The United States Postal Service recently released their 2016 Household Diary Study, which, since 1987, has set out to collect data on household use of mail and how that use evolves over time. The survey culls information on “demographics, lifestyle, attitudes toward mail and advertising, bill payment behavior, and use of the Internet and other information technologies.” It’s a long, comprehensive, and interesting (really!) document. We pulled three facts worth noting about transactions mail.
- The share of bills payed electronically has increased—significantly.
Not too surprising, right? In 2006, 62 percent of households paid their bills by mail. In 2016, that number dropped to 27 percent. Conversely, the percentage of households paying electronically has jumped from 32 percent to 70 percent in those ten years. The study attributes this to “electronic diversion” which is another way of saying Internet access. A smaller percentage of households pay their bills in person, but that number also declined in the 10-year span from 6 percent to 3 percent.
- BUT the shift to bills received electronically hasn’t happened as quickly as you might think.
Though the Internet has dramatically affected the number of payments made by mail, the percentage of households receiving bills electronically hasn’t followed the same pattern with an increase from 4 percent to 23 percent. Why? The study attributes this to a correlation of household Internet access with income and education.
- Electric bills experienced the largest decline in payment by mail.
From 2011 to 2016, the percentage of households paying electric bills by mail dropped from 46 percent to 33 percent. The next largest decrease was with medical bills, with a drop from 41 percent in 2011 to 32 percent in 2016.
We offer technology that improves the customer communication experience. A key component to that improvement, however, is to use technology in a way that empowers your staff and makes their workload more manageable. (Happy employees = happy clients.) An example of a product that offers that mutual benefit is OSG’s CSR eView℠.
CSR eView is a web-based application that allows your customer service representatives to access customers’ invoices or bills quickly in real time to address their concerns and questions. If you’ve ever made a call feeling frustrated or confused by a billing statement, then you realize the value of having an application that would allow your reps to see documents the way customers see them. This makes communication more fluid, of course, but it also reduces the amount of time a CSR spends on the phone altogether.
We also archive PDF images of the invoices or statements for CSR eView users, and maintain a log that records the date, time and activity. This technology will empower your team to:
- Find answers more quickly in high resolution
- Give more accurate answers
- Provide the best customer service possible
Contact us to start improving your team’s workflow today.
As a leader in customer communication management services, we try to move the ball forward when it comes to all forms of critical communication. That means creating new solutions for our clients and improving our own internal strategies. We’re excited about a couple of new changes we have in the works.
Our team is currently in the process of transferring to the WhatCounts email platform. This platform is a more personalized email program that allows for enhanced designs and optimization. (Translation: Looks better, gets results.) This transfer is one way we hope to communicate more fluidly with our clients and customers.
We’ll also soon unveil details on a new OSG Healthcare eBill. We’ve been offering healthcare providers innovative billing and communication solutions for 25 years, and our goal with this new approach is to present an option that offers even greater security and flexibility—for patient and provider.
What’s central to both things—and all the changes we make—is using technology in a way that keeps the people on both sides in mind. Does it improve customer experience? Will it lead to an increased ROI? Is it a step to the next great innovation? Like the communication itself, the answers are critical.
Feeling vulnerable in the age of hacks, leaks and breaches? You shouldn’t. Now more than ever, it’s essential to know that any partner you work with has a secure physical and network environment for your sensitive data.
At OSG, our billing services require us to host and process information that must be safeguarded. We are properly equipped and staffed to address these needs and have the appropriate certifications:
- SSAE Audited
SSAE means Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements. This third-party audit shows compliance with industry standards for security in our day-to-day operations. OSG is SSAE 16 certified. This means we’re doing everything we can to make our environment is as secure as possible for clients and customers.
- PCI Compliance
Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a long name describing a set of requirements that every single company must meet to process, transmit or store credit card information. (As you can imagine, the environment must be extremely secure.) OSG is PCI Level 3 compliant.
- HIPAA Privacy
HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) is legislation that created standards for protecting the privacy and security of medical records and personal health information. OSG is HIPAA Compliant.
In short, we protect client and customer information the way we protect our own.
Have you made the Sunday brunch reservation yet? Ordered the Spring Awakening flower bouquet? Written the heartfelt note? Mother’s Day is this weekend, so in between your last bits of planning, celebrate a few “mothers” of the tech innovations we enjoy today. This list doesn’t scratch the surface of the women, past and present, who changed the game, but it’s a good place to start.
Ada Lovelace (1815-1852): The First Computer Programmer
In a prophetic fit of brilliance, Lovelace created the first algorithm for a computer—before the computer even existed.
Grace Hopper (1906-1992): The Queen of Software
Grace “Amazing Grace” Hopper was a computer scientist who created the first computer language compiler, developed some of the early English-language programming languages, and helped program the Mark 1 computer for the United States Navy.
Evelyn Boyd Granville (1924-): A Woman in Space
As math and tech wiz in the early days of computer programming, Granville created software for NASA that analyzed satellite orbits for the Project Mercury space program.
Susan Kare (1954-): The Icon Icon
Kare is an artist and graphic designer who created the icons and fonts for the original Mac computer, adding a humanizing element to the machine and making it more navigable. She’s since done design work for companies like Microsoft and Facebook.
Arlene Harris (1948-): The First Lady of Wireless
Harris is a pioneer and an inventor who holds many wireless communications patents and invented the Jitterbug, a cell phone designed for seniors. She also created the first prepaid cellular management system.