It’s no longer just teenagers attached to their phones 24/7. Nowadays, you would be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t have a phone in their hand or an arm’s length away. According to Pew Research in 2017, “About three-quarters of U.S. adults (77%) say they own a smartphone, up from 35% in 2011, making the smartphone one of the most quickly adopted consumer technologies in recent history.” With the number of smartphone users increasing indefinitely, reaching your customer base should be as easy as downloading an app.
Your customers have apps for social media, gaming and more. Statista forecasts that, “In 2022, this figure is projected to grow to 258.2 billion app downloads.” With so many apps, how can you make yourself stand out and get your message in the hands of your customers? Ensuring a consistent and easy user experience is the key to keeping your customers happy and making the most of your mobile interactions. Providing customers with a true omnichannel experiences means they should be able to start their journey on your website, receive a physical copy of their bill and end by making a payment on your app – seamlessly moving from one touchpoint to the next without interference or difficulty.
By adding a mobile app into your omnichannel communication strategy, you increase the reach of your brand and offer customers a new way to interact and engage, improving your brands visibility and your customers’ experience. The OSG Mobile App is a custom branded app offering your customers the ability to view and pay their bill or invoice with a click of a button. From actively engaging customers to driving brand loyalty, the mobile app improves customer interaction and grows your competitive advantage.
It’s time to mobilize your message and make your critical customer communications more App-ealing.
A new year means new trends. 2019 is in full swing and the eBilling growth we saw in the past year is not slowing down. From mobile connectivity to employee experience, we’ve gathered the top six major trends we expect to shape (or reshape) the eBilling landscape.
- Mobile Mobility
Your customers are on the move and they expect the companies they do business with to be moving with them. According to Statista, “The number of smartphone users is forecast to grow from 2.1 billion in 2016 to around 2.5 billion in 2019, with smartphone penetration rates increasing as well.” With the number of smartphone users growing exponentially by the day, it comes as no surprise that the mobile experience is one that is here to stay. OSG’s Mobile App enhances your billing and payment process by putting everything your customer needs in the palm of their hand. It’s time to stay connected with your customers – wherever they go.
- All About AI
The old mantra “artificial intelligence will take over the world” can still be heard ringing out from old movies and TV shows. But in 2019, gone are the fears of an AI takeover, and in its place stands a widespread acceptance and onboarding of AI in companies spanning all industries. AI has grown to manage tasks ranging from customer interaction to data analysis and interpretation. By integrating AI capabilities, companies gain insight and accessibility to real time improvements in processes across departments. 2019 is just the beginning for artificial intelligence and the roles it can take on.
2018 saw the beginnings of this trend as companies fought to differentiate their content and capture their customers’ ever-wandering attention. No longer are customers inundated with mass emails promoting a blanket product or service. In fact, according to the Marketing Insider Group, “78% of U.S. Internet users said personally relevant content from brands increases their purchase intent.” In keeping up with this customer expectation, brands now use customer data to specifically target their habits and preferences, making each engagement relevant to their lives. OSG Campaign Composer uses customer data to target your critical communications and create a hyper-personalized experience for each customer.
- Employee Experience Builds Customer Experience
Customer experience has been a hot topic for years now. Companies have long focused on what it takes to keep a customer happy and how to create a positive experience at each touchpoint. But in reality, happy customers come from happy employees. Essentially utilizing the trickledown effect, employee experience focuses on creating a positive culture and employee journey to create a positive customer experience down the line. After all, you can’t offer service with a smile if your employees aren’t smiling.
- Data-Driven Everything
In today’s technology-laden world, data drives everything. Whether it is relaying how a customer wants to receive their bills or highlighting which products your customers would most likely want to take advantage of, data is being used to create seamless experiences and improved products and services. Using data to drive each and every decision ensures your brand is making the smart choices that will benefit your company and keep your customers satisfied.
- Customers Take the Wheel
It’s no secret that customer expectations have shifted drastically in the last few years. With such a wide variety of companies and products for customers to choose from, brands have lost the upper hand. Customers have sensed the shift and now view themselves as partners in the process and aim to be treated as such. With this move in customer perspective, brands have been forced to redesign how they interact and communicate with their customers. In looking ahead, it will be up to the brands to keep growing positive customer relationships by listening to the needs and expectations of their customers in order to provide the quality interactions customers crave. It’s all about knowing your people and providing what they need.
