Are you tapping into the true power of essential communications to communicate with customers?

Essential communications, such as bills, statements, shareholder notices and customer onboarding packs, have traditionally been exactly what the name suggests: essential. But as the focus on customer experience grows, the world of essential communications is evolving.

Once considered a costly necessity, many companies are now realizing the opportunities essential communications offer to drive changes in consumer behavior, reduce call-center volumes and even diversify income streams.

Where once essential communications were the only touch point a customer had with a company, the rapid rise of digital channels means that your content is in front of customers several times a week, or even a day.

The question is, how much attention do they really pay to your content? And could you be using essential communications to make a stronger impact on customers?

Essential communications provide important transactional information to customers, such as changes to interest rates, the amount owing on their account or key information about their new service. This means that your customers are more likely to pay attention to these types of communications than any other.

How to tap into the power of essential communications

It begins with ownership. In recent years, with the heightened focus on customer experience, we've seen a significant number of companies shifting the ownership of essential comms from billing or operations to the customer experience or marketing teams. This shift not only helps companies deliver on their brand promise but also enables them to drive their business strategies forward with some cleverly considered execution. For example, you can improve cashflow through clever bill design which encourages prompt payment or reduce churn rates through improved customer experience and clear messaging.

Transition of ownership from billing/operations to marketing/customer experience

Arrow

Computershare can assist to bridge the gap.

However, the switch to marketing and customer experience comes with some challenges. As marketing teams learn to embrace essential communications they need to come to terms with the integration into legacy systems, complex calculations and regulatory requirements associated with transactional based communications.

The requirements for development of these communications move past testing for usability and multiple email clients into complex data testing and calculation scenarios which can be challenging to navigate. Here are two key factors to consider:

Regulations for marketing messages

The amount of real estate you give to call-to-action messaging on essential communications may also be regulated in your region. In Australia, for example, no more than 25% of your essential communication can be used to communicate marketing messages. Each region has its own specific requirements, so this needs to be factored into design considerations.

Include targeted, relevant information

Understanding your target audience is key to aligning your essential communications strategy to your business strategy, ensuring you create targeted information to drive loyalty, improve the customer experience and more.

Examples of how to unlock the potential of essential communications

 

How a financial services provider addressed customer experience issues and improved customer retention

A financial services provider found that more than 12% of small business applicants for its transactional card were defaulting within the first six weeks.

Our persona analysis uncovered that the welcome letters were often being sent to the business owner, rather than the assistant or accountant who establishes the supplier as a vendor and makes the payments.

This simple insight enabled us to build an application and welcome pack process to target the right audience, which resulted in improved customer retention, greater share of wallet (through upsell) and a significant reduction in default rates.

 

How water utility companies use gamification to shift consumer behavior

When designing bills for a water utility, including graphics around usage rates is proven to shift the way consumers think about their water usage and even change their behavior.

For example, inserting comparison charts can elicit a competitive response from some customers, while including targets for environmentally friendly usage rates and showing household usage against those targets can drive a sustainability response.

This simple addition to essential communications can contribute to a wider organizational goal to serve customers from the existing catchments, saving the community from costly infrastructure projects such as new dams or desalination plants.

​Over to you

Your essential communications provide a valuable opportunity to drive changes in consumer behavior, educate and inform customers and propel your business strategy forward. It all comes down to careful planning around relevant messaging and design to meet your business goals while complying with regulations.

For help harnessing the full potential of your essential communications and to find out how they can help you achieve your business goals, contact our Computershare team today.

You can unsubscribe at any time. For more information view our Privacy Policy.