We all know marketing communications are going digital. In the rush to embrace new technology, marketers have ignored other, more traditional means of reaching audiences. Transactional documents are one of those channels marketers often overlook. These are important touch points and not leveraging their potential is a missed opportunity.
Thankfully, that’s changing. In recent years transactional documents have revived as effective marketing tools. Driven by new data analysis technology, marketers are leveraging communications via transactional documents to create meaningful customer interactions. Often referred to as transpromo – a combination of transaction and promotional content – documents such as financial statements, invoices, health or insurance statements, and others, are excellent vehicles to upsell, cross sell, and engage.
First, a few basics.
The Benefits of Transpromo
During a time of email backlash, and messages on other platforms that often miss more than hit, transactional documents offer several advantages that make them standout marketing tools. Let’s look at some of them.
A key to triggering the benefits of transactional documents is the ability to mine and manipulate data. Today’s document outsource providers offer data assistance in addition to printing. Ask our experts how you can leverage the power of transactional documents by adding data-driven messaging to material you’re already sending to your customers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Fiscal budgeting is upon us, and it's time to look into 2019 to plan new projects. For most, customer engagement and experience is top of mind, and a huge player in that space is around communications and specifically targeting clients via the medium they choose.
While there may be some uncertainty on what 2019 holds for regulations and market behavior, one thing remains the same- you still have to communicate with customers, whether in the form of a statement, letter or marketing campaign. That said, here are some communications trends and predictions to keep in mind while looking for ways to utilize and leverage business-critical data delivery to drive incremental revenue and strengthen customer relationships:
1. Social messaging is taking over
Sixty-two percent of millennials are more loyal to brands that engage them via Over-the-Top (OTT) and SMS messaging. Millennials, as well as other generations, want and expect the personal touch and collaboration that one-on-one communication allows.
Many businesses are already placing ads on social media networks and other websites, allowing users to click and instantaneously be directed to a chat window with the brand. Using business-critical communications, such as statements, notices and letters, you can implement a few strategies to capitalize on this movement, such as live chat features between customers and your organization, as well as providing direct links to popular social media platforms to enable quick sharing of information.
2. Mobile functionality is required
Mobile functionality is no longer optional in today’s world as consumers use smartphones for shopping and online research. This means mobile responsive websites and communications are necessary in order to meet consumer expectations.
Leading organizations have already implemented location-based offers and sales messaging through mobile devices. Take advantage of this trend by targeting specific offers based on credit, via printed documents or through your ePresentment platform. If your customer communications vendor is up-to-date on the latest technology, they can help you implement these important location-based offers and sales messaging to your customer base.
3. Customization and personalization are expected
Seventy-three percent of consumers prefer to do business with brands that use personal information to make their experiences more relevant, according to Digital Trends. When done correctly, using personalized marketing in digital and print business-critical documents can help you effectively reach your customers and yield a high ROI. In addition to revenue opportunities, personalized document marketing can help create a better customer experience by delivering content unique to an individual’s specific needs. The best part? There are no additional costs because your customer documents are already being delivered.
4. Self-service is necessary
Organizations should ensure that customers are able to find answers to their questions using an assortment of self-service options, as fifty percent of customers think it is important to solve product or service issues themselves and 70% expect a company’s website to include a self-service application. Make the most of your customer communications by adding self-service website links to both print and electronic customer facing documents. This will not remove the need for a call center, but it will reduce call volumes AND help to create a more self-service customer experience.
Interested in learning more about how to maximize your business-critical communications in 2019? Click here to contact us.
The benefits of using personalized marketing in your customer’s print documents are huge. It offsets production costs, increases value in targeted marketing messages, and creates a better customer experience by delivering content unique to an individual’s specific needs… all at no additional cost to you, as your customer documents are already being delivered.
Did you know that electronic documents offer more significant marketing capabilities than print because they provide added interactivity and instant access? You can make the most of your electronic documents by using them to enhance your marketing and yield bigger benefits than print alone.
Supplement your print document marketing by utilizing the following 3 electronic marketing opportunities:
1. PUSH MARKETING TECHNOLOGY -
Present a marketing page to customers as they sign on to access their home banking account. This can include marketing promotions, inserts or any document you want to ensure the account holder views as they sign in, allowing you to ensure your messages are being seen!
2. DIGITAL ONSERTS -
Utilize workflows and business rules to segment your electronic customers and target groups with particular offers that will be most beneficial to the individual. Digital onserts are clickable, which provides instant access to promotions for the customer, and a faster way to drive customer behavior for your business.
3. MULTICHANNEL EXPANDED HYPERLINKS -
Include links to webpages and offers from directly within eDocuments, and route them to any device: desktop, mobile phone or tablet. The interactive links provide your electronic customers easy and instant access to the promotional content in the messages.
The benefits of personalized marketing in electronic documents are enormous to both customers, and your business. Maximize the capabilities of your document marketing on your electronic platform and you’ll start seeing a significantly improved ROI and higher e-Adoption rates.
Download our document marketing guide today for a more comprehensive view of how you can maximize the potential of your customer documents by turning them into free and personalized marketing.
According to “Understanding Customers” by Ruby Newell-Legner, it can cost approximately 6 times more to attract a new member than to keep an existing one. Furthermore, Bain & Company reports that a 5% increase in member retention can increase profits up to 125%. These numbers alone reveal the necessity of a strong member retention program. Focusing on member retention will provide you with the engagement rates you desire, as well as a more favorable bottom line. Here are some tips to help you get started on increasing member engagement through cross-selling and upselling:
1. Utilize dynamic messaging to align communications with each member’s behaviors, needs and wants.
Dynamic messaging allows you to present strategic, real-time messages to specific target groups within your member base. From there, member-facing marketing space on digital and print statements, letters, notices, etc. is optimized to target account holders with products and services that best fit their needs. There are many ways to incorporate dynamic communications on specific customer criteria, including account balance, zip code, gender, or marital status, to name a few. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel in compiling data because you already have it, so why not not use it to increase member retention rates and your bottom line?
2. Paint a picture that emphasizes benefits rather than features.
Consider this: You are planning a trip to a tropical destination and looking for airline travel. Would you rather see messaging about the seat you will be sitting in, the seatbelt and the fact that you can recline during the flight? Or would you rather see messaging about being transported comfortably and safely to your tropical destination where you will be sitting on the beach and soaking up the sun with a beverage in your hand? I’ll take the latter with the benefits, please!
While this is Sales 101, I see credit unions (and other businesses, for that matter) get caught up in the functionality of their products and services rather than painting a picture that communicates the actual benefits to members. When formulating messaging, keep this quote in mind: “People don’t want to buy a quarter inch drill. They want a quarter inch hole,” -Theodore Levitt. Features do have a place in the sales cycle, but need to only be mentioned as differentiators once a member shows interest in a product or service.
For more tips on cross-selling and upselling, call our team at (972) 488-6400 or send an email to email@example.com