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Customer Engagement

Can you offer customers a modernized, personalized omni-channel experience?

By Kevin Ricks, Director of Product Management Communications Delivery Solutions, Pitney Bowes

Recently I had a moment of clarity regarding omni-channel communications. I re-read last year’s Household Diary Study, which is issued each year by the U.S. Postal Service® and aims to study Americans use of and attitudes toward the agency.

According to data collected by the USPS and research firm InfoTrends, 91 percent of Americans receive their bills by mail. However, the Postal Service estimates that 62 percent of those consumers pay those very same bills electronically, compared to just 25 percent who choose to send back a check in the mail.

The takeaway? We live in a multi-channel world. USPS research shows that consumers still prefer to receive their bills by mail, but the vast majority choose to pay those bills online. This is evident by the nearly 25 billion bills that are issued by mail in a single year, and the 16 billion that are paid electronically annually.

Operating in a multi-channel world means having the means to serve customers in their preferred channel every time. But things get really interesting when you evolve from a multi-channel focus to an omni-channel approach. The big difference is that, rather than thinking of each channel (the mailed statement versus the online payment portal) as a separate, distinct silo, you offer customers a unified, tailored experience across every channel. In an omni-channel approach, customers enjoy consistent engagement with your brand no matter the channel.

How do you achieve an omni-channel focus across printed transactional mail and digital environments? The key is to step up the degree of personalization and engagement you offer each customer.

Personalize Experiences for Better Engagement, Postal Savings

So, you have the right name, address, and usage data on each bill you mail to a customer. How much more “personalization” do you really need?

Research shows that adding color, shading, and relevant customer data on envelopes can drive a 2.5 times improvement in mail response rates. On top of this, you can embed rich personalized experiences in paper bills through the use of emerging technologies like personalized interactive video (PIV). These self-service videos rely on customer information to create tailored content that can explain a customer’s latest bill, facilitate payment and collect additional client data, like an email address.

Not only does PIV improve customer engagement by linking two separate channels – paper bills and online video – into a unified omni-channel experience, but it also offers cost benefits. By leaning on PIV to answer important customer questions, companies can reduce the number of inbound calls their billing center deals with each day. 

On top of that, the use of software like the USPS CASS™ (Coding Accuracy Support System), NCOA (National Change of Address), PAVE (Presort Analysis Verification and Evaluation) and IMb™ (Intelligent Mail® barcode) help you obtain postal discounts of up to 7.5 cents per piece of mail.  

Modernize Your Customer Engagement Approach

Are your systems modern enough to infuse customer data and create relevant and engaging bills? Can you gather enough data so that you can add a personalized URL (PURL) or barcode on the bill to direct customers to an online video? Can you track the delivery of communications to alert your call center of potential influx of bill inquiry servicing calls? Can you track the online activities of all your mail recipients? 

If you cannot answer “yes” to these questions, then you should consider whether you are doing enough to maximize your transactional mail. In an environment where customers demand smarter engagement from the brands and vendors they trust, it’s more important than ever to evolve from multi-channel to omni-channel. PIV can help get you there.

Learn more about EngageOne® Video for more relevant and engaging bills.

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