As an omnichannel communications company, we recognize the importance of providing digital and print solutions that move with customers as their ways of communicating evolve. That’s easy enough to say, but here are some stats we culled that illustrate the importance of providing this omnichannel experience from both the consumer and marketer perspectives.
–98% of Americans switch between devices in the same day. (Source: 2016 Google Research report)
-75% of consumers expect a consistent experience wherever they engage (e.g., website, social media, mobile, in person). (Source: 2016 State of the Connected Consumer Report)
–Companies with strong omnichannel strategies can expect to retain an average of 89% of their customers. (Source: Aberdeen Group, Inc.)
-86% of senior-level marketers agree that it’s important to create a cohesive customer journey across all touch points and channels. (Source: Salesforce)
We’ve had quite a year at OSG, between growing our company and expanding our services to create a more omni-channel model. We try to give our blog a mix of technology and design insights, as well as timely updates that pertain to our industry and the postal service. Here are our five most-viewed blog posts of 2017.
For the first time in several years, the USPS requested rate increases for both its competitive (packages and overnight shipments) and market dominant products (letters and flats).
Inquiring minds wanted to know, so we told them. (And we also included a bonus explanation of statements.)
In which our Production Graphics Manager gave us a look at her day-to-day responsibilities and nailed a just-for-fun lightning round.
Spoiler: One benefit is an increase in web traffic.
Our tracking application taps into USPS barcode technology to track your inbound and outbound mail. It’s a game changer.
As 2017 winds down, it’s a good time to think about the small marketing messages you can send to customers that will help you finish the year strong and begin the next one on the right foot. Start with something simple: Happy New Year.
We realize you might not want to send out a separate card or write a clever note. That’s not necessary—just use your envelope. Our Full Color Envelope Messaging℠ allows you to print a full color New Year’s message right on the outer envelope of your invoice or statement package. You can even add an image for more impact. Since research shows that customers are more likely to open an envelope with color on it than one without, you get the benefit of knowing they’re nearly guaranteed to see both the greeting and the invoice or bill.
OSG’s Dynamic Messaging is another way of reinforcing your brand and messaging on the invoice itself. We’ve gone over the many benefits of that before, but as January approaches, consider how we can help you use it effectively throughout the next year.
Checking the mail nowadays really means checking for what you’re going to keep and what you’re going to toss without opening. In that competitive atmosphere—fighting for a customer’s attention over Bed Bath & Beyond coupons and pre-approved credit cards—sending multiple mailings a month is overkill.
OSG’s Additional Messaging Page is designed to let you communicate more with less.
The AMP makes it easy to turn a transactional document you’re already sending into a multipurpose document. It’s a supplemental page that prints seamlessly alongside the invoice or statement. (In other words, they can’t just throw it away.) This also saves you money on printing, postage, and administration costs.
The specifics of the message are in your hands. It could be a welcome letter, a monthly promotion, or, yes, an incentive to try online billing. It can be single or double-sided, full-color, and targeted. It uses OSG Campaign Composer to segment your customer base so people aren’t receiving redundant or irrelevant messages.
The options are endless, but the pieces of paper won’t be.
Any marketing initiative has buzzwords, and sometimes those words can seem at best vague and at worst empty. Multi-channel and omni-channel are two common terms you’ll hear floating around in discussions on customer communications. To cut to the chase: There is a difference, and the difference is important.
Multi-channel communication refers to the use of different types of channels with your brand or product at the center of this communication. These channels include mail, email, websites, phone calls, social media—any means of connection between you and your customers. A multi-channel approach gives the customer a choice in how to reach your company or product. Each of these channels is distinct and (hopefully) strong, but they working toward the same end—you.
Omni-channel communication is about creating a fluid customer experience across these channels. It’s common now for a modern consumer to switch frequently between channels (Think of how often you are on your laptop and then look down at your phone.) An omni-channel approach aims to make that switch seem natural and consistent. In other words, the customer’s view and experience are central to the process, and data is used to make that experience integrated and remove the “feeling” of channels.
If multi-channel is more about availability, than omni-channel is more about consistency. While multi-channel centers your brand or product, omni-channel centers the customer.
Imagine this: Madeline Frasier, a longtime subscriber to your magazine, has just sent you a check. She’s a few days late with her payment, but it’s on its way. No one knows that, though, and because the account is still listed as outstanding in your database, a collection letter is sent to her house. Your company has now spent money to collect money that’s already in transit. If only there was a way to see that Madeline had mailed her check.
OSG MailTrekˢᴹ is the way.
This tracking application taps into USPS barcode technology to track your inbound and outbound mail. An Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) is printed on each piece of outgoing mail, which gives the USPS the data it needs to get your mail delivered to the right address on time. You can also include this barcode on the return or remittance envelope to see the status of incoming payments in real-time. This, in turn, will help suppress collection letters to customers.
For some of our customers, we have been able to achieve suppression of 4 to 5 percent of their production volume, while others have achieved as high as 12 percent suppression.
With MailTrek, you’ll improve the efficiency of your collection efforts by reducing the number and frequency of your mailings, and you’ll also improve your customers’ experience. Who wants to get a letter when they’ve already paid? Your company saves money on another letter, and Madeline isn’t annoyed.
If your company’s goal is to move customers from paper bills to electronic, we understand why. Electronic bill payment and presentment (EBPP) is cost-effective, environmentally-friendly, and customer-centric. But now you have to convince them of that.
Because of the perpetual digital revolution we live in, it seems like customer migration to a digital platform would be simple. What many customers really want, though, is the option to move freely between channels without any disruption of their experience. And some don’t want to give up print mail at all.
Our OSG eAdoption program guides you through the electronic adoption process. When you’re pushing electronic billing, it’s important to focus on working smartly and in stages. Not everyone is going to bite right away. Conduct surveys, communicate frequently, and spread your paperless messages through multiple channels—eblasts, postcards, inserts, and invoice and envelope messaging. Here are some of our other recommendations.
- Run marketing campaigns—multiple campaigns.
Marketing is a crucial element here. If Marjorie Duncan has been receiving a paper bill from you for 30 years, she’ll likely need more than a one-time suggestion to go paperless. Introduce, explain, and then start again from a different angle.
Simply put, the best way to get someone to do something is to give them a great reason to do it. Consider offering electronic billing as part of a discounted service plan. Tell customers you’ll donate to an environmental cause. Be creative.
- Manage the customer experience.
Once the customer migration begins, make it worth it to them! Your EBPP system should be easy to navigate. Customers should feel a sense of control, whether through notifications of invoice availability or through SMS text-to-pay options.
In the end, it’s crucial to be consistent with education, awareness, and incentives. We can help create an adoption plan that works.