
Two Definitions of Document Quality
Communications like invoices, statements, notices, or tax forms are filled with information meant for a single individual. Failing to get the information to the right person or accidentally revealing private information to the wrong person can have serious consequences. Organizations can face regulatory infractions, fines, lawsuits, and damaged reputations. Transactional document processing providers build safeguards into their workflows to prevent data and document integrity errors from happening or to catch and correct them before they leave the building.
Document quality has a different meaning in graphic arts and direct mail shops. They are more concerned with details associated with the images, like registration and color, than the integrity of individual documents. Organizations specializing in direct mail will discard damaged or corrupted documents. The industry accepts a certain level of spoilage. Reprinting or re-generating documents rarely happens in such environments.
More Transactional Document Considerations
Delivery channel preference management is another area to consider. In graphic arts and commercial printing applications, customer-specific distribution decisions are not dependent on a variable stored in a customer database. Commercial printers ship finished materials to their customers or send them all out via postal mail. Also, processes for delivering important messages through secondary channels don’t exist. If a recipient doesn’t open an email communication within a certain time period, for instance, direct mail companies rarely print a physical version and send it to the customer’s postal address. Printing companies often won’t know when delivery attempts fail and lack a procedure for notifying their clients of these events.
Transactional documents often feature variable page counts. A financial statement for one customer may be one page, but the next customer’s statement might be five pages. To ensure every customer receives all their printed pages, transactional document service providers develop controls to count the pages as they create them. Automated systems then communicate this information to the finishing equipment. Duplicates or missing pages sensed by folding and inserting equipment causes the machinery to stop and report an error or divert the mailpiece for special handling. This level of quality control isn’t necessary in the graphic arts and direct mail world where physical characteristics of all the documents in a job are essentially the same.
Specialist of Singe Source Provider?
By choosing an outsource customer communications supplier that specializes in transactional documents, companies can be assured their vendor understands detailed document production processes. These companies have developed reliable and consistent production workflows that account for every component of every message. They have systems for re-generating damaged items, and know how to distribute each message through the physical or digital channel each document recipient has selected.
Before turning your critical customer communications applications over to the company that creates your marketing materials, be sure they have invested in the behind-the-scenes software and hardware appropriate for the documents they are asking to handle. Visit their facilities and get a feel for the company’s culture. Ask them how they handle damaged documents. Review their processes for tracking all your documents through the production process. Some companies have these procedures in place, but most do not. It’s not worth the risk to turn your most important customer touch points over to an organization unprepared to ensure every message they generate on your behalf protects your organization’s image and reputation.
Robots are taking over our jobs! *Cue Chicken Little*
In all seriousness, new articles surface weekly discussing how FinTech (an economic industry composed of companies that use technology to make financial services more efficient) will affect the financial job market- specifically retail banking- in the coming years. The Wall Street Journal, for example, recently released an article entitled “Citi: Technology Could Cost Two Million Bank Employees Their Jobs.” In this article, the author discusses the latest Citigroup report, which claims that retail banking automation could take over 30% of the banking jobs across the U.S. and Europe within the next ten years. The report lists 2006 as a reference point, citing that bank employment has declined 2% annually within the past decade and could very well accelerate to 3% annually over the next. Forrester Research estimates that automation will dislodge 22.7 million jobs by 2025. Those estimates, coupled with Citigroup’s report, means that about one tenth of those job displacements will be from retail banking.
Most studies show that production, customer service, office and administrative jobs will be among the first occupations to be completely taken over by technology. Furthermore, bank teller positions clock in at a 97% likelihood of being fully automated within the next twenty years, according to BBC.com. Basically, any job that does not require empathy such as social workers, nurses, therapists, and psychologists will be less likely to remove the human element. This will provide most banks with a more cost-effective way of serving customers, but has many employees worried that they will be replaced. However, there is a silver lining!
THE SILVER LINING
CNN Money states that “For a century and a half, computers, machines and robots have created more jobs than they have destroyed.” If history repeats itself (which it always does) the rise of FinTech will not create a job deficit as long as the market continues to adapt and mature. Bank branches will morph into a more advisory and consultative space rather than mostly transactional.
For banks that want to utilize their current employees in the future, a good practice would be to conduct an internal survey on a quarterly or biannual basis in order to better understand each individual’s strengths, weaknesses and goals. This will aid branch managers in training staff to expand their skill sets for better adaptability to future technological advances.
With the continued emergence of fintech, the competitive pressures innately forced upon businesses to improve the online customer experience continue to grow rapidly. By 2020, it’s estimated that your customer will manage 85% of their relationship with your business without human interaction, according to Walker Information.
Many businesses have adopted a self-service online model, giving customers more control over their accounts and transactions. While this is certainly a step in the right direction, where many fall short is the “set it and forget it” mentality. The result? Potentially frustrated customers, increased customer service calls, decreased retention rates, and lost sales opportunities.
Thankfully, there are solutions on the market geared toward improving an organization’s online UX. Electronic Presentment (ePresentment), for example, is an application that can help you satisfy today’s needs with the capabilities of facing tomorrow’s challenges. Here are some tips to ensure your ePresentment is cutting it in today's technology driven world:
1. Personalize. Studies show that customers react positively to personalization. Why? Because they like to feel valued as individuals rather than just numbers.
