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 TranspromoDuring 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.
Tracking letters, transactional documents and other materials throughout the production process and as they move through the USPS mail stream is critical. Most obviously, health agencies, insurance companies, and government bodies that distribute sensitive or confidential information must make sure that data is used correctly and deliveries are made on time.
Such tracking is also becoming more important for marketers, especially in an age of multichannel communications. Direct mail, for example, is an investment that has to deliver the desired ROI. Print/mail service providers must assure them specific pieces will reach the intended recipients at the right time to coincide with digital or other types of messaging. When personalization is factored into a marketing program, tracking is even more imperative.
Mail service providers have enhanced tools to provide just these assurances. During document production, they control creation and assembly with their Automated Document Factory (ADF). Once service providers turn mail over to the postal service, Informed Visibility (IV), a newly enhanced program from the USPS, delivers greater visibility and transparency into the status of mailed pieces.
Automated Document Factory
The first step in producing effective documents is ensuring data is properly managed and deployed. An ADF is a system that verifies the print/mail operation has properly prepared and accounted for every page, document set, and envelope. Equipment-mounted cameras scan documents as they are processed and compare them to data files of expected materials. Any discrepancy, such as a missing or duplicate page, causes the ADF to stop the machines and alert the operators.
Besides managing complex workflows on a piece level, ADF systems also help document operations track and manage jobs. The ADF makes sure the print/mail operation processes all work according to the schedule and serves as an early warning system should a machine show signs of impending failure. The ADF can automatically reprint damaged documents, ensuring every mailpiece is processed and delivered on time to the USPS.
How IV worksUnder the previous tracking system, the USPS scanned individual pieces of mail as they entered a postal facility and moved to various distribution centers. The system worked well for letters, but it often omitted flats—pieces of printed matter such as magazines, newsletters, or catalogs that enter the mailstream already bundled for delivery. This created gaps in the tracking system and prevented real time updates.
With today’s upgraded IV, individual mail still gets scanned as before via the Intelligent Mail barcode, but IV also scans containers or bundles of flats. When a container is scanned, the USPS tracks all pieces associated with that container based on information provided by mail service providers.
The IV process fixes the visibility gap with end-to-end tracking and provides precise estimates for when a piece will drop into a recipient’s mailbox. When a mail carrier arrives in an area to deliver the mail, his or her hand-held device records their location. Since the system knows what documents or products the postal service loads onto each delivery vehicle, IV can generate a near real time estimate for when an item will actually reach the recipient.
Benefits of IV
The benefits of real time tracking with Informed Visibility are many.
Mail service providers now have more tools to manage data and documents more efficiently than ever. For a detailed description of how Lanvera executes and distributes critical business communications securely and accurately through the entire document lifecycle, contact us today.
Financial institutions (FI’s) may find it challenging to attract and retain millennial customers. This group views their relationships with FI’s much differently than earlier generations. The methods FI’s have traditionally relied upon may not be effective with this demographic age group, now the largest segment of the population, bypassing the baby boomers.
Financial institutions that resist communicating in personal and relevant ways or do not direct interactions through preferred communication channels will find it more difficult to attract and keep millennial customers. When faced with messaging FI’s typically produce, millennials won’t perceive a difference between banking institutions and loyalty will erode.
Is it Only About Technology?
Of course technology plays a big part in decisions about where millennials bank and the customer experience they expect. FI’s that don’t keep up with technological developments risk losing the attention of the customers they want to attract, regardless of messaging relevance and quality.
Millennials rely on their phones as integral tools for conducting business. 47% of millennials use mobile banking, so a well-designed mobile banking app is essential, but so is performance. Millennials seeking hassle-free banking are quick to make a change if processes are complicated or transactions take too long to complete. 38% say they’ve abandoned mobile banking activities that took too long. For millennials, the customer experience supersedes many factors FI’s traditionally use to retain customers.
When they switch, millennials may choose non-traditional companies that lack lengthy financial service pedigrees. New players are competing for millennial business and social media is a powerful influence in directing them towards alternative service providers. Millennials aren’t shy about moving their accounts to untraditional institutions they’ve heard about through friends, influencers, and contacts. Millennials are 2.5 times more likely to switch FI’s than baby boomers. It pays to listen and engage via social media.
What Else is Important?
The focus on technology and usability don’t completely erase the value of traditional FI offerings. The millennial generation carries a lot of debt, much of it from student loans. Higher saving account interest rates or fewer fees still matter to this group that needs to stretch their paychecks as far as possible. Personal service continues to play a part also, with two-thirds of millennials reporting visits to a physical branch within the last six months.
Branch visits aren’t the same for millennials as they have been for older generations. Millennials value their experiences. They document ordinary events and share with friends and followers. FI’s may need to re-think the branch environment from a millennial point of view and introduce features and incentives to get their target customers into the buildings.
Interactive and personalized educational programs might be a worthwhile approach. 92% of millennials believe they don’t have the financial knowledge necessary to deal with upcoming life events such as buying a car or a house. Sponsored social gatherings coupled with educational opportunities can allow FI’s to connect with this audience in person.
