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.
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.
- 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.
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?
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.
Customer communications need to be timely, because time is money. There’s urgency even in the minor transmissions, which is why it’s a no-brainer to seek assurances that production of these communications is quick, fluid, and uneventful. There must be options and back-up plans in place. With key business matters, more of the same is better.
OSG now has 630,000 square feet of space in nine strategic locations across the country. This is advantageous for several key reasons, and part of a longterm business continuity strategy that offers greater guarantees to our customers.
- Quick Turnaround Time
With nine production facilities that operate on a 24/7/365 production cycle, we can guarantee a 24-hour turnaround time.
- Disaster Recovery Options
This is a rare instance where redundancy is a good thing. Imagine a power outage or internet issues. The redundant configuration of our production systems and the identical, standardized processes throughout each facility ensures that your data is secure and your service is not disrupted in these instances.
- Postal Optimization
We offer mail delivery anywhere in the country within 1.5 to 3 days by mailing out of multiple facilities. We also have on-site postal coordination across companies.
We’ve built a cross-country framework that has the speed and protections that are non-negotiable when dealing with transactional communications. As they say: location, location, location (times three).
The term “data-driven” is becoming increasingly ubiquitous across industries, and with good reason. All marketing should be data-driven. Creating targeted messages that reflect and anticipate the needs of your customers is crucial. As we’ve said before, when contact is frequent, as it is with invoicing, the messages must be timely and relevant.
A newer customer may simply have different needs than one who has been with you for seven years. Someone already using one of your products shouldn’t see a promotion for it. Investing time in personalized incentives is worth the effort. It keeps your messaging fresh and shows your engagement in the full customer lifecycle.
With tools like OSG Campaign Composer, you can segment your customer base to analyze customer trends and history, avoiding these kind of oversights. Once you’ve set the filters and created your campaign, you can select which segment receives specific dynamic messages, envelope messaging, and inserts.
It’s also worth the effort to consider how the message is being received by the customer. In our omni-channel world, content and the technology that deploys it have to be working hand in hand.
The data keeps rolling in—you have to roll with it.
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.
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.
Multichannel 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 multichannel 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.
Omnichannel 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 omnichannel 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 multichannel is more about availability, then omnichannel is more about consistency. While multichannel centers your brand or product, omnichannel 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.