2. Utilize Dynamic Messaging. You have so much customer data at your fingertips- now it’s time to put it to good use! Age, income, geographic location, and marital status can help you deduct if your customers are eligible for your other services. From there, you can display messages and ads that are relevant to each customer.
3. Be consistent in design. Your ePresentment design should look just like it is part of your home banking site, giving the customer peace in familiarity.
4. Provide interactivity. Including interactive marketing messages and direct check view access are both capabilities that are enhanced through ePresentment. Marketing messages that can be clicked on for immediate access to offers are extremely beneficial and allow for a more pleasant UX.
By implementing the above tips, you can enhance the user experience and keep your customers coming back for more. To learn more about ePresentment and how it can help your organization, click here.
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.
HURRICANE FLORENCE: 3 DISASTER RECOVERY ESSENTIALS TO KEEP YOU IN BUSINESS DURING A NATURAL DISASTER
September is National Preparedness Month, and is a great time to review processes and plans in case of an unforeseen disaster.
Businesses are temporarily closing on the East Coast in preparation for Hurricane Florence and many expect to be without power for many days. Even in the event of a natural disaster, such as a hurricane, business owners are responsible for ensuring their businesses will stay as close to 100 percent as possible.
Natural disasters can happen anywhere, from tornadoes, to wildfires, and most recently, to hurricanes , disaster planning and recovery is top of mind. Regardless of the natural disaster, it’s crucial for any company to take steps to minimize disruption in services and communications with employees and customers.
The Disaster Recovery Journal estimates that as many as 80% of all U.S. companies don't have an effective DR plan. This does not bode well for the majority of American business’ systems and data, and ultimately, their future survival.
Below are three disaster recovery essentials to keep you in business by safeguarding your customer data and communications- and confirming that your business services vendors do the same- during future emergencies:
1. BUSINESS CONTINUITY MANAGEMENT
Business Continuity Management (BCM) is defined as a management process that identifies potential threats to an organization and the impacts to business operations those threats might cause. BCM provides a framework for building organizational resilience with the capability of an effective response that safeguards the interests of its key stakeholders, reputation, brand, and value-creating activities. Although this term is used interchangeably with DR, business continuity addresses more comprehensive planning that focuses on long term or chronic challenges to organizational success. Potential business continuity problems may include the illness or departure of key team members, supply chain breakdowns, catastrophic failures or critical malware infections.
Should a natural disaster or unexpected power outage occur, data must be accessible from a remote backup facility. Data must be comprehensively backed up at a secure location that features total redundancy of all online systems, databases, communications, power, form inventories, and print and mail facilities.
2. DATA SECURITY AND ARCHIVING
Data security, of course, is extremely important at all times. According to the Disaster Recovery Preparedness Council’s Annual Report, 60% of companies that experience mass data loss will shut down within six months of a disaster.
As business-critical data continues to grow at an exponential rate, and universal regulations such as HIPAA and the Patriot Act compel organizations to store data longer, archiving is an essential element to a DR plan. For customer data and business-critical communications such as statements, letters and notices, it is recommended that ePresentment is utilized.
3. MULTI-CHANNEL COMMUNICATION
In the event of a natural disaster, alternate forms of communication are crucial. When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, USPS mail service was suspended for weeks across several states. It is important for businesses to reach their customers and deliver business-critical communications, no matter the circumstances. It is recommended that businesses not only incorporate messages on their own websites and ePresentment into their DR plan, but also email, SMS and social media.
·Email: Sending emails during emergency situations as a valid method of communication. Email servers are located globally, and it’s unlikely they will all be dead at the same time. But where do you get Internet access if cell phone service is dead? Oftentimes, WiFi service will still be up and running, since the cables used for hard wired Internet operate on different networks than cell phones. For most WiFi, you don’t even need to be in the building to access the service.
·Text: Text messages require far less bandwidth than phone calls, and even when the ominous “all circuits are busy” recording comes on, texts will still work as they operate on a parallel network to cell phones.
·Social Media: Social media is similar to email in that it is hosted on a network of global servers, providing redundancy and fault tolerance. Because your customers are all unique in their social media preferences, the more social media outlets you communicate on, the better.
When it comes to your business and natural disasters, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Ensuring your business, as well as your vendors, have strong DR plans will give you and your customers peace of mind in knowing you have them covered.
According to Internet Live Stats, 89% of the population in the United States uses the internet on a daily basis. As technology continues to evolve rapidly, the member online user experience (UX) has to be a key component of your core strategy for developing a better and differentiated member experience through digital transactions and communications at your credit union.
How do you know your online experience is meeting member expectations?
Taking a step back to look at your digital applications through your members’ eyes, here are some questions you can ask to gauge your members’ online user experience (UX):
Your credit union’s digital applications should be developed to focus on the needs, wants and expectations of your members. This means your website, home banking and ePresentment should all work together to create a UX that meets those requirements. Two of the biggest trends we have seen in UX to help meet member expectations are Mobile First Design and Self-Service...
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