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.
Let’s face it, delinquent payments are a problem for most businesses. Oftentimes, a customer will make an honest mistake and simply miss a payment. Other times, they will actively avoid you. Managing the revenue cycle can also prove difficult when you are competing with multiple other monthly bills customers receive electronically and via USPS.
While there are plenty of good strategies for collecting the money your business is owed, it doesn’t have to come to that. Here are Seven Ways to Get Paid Faster through the use of your business-critical communications:
1. Have a clear call to action (CTA): Show your customers exactly where they need to go to pay their balance. The CTA should be eye-catching so the customer not only sees it, but is compelled to read and act. When you clearly state exactly what you want your customer to do, it takes out the guess work and encourages an action on their part.
2. Use color: Adding color to marketing messages can increase engagement rates by up to 42%. And not only that, the addition of color can actually aid in improving your customers’ memory. Studies have proven that color can help people process and store images more efficiently than black and white, so by adding color to marketing, customers are far more likely to not only read, but retain your messaging and be more inclined to act upon it.
3. Make it convenient: According to a recent Federal Reserve survey, roughly one-third of consumers and three-quarters of businesses expressed willingness to pay a fee for payments that have faster availability to the payee. Offer an online invoicing process with the ability to pay online. An automated billing system will "ping" your customers until it shows the invoice has been paid. There is something to be said for having an automated process performing the follow-up for you!
4. Be polite with your language: While it may seem unimportant, adding lines such as "Thank you for your business" and "We appreciate your timely payment" positively reinforces the relationship you have with a customer. Be nice, and they just may return the favor. In fact, a recent study found that a simple "please" or "thank you" can increase your chances of getting paid by 5%.
5. Specify payment timelines: If a bill needs to be paid within 14 days, be sure to list this on the document. Also list if there will be a charge for late payment and how much the charge will be. Give your customers and clients as much information as humanly possible.
6. Utilize incentives: Beyond motivating payment with late fees, try positively incentivizing customers to pay you early. Incentives might include a 1 to 2 percent discount if payment is received within a specific “early” time frame. Consider offering future discounts, credits, gift certificates or merchandise as possible incentives. In the end, you’re saying thank you for making that payment a priority. It’s rewarding your customers for their business, increasing their loyalty, and helping you get paid.
7. Keep open lines of communication with customers: Oftentimes, when people have not paid, they do not realize it. Sending a simple automated email reminder to customers can go a long way. Part of the value of an email reminder is that it reinforces your relationship with the customer and provides an opportunity to engage. Use the email reminder to create an open dialogue with clients, providing them with a sense of security and comfort.
Interested in using your transactional documents to influence speed-to-pay? Click here to learn more or contact us for a demo.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
For the past decade, moving to paperless communications has been at the forefront of most organizations’ minds. Not only is electronic delivery a customer expectation, it also benefits your business’ bottom line. In fact, a recent study estimates that moving from paper to electronic delivery of certain documents could reduce costs of producing communications by 36 percent. While it is not a new concept, the challenge still exists in accelerating eAdoption. Here are three secrets to driving paperless customer communications:
1.Provide Consistency in Electronic Document Formatting
Many third party software packages generally provide a rudimentary print layout of a document for use electronic use, thus creating a stale, unfriendly document that does not match the printed, often legal, version. This creates customer reluctance in moving to electronic delivery because the same document presented in different formats for print and electronic can be confusing.
A successful electronic conversion includes providing an exact replica electronically that is offered in print and mail. A very important reason to offer online statements in the same format as printed is to provide the institution’s customers with a true legal document online rather than a home banking transaction printout. Because most customers require a legal version of their documents in the event of a loan application or tax audit, offering the statement in the same format will encourage eAdoption.
2.Rethink Print Default
Many organizations still have print documents as the default option on new accounts. When customers are not made aware that they can make the switch to paperless, they assume print and mail is what will serve them best. For statements and other documents that aren’t necessarily required to be sent via snail mail, a good option is to set electronic delivery as the default option on new accounts.
“When we switched cores in 2009, we made a big push toward eAdoption on new accounts opened by setting the default statement option to electronic,” said Sandy Gaskamp, Operations Support Manager at University Federal Credit Union. “We now have an 86% eAdoption rate with over 205,000 members, and they all seem to be enjoying the advantages of going paperless.” This not only enhances the customer experience, but also saves on print production and postage costs. In order to meet regulatory stands, be sure to communicate the default option with new account holders so they can verify it as the option they desire.
3.Offer More Outside of Online Banking
Online banking has been widely implemented in financial institutions to provide customers with easier access to accounts in order to alleviate traditional in-person transactions and decrease print and mail costs. However, due to the lack of eAdoption, the ROI on online banking platforms alone has not been as high as originally anticipated. Typically, it is difficult to convert non-transactional customers to electronic documents due to the perception that they do not need to access online banking to manage a daily balance or transfer money. Translation: One cannot live by online banking alone.
Your business’ website coupled with a mobile-responsive ePresentment platform can work wonders for eAdoption rates. If an electronic document can be accessed and viewed securely from your website without going through online banking, the potential audience for eStatements and other electronic documents increases beyond online banking users because customers then do not have to remember a login or sign up for online banking in order to switch to digital document delivery. By providing a direct access point to electronic documents, the overall customer experience is heightened. Additionally, if you are being charged by your provider for each online banking user, the users who opt out of paper documents through ePresentment are less costly.
Customers also desire a central location to access all account documents including notices, loan coupons and tax forms. If your business can support electronic documents, including eStatements, eNotices, eLoan Coupons and eTax Forms, your customer has the option to receive all communications electronically, which is a win-win scenario.
By giving your customers the opportunity to access more of their documents online, you can begin the conversion toward providing total comprehensive electronic services. It is important to remember that the customer is looking for at least as much value as they receive from a printed document.
To read more strategies on driving paperless communication, access our white paper.
According to the MBA’s 1st quarterly National Delinquency Survey, foreclosure starts and delinquency rates are at the lowest since Q2 of 2000. "The delinquency rate of 4.77 percent has returned to typical pre-recession levels and is lower than the historical average of 5.4 percent for the time period from 1979 to the first quarter of 2016,”said Marina Walsh, MBA'S Vice President of Industry Analysis.
As the market changes to reflect the decrease in delinquencies and foreclosures, there are a couple of different strategies servicers are using to shift focus in order to maintain profits:
1.Focus on Performing Loans
Some servicers are transitioning to more of a performing loan focus, thereby expanding their portfolios. As departments are thinning, servicers are given the choice of either downsizing or moving employees into different job roles. This is a viable option, requiring servicers to identify adaptable personnel to cross-train them for other positions within the organization.
However, the challenge still lies in the extra costs accrued through increased compliance operations, which, in turn, negatively impact loan margins.
2.Identify New Sources of Revenue
One strong option to the market changes is to identify new ways to generate more profit per loan on existing portfolios. If successful in maintaining or even increasing margins, servicers can place themselves in a better position to keep personnel and cross-train them rather than eliminate jobs. This is where identifying new sources of revenue through transactional document communications such as mortgage statements and letters is the answer. Servicers have the opportunity to utilize transactional documents to cross-sell and upsell services to performing loans, as well as utilize affiliate advertising to create new revenue streams.
To learn more about how transactional document communications can help you net more profit per loan, click here.