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The Secret to Effective Communication? Get Personal

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.

USPS Update: Postage Rate Increase

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.

How to Create Stand-Out Customer Messages

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.”

beforeafter-prototype2

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.

3 (Big) Ways to Use Big Data for Your Critical Customer Communications

3 (Big) Ways to Use Big Data for Your Critical Customer Communications

When it comes to data in the 21st century, it’s time to think big—literally. Big Data is collected constantly at ever-increasing speeds from smart phones, computers and a variety of other touch points. With so many metrics and data points, it can be intimidating to know where and how to start leveraging them. Luckily, there are a few easy and very effective ways to use data to increase the impact of your critical customer communications.

  1. Understanding Your Customer

One of the first—and, in all actuality, the most crucial—things you can gain from data is a true understanding of your customer: how they act, what motivates them, what they like to purchase and why. A true insight into each of your customers is a veritable gold mine of information. Understanding your customer means understanding how to communicate with them and, ultimately, how to keep them from abandoning your brand for another.

  1. Personalization

Personalization and data go together like peanut butter and jelly. It’s an obvious pairing, because data allows you to gain the insight you need to make each customer’s communication a personalized experience. Once you understand a customer, the next step is to begin targeting messages to their specific needs. Tools like OSG Dynamic Messaging allow you to send customers specified messages that speak directly to them. After all, customers want to feel unique and understood, and what better way to do that than by sending them customer specific communications?

  1. Segmentation

For most companies it is a difficult feat to attempt to send out personalized messages to each individual customer, that’s where segmentation comes in. Grouping customers into segments based on similar qualities such as purchase frequency, products purchased, purchasing motivation and more allows you to send a message that targets your customer without needing to send individualized messages. With OSG Campaign Composer you can filter your audience using specific data and send targeted, one-to-one messages to any segment of your customer base. These targeted communications make your customers feel more understood, which in turn means they are more likely to engage with your message.

Learning how to utilize data in each message you send out allows you to more accurately and efficiently communicate with your customers. Contact us to learn how to begin using data in your critical customer communications.

Does Your Company Have the CX Factor?

Companies are no longer fighting to prove they have the latest product or most advanced system—instead, they are fighting to prove they can create the best customer experience (CX). According to Forbes, “Today, 89% of companies compete primarily on the basis of customer experience – up from just 36% in 2010.” This shift comes directly from the customers and their heightened expectations.

Customers are now forming opinions of companies based primarily on the experience they have with that specific company. If a customer has a negative interaction with your company, they are much more likely to abandon ship and find a new company that can give them the CX they seek. This is so important, in fact, that Forbes states, “Consumers are willing to spend up to 16% more on products and services with companies that offer a better experience, and they’re more loyal.”

Creating a positive customer experience can involve a multitude of things, but it essentially breaks down to ensuring that each interaction your customer has with your company is positive and relevant. This can entail anything from personalized messages on their bills to creating an omnichannel communication strategy that allows a customer to reach you through whichever channel they choose. Whatever form it takes, it is critical for companies to make the customer central in the decision-making process.

Contact us to talk about taking your CX model to the next level.

Channel Surfing: The New Customer Communication Model

The term channel surfing brings to mind images of lazy teenagers flipping from one TV station to another, halfheartedly looking for a show to pique their interest. When it comes to customer communication however, channel surfing takes on a whole new meaning.

Choosing Your Channel

Your customers no longer solely rely on one source for their entire catalogue of communication needs. Instead, they navigate between channels to receive their information and relevant news. With clients perpetually changing devices, it is more important than ever for businesses to offer multiple forms of communication. Only utilizing one or two channels means you end up ignoring huge chunks of your customer base and losing out on building lasting relationships with those customers. According to Aberdeen Group, Inc., “Companies with strong omni-channel strategies can expect to retain an average of 89% of their customers.” Be it print or digital, communicating with your customers where they are most comfortable means you are guaranteeing you remain connected.

Different Channel, Same Message

The variety of communication channels can bring about a significant issue for companies—unifying the message. Although print and digital may seem like two completely different worlds, it is crucial for every channel – be it online or off – to have a consistent voice. If a customer chooses to receive email notifications instead of a printed bill, they shouldn’t be receiving a completely different message. Aligning cross-channel communication means you create a unified voice for your company and a better overall experience for your customer.

Whatever channel your customers pick, it’s up to you to ensure your message is received.

5 Customer Excuses Not to Switch to E-Billing…and How to Counteract Them

Today’s customer is more connected to the digital world than ever before, from phones to laptops to smart TVs. This landscape may seem like a paradise for businesses who want to transition their customers over to e-billing, but the switch can be more difficult than initially expected. We’ve compiled a list of the most common excuses not to switch over to e-billing and, more importantly, the arguments against these excuses.

  1. “I like to receive a physical copy to keep for my records.”

While physical copies and drawers full of files may have been the only way to keep a history of bills and invoices in the past, it is certainly not the only option presently. OSG Digital Solutions gives your customers the ability to view both current and past bills and invoices in PDF format. A full billing history is a click of the mouse away!

  1. “I’m used to the way I receive bills now and changing to a new way seems difficult.”

Switching customers over to a new billing process can seem like a painful process, but it doesn’t have to be. Customers often lack an incentive to switch over to e-billing. By providing a motivation to switch – like a discount or a sweepstakes ­– you give your customers the push they need.

  1. “I’m worried I will miss a payment if I don’t receive a bill in the mail.”

Fearing a missed payment and the subsequent consequences is one of the biggest deterrents customers have when considering e-billing. Luckily, numerous resources exist to ensure that every payment is made on time. Through OSG eBill, customers receive email notifications as soon as the bill is ready. Additionally, customers can set up automatic and scheduled payments, ensuring ease of mind for every billing cycle.

  1. “Receiving bills and invoices over the internet doesn’t seem secure.”

The safety and security of customer data is of the highest importance, especially in today’s climate of data hacks and breaches. Remaining compliant with all standards and utilizing firewalls and safety measures ensures customer data is continuously safeguarded.

  1. “Switching to e-billing doesn’t seem like it will make my life any better. Why bother?”

Customers are constantly looking for products and services to make their lives easier and e-billing is not any different. According to Forbes, “Electronic communications must do more than simply digitize checks. They must have simple onboarding, be easy to use and be interactive.” Although many of the benefits of e-billing may seem intuitive, for some customers it will come down to showcasing how their lives will benefit directly from the switch.

Change can be hard for some customers, but understanding exactly what is making them hesitant means you can relieve their worries and help them make the switch! Contact us to start the process.

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