Preferences Rule in the Optichannel World
Today, consumers expect excellent experiences made up of frictionless interactions and extreme convenience as they interact with brands and companies across all channels. Amazon has set the standard. Consumers expect a seamless experience from direct mail to email to the web as well as an app or in-person experience.
It’s an Optichannel World
We’re in an optichannel world and preferences rule.
Consumers prefer communications in the optimal channel they choose. Print is important. Effective print drives consumers to engage with a brand in other channels. There is a critical need for companies to effectively manage content and data with a keen awareness for customer preferences as they build a customer’s journey and measure customer experience.
Brands and companies that link transactional data, with marketing data, online and mobile interactions create intelligent communications based on individual preferences. Customers’ behaviors have changed across verticals, even those that are in the highly regulated industries of financial services, banking, and health care. More communications include digital channels. The impact of Covid restrictions drove digital adoption across all generations of consumers.
Make it Seamless
Consumers easily jump from one app on their phone to another for personal communications. That standard is now applied to business communications. If you’re a customer and have a question about a recent product purchase, you’re likely to tweet, chat, email or even communicate via Facebook Messenger until you get an answer.
Many companies just aren’t prepared to respond seamlessly in this digital-first, always-on communication era we are in. Customers may leave brands or businesses that don’t adapt or make it difficult to switch between channels.
Consumers expect a consistent experience. They will become frustrated if they are treated differently on Twitter than over email. Consumers also expect a consistent visual experience and voice from web page to app to statements.
They will also become annoyed if they have to continually repeat their customer data each time they contact your business through a different channel. The data should follow the customer wherever they interact with your company.
I started my career in banking and the mutual fund industry. Recently, I was surprised when I spent 90 minutes on hold trying to reach the loan department at my bank, while they offer faster customer service through Twitter.
In speaking with a large print mail service provider, they shared that their customers for transactional print have made investments to support communications to additional, customer-focused channels. Yet the brands still need assistance in optimizing each communication and touchpoint to make better decisions based on consumer preferences.
SMS driving ROI
The same print mail service provider shared one of their opti-channel success stories for a large utility. The service provider prints and mails millions of monthly bills. They also send SMS messages for payment reminders. Using data analytics, they made a recommendation to move the SMS payment reminders by one day. Just one day. Their customer reported a 12 – 20% improvement in payments from the SMS messages that went out one day earlier. These are impressive results with a positive and measurable financial impact.
We all can help customers improve their opti-channel communications. You may be responsible to create and orchestrate communications. You may be in an operational role and manage data and content. Or you may be a service provider that has to provide end-to-end services and solutions. Regardless of your role, I challenge you to embrace change, and help your customers adopt new communication strategies. Strategies based on an individual approach to thrive in the opti-channel world and where print is one channel in the mix to optimize customer experience.
Print will continue to be a key component when we recognize customer experience is driven by preferences across all channels. We have the strategy and solutions to enable clients to harness data from all sources, to make effective decisions and optimize communications.
Do you have a great opti-channel experience to share? Please email me at LRitarossi@highrockstrategies.com
Input for this piece was provided by Mark M. Fallon, president and CEO, The Berkshire Company:
Mark M. Fallon is president and CEO of The Berkshire Company, a consulting firm specializing in mail and document processing strategies. The company develops customized solutions integrating proven management concepts with emerging technologies to achieve total process management. He offers a vision of the document that integrates technology, data quality, process integrity, and electronic delivery. His successes are based upon using leadership to implement innovative solutions in the document process. You can contact Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lois Ritarossi, CMC®, is the President of High Rock Strategies, a consulting firm focused on sales and marketing strategies, and business growth for firms in the print, mail and communication sectors. Lois brings her clients a cross functional skill set and strategic thinking with disciplines in business strategy, sales process, sales training, marketing, software implementation, inkjet transformation and workflow optimization. Lois has enabled clients to successfully launch new products and services with integrated sales and marketing strategies, and enabled sales teams to effectively win new business. You can reach Lois at highrockstrategies.com.