Monthly statements aren’t often thought of as important tools for marketing, but they should be. Each customer account statement actually represents a trusted appointment with every customer. Consider this: Recent survey results from InfoTrends, a national research and analyst firm, has shown that 97% of bills and statements are opened and read by consumers, and they spend between two to five minutes reviewing the statements received from their financial services providers, banks, insurers, utilities and favorite retail stores.
Since monthly statements are often the primary touch point customers have with a company, and are frequently the only tangible evidence of the service provided, they offer a powerful, innovative opportunity for marketers. Overlooking the promotional power of customer statements misses a tremendous opportunity to get your campaign noticed, cross-sell other products or simply reinforce the brand experience. Statements should be considered a key component of an integrated customer communications program as a vehicle that has a consistent direct influence on the customer experience and brand loyalty over time.
Would you still own a black and white TV?
Although many companies issue thousands and, in some cases, even millions of customer statements each month, the vast majority of these statements don’t look much different than they did decades ago. With research that shows invoices in color get paid 30 % faster, continuing to print static, boring black and white statements when there have been compelling advances in digital color and data-driven personalization techniques doesn’t make good business sense.
Digital technologies have made full color statements both affordable and highly effective. We all recognize the positive impact of color and eye-catching graphics to boost customer engagement and brand recognition. InfoTrends indicated that repeat orders rise by 48% and brand recognition boosts 80% when using color. The good news is you can affordably put those proven principles to work using ongoing statements to connect more powerfully with your customers and sustain more lasting relationships with them.
Some important considerations for effective statement design
However, it isn’t as simple as just adding color to the original document. Effective design is also critical to success. Poorly written, unclear statements continue to drive calls to call centers, lead to a negative customer experience and increase the cost of doing business. Improving statement design to ensure they are an asset to your marketing program requires consideration of several key components that deliver significant benefits to customers:
- Strategic use of color—reinforces your brand and draws the customer’s eye to key information
- Creative iconography, graphics and other images—helps customers navigate the statement and understand important statement information quickly and easily
- Plain language writing—ensures that the structure and content of your document is clear and understandable by your customer
- Personalization—delivers the right message to the right customer in the right channel
- White space—improves readability and makes your statement easier to navigate
- Consideration of system requirements—ensures that new statements can make it into production seamlessly
- Testing—customer testing is an integral part of every successful statement design to ensure the new statement is something your customer will properly use and interpret each time they receive it
Gaining the capability within your organization to generate customer communications that follow the design considerations discussed above is vital to leveraging the tremendous potential customer statements have for improving customer experience, loyalty and your organization’s ROI. Ideally, the review, proofing and approval processes should be automated for quicker time-to-market with processes in place that allow marketing specialists to easily deliver the right targeted message to the right customer, in the right media (whether print, email, mobile/SMS or web), without having to depend on the IT department.
A consistently great customer experience can transform satisfied customers into “brand promoters”—loyal customers who believe in your brand, buy from your company and urge their friends and family to do the same.
Customers anticipate their monthly statements and bills. They trust the source and attend to the content. As a result, well-designed statements provide an innovative opportunity for marketers to communicate and connect with customers every month in new and lucrative ways that are sure to pay dividends in achieving those higher response rates.