Predicting the future of eBilling is a task for only the clearest of crystal balls, but these trends are sure to influence how the next year takes shape – and OSG is ready.
It seems like millennials have been analyzed and reported on more than any other generation. From their purchasing habits to their motivations, we simply can’t say enough. The perennial question behind this generational analysis seems to be: How can we capture real and significant market share of this generation? We’ve put together a list to help you win over this elusive generation and increase your millennial customer base.
- Make it convenient
Millennials are all about convenience. Instead of waiting for a taxi, they download a rideshare app; instead of going out and renting a DVD, they stream their favorite shows and movies. For brands, this translates to offering services that make it easier and more convenient to do business with you – or, more simply put, offering services that allow millennials to conduct their business without physically going to your business. Whether it is a mobile app to check billing history or payment capabilities on your website, offering a more convenient solution will win the hearts of millennials everywhere.
- Relate it back
Understanding millennials and their motivations is the key to gaining their trust and their business. Millennials in today’s market look to connect with a brand based on their values and beliefs. While in the past brands have relied heavily on marketing their latest products or services to win customers, it is now up to companies to showcase their brand holistically and connect personally with Millennial consumers. According to Forbes: “We found that 60% of millennials tend to gravitate toward purchases that are an expression of their personality — the brand must speak to them at this level and make them feel good.”
- Keep the communication open
You can’t win over a customer and build a lasting relationship if you aren’t communicating with that customer – and choosing the right channel of communication has a lot to do with it. While you may be used to sending out direct mailers, many of your millennial customers are communicating digitally, via email, social media and mobile apps. Including these channels in your omnichannel communication strategy ensures your message is always reaching your customer.
Like generations before them, millennials’ needs and expectations when interacting with brands are vast and varied. Understanding exactly how to target this generation is the key to increasing your millennial customer base.
Not sure how to initiate a campaign targeting millennials? Let our Account Executives get you started.
OSG’s Carlstadt, NJ, production facility houses the most advanced printing technology, which, of course, is only as good as the people who employ it. Lushain Blackstock is one of the people who keeps our business running smoothly.
The Print Supervisor/Color Specialist and master chef (hello, oxtails!) is a whiz at cooking up solutions and getting the job done. Whether it’s assigning and scheduling operators, meeting with printer vendors, or onboarding a new job, Lushain is the go-to guy–and he does it all with a smile.
Describe your role at OSG.
My main role is to make sure jobs mail early or on time. Other important aspects of my job include quality control throughout the day, checking emails, and assigning test and samples to Operators. I occasionally meet with print vendors to discuss issues and to find new ways to avoid ongoing problems. I also do inventory (paper and ink) and paper and ink order supply.
How long have you been with the company? What are some of the most significant changes you’ve seen in that time?
I have been with OSG for seven years and eight months. The most significant changes that I have seen in the last seven years are the layout of the production floor, new printer equipment, the change in paper stock from cut sheet to roll, and moving from toner-based to ink jet.
How would you describe your typical work day? Is there a “typical” work day?
First thing in the morning, I look at the production schedule and the turnaround from the previous shift. This gives me an instant snapshot of how my day will be, give or take. From this, I prioritize my day for efficiency based on machinery and man power. Some days are typical, and some are not. New jobs, printer down time, and month’s end are factors that we all work around. I work with a great team.
With so many jobs being processed and so much to oversee, what traits do you consider essential for success?
Staying focused and organized. Being able to schedule individuals in the areas that take advantage of their strengths. And proper tools and machinery.
How would your coworkers describe you?
Hard working, easy going, and always smiling and fair.
What is your favorite part of the job?
Everyday challenges, and trying to solve problems.
What is your go-to meal to cook?
I love to cook, so this is a hard question, but I would have to say oxtails.
What is your favorite TV show to binge watch?
Old-time classics: Gunsmoke, Matlock and Murder, She Wrote.
Imagine opening an email from your favorite brand offering you 50 percent off to sign up for a product you already have. Chances are you would immediately delete the email or contact the company to inquire why you’re paying more than a new customer.
The need to personalize each of your critical customer communications is no secret. Customers are bogged down with countless promotional emails and direct mailers they receive daily – meaning they simply don’t have the time to waste reading a communication that doesn’t pertain to their needs. Personalizing your critical customer communications shows your customer you pay attention to their specific journey with your company. According to Accenture, “75% of consumers are more likely to buy from a retailer that recognizes them by name, recommends options based on past purchases, OR knows their purchase history.”
