8 Tips for Improving Customer Experience and Marketing Through Digital Documents

In today’s highly competitive markets, the pervasive use of smartphones drives changes in customer communications, particularly for Gen Y-ers and Gen X-ers. These consumers embrace digital technology much more than prior generations. For many, smartphones are woven into their daily activities – social networking, entertainment, shopping, you name it.

As consumers’ acceptance of mobile technology widens and deepens, use of applications for personal financial management also grows. Digital statements and invoices may be leveraged to enhance a customer’s experience. To seize this opportunity, companies must strive to achieve simplicity, maintain customer security and privacy, and relate to the customer in a way that resonates with their expectations. Doing this, builds trust and acceptance of digital documents as a means to connect with customers. Let’s look at customer experience and marketing considerations for digital documents.

Customer Experience

It starts with trust
Customer privacy and security are imperative to gain acceptance of digital statements and invoices. It’s not enough to rigorously protect privacy and ensure security, customers must be convinced of it. Clearly communicate your commitment to earn customer trust.

Accuracy and simplicity
Digital documents must be accurate and clear. Otherwise, customers will be frustrated and acceptance rates will be low. Likely, we’ve all experienced viewing a complex document not formatted for digital display. Don’t do this to your customers. Format documents for viewing on digital devices. Take a discerning eye to your documents and ensure they conform to usability best practices for digital devices. The simpler your documents, the better.

Archive for your customers
One of the obstacles for adoption of digital documents has been customers want a copy for their records. Maintain an easy to retrieve historical record for your customers. Since many customers already use cloud storage or digital file cabinets, ensure your customers can use these popular digital destinations.

Complete the digital experience with payments
If customers use a smartphone, tablet or computer to access invoices, then ensure they have the ability to pay with their device. Options include mobile payments, ACH, payment with card services (prepaid, debit, credit). These could be one-time or recurring automatic payments. And don’t forget to provide payment reminders.

Make digital a superior experience
Build loyalty. Reward customers for using digital documents. Ideas include giving them a premium for being a digital customer. If your company uses gamification, then digital delivery might add to their points, coins, badges, or progress toward a goal. Another idea is to build a sense of community. This could be as simple as special offers or special content available to digital adopters.

Marketing

Digital engagement has value
In the 2015 Accenture report on energy consumers, digitally engaged customers rated their utilities ten percentage points higher for customer trust and they were three times more likely to recommend. In a different study, 65% of the people who received and paid bills via smartphones said it increased their satisfaction.

Don’t miss an opportunity to surprise and delight. A robust digital document communications platform extends your company’s reach and relevance. Understand your customers’ preferences for digital delivery, especially the promoters and social media influencers, and deliver your digital documents accordingly.

Build brand and sales through relevant offers and content
Use digital documents to share information with your customers. Numerous studies have shown that most customers read statements and invoices. Leverage this in your marketing efforts. Create a digital conversation by soliciting product and service reviews. Generate cross-sell and upsell opportunities with back office applications that help provide relevant marketing messages (e.g. customers who bought product ‘X’ also bought product ‘Y’). Embedded hyperlinks can help you advertise and make sales.

In addition to marketing products and services, messaging can help build your company brand. Use links in your documents to take customers to product education content or updates on social responsibility topics (e.g. disaster relief, philanthropy, environmental sustainability). Too often, social responsibility messages are relegated to hard to find areas of a company’s web page. Messaging via digital documents can improve visibility and authenticity of your company’s efforts adding to brand equity and trust.

Digital as an enabler
Certainly, critical documents don’t have to be digital to do these things. However, digital technology provides ability and versatility. Linked content provides the opportunity for static or dynamic communications, audio or video – all available at the touch of a screen or the click of a mouse.

Summary
As more consumers integrate digital technology into their lifestyles, digital documents represent an opportunity to strengthen the bond with your customers. Through digital marketing and analytics, customers will respond to the content that resonates with them. Use this to enhance your brand and to improve the efficiency of your marketing.

Keanon Swan
Innovation evangelist, print and mail expert, digital communication transformation consultant

Keanon Swan is Principal Advisor at Cygne Advisors. Keanon is a recognized expert in innovation in print and digital communications and a strong advocate for environmental sustainability. He spent 20 years as general manager, IT Care and Billing Services print and digital programs at Sprint. If you would like to contact Keanon, he can be reached at keanon@cygneadvisors.com.



Jack Henry & Associates just announced a major enhancement to its iPay Consumer Bill Pay product. I am very proud to be a part of the team that brought these new capabilities to market through the tremendous partnership that Inlet has with Jack Henry. This collaboration is delivering many exciting benefits to thousands of financial institutions around the country. 

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