Dealing with millennial customers can require FI strategy changes. They will need to partner with organizations that understand the trends and have invested in the technology to carry out a program catering to this group. Lack of loyalty is a double-edge sword. Keeping current customers can be a challenge, but wooing others away from FI’s that are not satisfying millennial needs is an opportunity for organizations willing to invest in a communications infrastructure that supports the necessary functionality.
Postage is the greatest expense in any mailing project, whether direct mail advertising, transactional communications, or regulatory notifications. In the USA the cost to send mail is relatively cheap compared to other countries, but that doesn’t mean mailers should spend more than necessary.
The US Postal Service allows commercial mailers to lower their postage costs through a program called workshare discounts. Doing some of the work necessary to distribute and track the mail entitles mailers to pay reduced postage rates. Mailing professionals at your mail service provider (MSP) know how to qualify for these discounts and pass savings along to their clients.
The Postal Service requires mail to meet certain criteria to qualify for workshare discounts. MSP’s add value to their services by ensuring client mail qualifies for postage discounts by meeting standards for:
The USPS spends about 1.3 billion dollars every year handling mail they can’t deliver because of inaccurate addresses. By fixing addresses in advance, mailers help the Post Office lower their costs. They receive postage discounts in return. Unlike many kinds of business data, mailing professionals can standardize and correct mailing addresses without creating extra work for their clients. Mail service providers use sophisticated software and USPS databases to make sure streets and cities are spelled correctly, proper abbreviations are used, and addresses fall within a range of known house numbers.
Once an MSP standardizes and corrects addresses, they compare client mailing files to the National Change of Address (NCOA) database. The software updates the addresses for any individuals, families, or businesses who have filed a change of address notice with the Post Office.
The US Postal Service checks the mail for accuracy. If mail exceeds certain error thresholds, the USPS can fine mailers or revoke postage discounts. MSP’s must be diligent in their mail preparation efforts, continually adjust their procedures, and update software when mailing regulations change.
Intelligent mail barcodes (IMb’s) contain a wealth of information that allow the US Postal Service to route the mail, track mailpieces as they proceed through the distribution network, and more. The USPS must process un-barcoded mail through multi-line optical character readers (MLOCR’s). These machines read the printed addresses, look up information, and spray the barcodes on the mail. When mailers present mail already encoded with the IMb’s they qualify for special postage rates and save the Postal Service time and money.
Sorting mail into a sequence that allows for efficient routing and transportation speeds delivery and saves the USPS a tremendous amount of money. When mailers can present mail trays, pallets, or truckloads of mail already coded and sorted for delivery the Postal Service rewards them for their efforts with postage rate reductions.
Mailing today is a data-driven automated process. MSP’s must abide by USPS rules for how they handle the data, create and package the mailpieces, and transmit information to the Postal Service. Large data files prepared by MSP’s provide all the information the Postal Service needs to track the mail, charge mailers for postage, verify the mail meets all regulations, and perform other necessary actions. Trays and other mail containers must include identifying tags and labels. The days of filling out paper mailing forms and manually preparing the mail have past.
Just because MSP’s produce mail in a certain location doesn’t mean it must enter the mailstream at the closest USPS facility. Some MSP’s include logistic services. They analyze the mail and decide if trucking some of it to locations closer to the final destination is more cost-effective than depositing the mail locally. Known as drop-shipping, this tactic earns mailers extra postage discounts. Drop-shipping is most often used for marketing mail with a target in-home date. On a national mailing, inducting the mail locally in each market provides for more predictable final delivery dates.
Postage Savings for Clients
Print/mail service providers generally pass postage savings along to their clients. Most do not describe postage discounts as line items on client invoices so clients may need to investigate to determine exactly how the service providers compute their postage bills.
For repetitive jobs such as bills or statements, MSP’s will often analyze a client’s mailing data to determine the sortation level at which the mail will qualify. Clients with high geographic concentrations of customers, such as utility companies, will qualify more of their mail at lower postage rates than clients who mail to customers dispersed across large areas. MSP’s will quote each client an average postage rate based on the characteristics of their mail. Mail service providers may compensate clients for any additional discounts earned through co-mingling or other extra work they do. They may factor the savings into per-piece prices for printing and mailing.
In other cases, such as for one-time mailings, MSP’s might track actual postage paid and pass the cost through to the client. Prices for printing and mailing services might be slightly higher since the MSP won’t be keeping a portion of the workshare postage discounts.
You should never pay more for postage than necessary. Overpaying doesn’t get your mail delivered any faster or provide any extra benefit. Call the document delivery specialists at Lanvera to talk about strategies for lowering your postage bill.
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.
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. In fact, the Wall Street Journal recently released an article titled “Citi: Technology Could Cost Two Million Bank Employees Their Jobs,” claiming that retail banking automation could take over 30% of the banking jobs across the U.S. and Europe within the next ten years.
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 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.
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.
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.