4 Steps To Integrate Print Touchpoints into Your Customer’s Digital Journey

How many of your customers prefer getting their monthly bill in print? How many prefer digital? Whatever those numbers are for you, this one is important for every company: 86 percent of U.S. consumers believe they should have their choice between digital and print touchpoints.

What really matters to customers is that they can always receive communications over their preferred channel, including if it happens to be print. So when we at CSG talk about how companies can improve the billing experience, we’re talking about digital and print in tandem.

An example of this: ADT recently improved their customers’ print and digital billing journey and revamped their printed billing statement with the help of the CSG Experiences Practice. That project used holistic research that included customer interviews and competitive analysis to deliver better print and digital experiences, and it received an honorable mention for the 2021 Xplor Application of the Year Award. Xplor International recognized CSG for “imaginative application of current technology and/or unique implementation of existing document and communication systems.”

ADT’s accomplishments—which included a 20 percent reduction in inbound billing calls—came from looking at their printed bill holistically. When you integrate your print touchpoints into your digital-focused engagement strategy, you ensure customers have quality interactions on whatever channel they choose.

Here are four steps for making your print touchpoints more effective within your customers’ digital journeys.

 

1.     GET TO KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER AND HOW PRINT TOUCHPOINTS FIT IN THEIR JOURNEY

Outcomes: Improved loyalty and retention; reduced churn

First, you need to understand your customer’s preferences. You should already be using journey analytics (JA) and a customer data platform (CDP) to gather this insight. If so, just make sure it’s capturing print touchpoints as well as digital.

Be prepared to discover that a lot of customers still prefer print, and in ways that aren’t necessarily consistent. In fact, customers’ print/digital preferences vary based on the type of document. This is why companies can’t put customers in either/or buckets for print or digital communications.

A robust CDP helps you create comprehensive customer profiles, which means you can send more targeted print communications as well as digital. Can you identify customers who have historically been responsive to print? Or who would be ideal for an upcoming promotion? Use this knowledge to more precisely target your direct-mail promotions or ad pages.

 

2.     APPLY CUSTOMER-CENTRIC DESIGN TO CREATE CLEAR, EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATIONS

Outcomes: Reduced call volume, customer friction and operational costs; improved loyalty and engagement

To truly give customers their choice of medium, they have to feel like they’re getting clear, high-quality communications in print as they would in digital. If they notice a drop-off in quality from digital to print, they might feel undervalued just for preferring the latter channel.

For that reason, make sure you’re addressing each of these elements in the design of your printed statements:

  1. Plain language copy for clarity
  2. Reader-friendly page layout
  3. Dynamic, bold design to hold the customer’s attention
  4. Relevant information prioritized to reduce clutter
  5. Brand-compliant visuals and voice

 

3.     BRIDGE THE DIGITAL GAP

Outcomes: Increased brand engagement and retention

Print content can help promote engagement on your digital channels and remind customers that they can accomplish tasks or easily find information online. For that, consider including text short codes or QR codes connecting them to a virtual assistant, online FAQ or other digital resource. These connections between your documents and digital channels help create a more dynamic experience without burdening your contact center.

However, be mindful of the messaging here. A heavy-handed approach to reminding customers to use the website, mobile app, etc. (as opposed to delivering them as recommendations) can make some print-centric customers feel you’re pushing them too hard from their preferred channel.

 

4.     CUT OUT THE NOISE

Outcomes: Reduced operational costs and customer friction

Think about how many emails you receive each day compared to print mail. Your physical mailbox is a “cleaner” source of communications, and in that spirit your mailings should be brief and to the point. Avoid using a kitchen-sink approach to information on billing statements. For more detailed information that’s not required on the print statement, point customers to an online resource that has what they need to know.

Also, just as you should prioritize sending better-targeted digital messages over simply more messages, you should take care not to overwhelm customers with print communications. Be aware of how much customers are receiving from you in each channel. How much is too much? JA can help you test your mailing cadence and optimize it.

 

DIGITAL AND PRINT TOUCHPOINTS: THEY’RE BETTER TOGETHER

Approaching your print communications holistically with your broader digital CX can produce better customer engagement overall. A USPS report found that marketers who combined direct mail with digital marketing had more effective campaigns. Sixty-eight percent said the combination increased their website visits.

So what are your customer engagement goals? And how can you better synergize your print and digital channels to achieve them? To learn more about how to better combine print and digital touchpoints, like the CSG Experiences Practice and ADT did in their award-winning collaboration, talk to us today.