Personalizing your critical customer communications means going beyond merely addressing your customer by name – it means understanding your customer and what they need from your company and your products or services. Using data to formulate a 360-degree picture of your customer allows you to target your customers based on their buying habits, interests, needs and more. This deep level of knowledge about your customer allows you to offer discounts or suggest products that will be useful to your customer and keep them loyal to your brand.
Tools like OSG’s Dynamic Messaging and Campaign Composer allow you to create targeted messages designed specifically with your customers in mind. Using Campaign Composer, you can quickly and easily segment your customer base and send targeted one-to-one marketing messages. Dynamically targeting messages to suit your customers’ needs increases the effectiveness of your campaigns and keeps your customer active and engaged.
It’s time to take your critical customer communications to the next level—personal.
The United States Postal Service (USPS) recently announced proposed price changes to take effect January 27, 2019. The USPS has been granted the authority to raise their rates. Although the USPS has indicated that the first‐class price is going up 10%, many bulk mail categories are only going up 1% or less.
Changes to First-Class Mail®
- Price increase for First-Class Metered Mail, from $0.47 to $.50
- First-Class commercial Base Pricing remains:
- 5-Digit – 0.383
- AADC – 0.412
- Mixed AADC -0.428
- Presorted – 0.459
- Presorted non machinable -0.609
- First-Class Mail® retail stamp price increase from $0.50 to $.55
- First-Class Mail® single piece post cards $0.35 (no change)
- First-Class Presort:
- Average increase for First-Class Mail is +2.464%
- Average increase for Priority Mail is +5.9%
Changes to USPS Marketing Mail
- Average increase in Marketing Mail pricing +2.482%
- Average increase in Parcels +2.2%
Changes to other Mailing Products and Services
New pricing to affect several services, with average increases as follows:
- Package Services + 2.522%
- Special Services + 2.5212%
If you have any questions new rates, feel free to call your Account Manager or Client Relations for more information.
If you looked in your inbox right now, how many messages and promotions would you see? From email to social media to direct mail, you (and your clients) are constantly bombarded with companies trying to get their message in the hands of their customers. So, the question becomes: how do you make your message stand out among the hordes of others? We’ve put together a few simple tricks designed to help your message grab—and keep—the attention of the reader.
1. Turn on the Right Channel
The first step is deciding where to send the message. Your customers have a litany of communication channels to choose from, and it is up to you to accommodate their channel preference. This is by no means a one-size-fits-all situation. A segment of your customers will prefer email communication, while others won’t even have email accounts. The right communication channel can be the determining factor as to whether your customer ever sees your message, so choose wisely.
2. Add Some Color
Color highlights important information in your messages, drawing the attention of your reader. Using color can have a big impact, so it’s imperative not to go overboard. Pick 2-3 colors that are consistent with your branding and don’t be afraid to add various shades of those colors to enhance to your design. Use white space to your advantage; this will help to draw the eye to the important information you want to get across. As Chris, our in-house graphic designer puts it: “Leave room for white space. Not every inch of your message has to be filled with something. Blank space will actually enhance your design and draw more attention to the pertinent information in your message. Sometimes, as they say, less really is more.”
3. Design for Action
You will want to create a design that is eye-catching, colorful and informative. Keep to your company’s branding to maintain consistency. Don’t overdo your design. Too much information can be off putting, leaving the reader unsure where to look. Make good use of your text, images and color to leave an overall good impression with your customer. A well-constructed design will be sure to get your reader’s attention!
4. Consider the Recipient
Personalization has become so prevalent across every industry that it is no longer acceptable to simply send out mass communications to your entire customer base. When your customer opens their email or direct mail, they want to see a message that relates to their specific interests and buying preferences. If it doesn’t, your carefully crafted and designed communication is headed straight to the (virtual or physical) trash. Utilizing data in your communications allows you to target your messages to each customer, ensuring you keep the customer’s attention by offering promotions and products that directly address their specific needs.
Don’t let your critical customer communications get lost in an inbox. Whether it is relaying vital billing data or checking in about a new service, each message you send relays important information to your customer—and important information deserves to be noticed. Still not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered.