5 Digital Engagement Principles To Apply To Your Print Communications
In today’s market, who isn’t trying to improve their customer engagement? If you’re reading this, chances are your company has set goals to deliver better, more personalized customer experiences (CX) using an omnichannel strategy. It’s important to remember, however, that omnichannel doesn’t mean only digital. Print communications remain a vital component of every organization’s customer engagement strategy.
Omnichannel is about letting customers choose how they connect, and between 56 and 74 percent of consumers prefer to receive common communications (like bank statements and utility bills) in the mail. This is even after companies have been working for years to migrate more of these customers to digital documents.
So how do you create better print touchpoints, even as your organization shifts its focus toward digital? By better, we mean communications that reduce inbound call volumes, reinforce brand loyalty and motivate more customer action. We don’t want print-preferring customers to get the short end of the stick when it comes to experience—for example, receiving billing statements that are confusing, offers that are irrelevant or promotional messages that are low quality.
To more seamlessly integrate their digital and print strategy, companies should ensure they are applying these five CX principles to their print touchpoints.
Most consumers expect some level of personalization when they interact with a brand. We often think of this in the context of receiving tailored buying recommendations, like on Amazon, or calling a customer support line that recognizes who you are (and even the reason you’re calling). In fact, personalization has become such a familiar dynamic over digital channels that it can seem off-putting when a brand doesn’t know or acknowledge you.
That is why personalization in print communications is more important than ever. Even something as simple as addressing customers by name in an ad can significantly improve engagement. A Tier-1 communications service provider discovered this when they personalized an ad page with the customer’s name.
The result? A 33 percent sales lift from that one touchpoint.
Customers expect you to know them across the channels they use. By using personalization tools in your print communications, you imbue that channel with the same familiarity that customers should be getting from your digital communications.
2. CROSS-CHANNEL SYNERGY
Companies want to make their customer journeys more seamless, enabling customers to switch communication channels without losing progress toward making a purchase or getting support. Companies can extend that principle to their print materials.
Print touchpoints benefit from the fact so many consumers have a smartphone handy while they read them. Think of QR codes, which resurged thanks to their use for contactless restaurant menus and other applications during the pandemic. Scanning them no longer requires downloading a separate mobile app in most cases.
But another way companies can facilitate helpful shifts from paper to digital is by using a call to action with a short code to text. For example, “Text ‘upgrade’ to [five- or six-digit number] to boost your internet speed.”
Including text options can help spur customer action without increasing contact center volumes, all while making it more appealing for print-preferring customers to switch to text. Using a document messaging solution (like CSG Message Manager) that has text-code integration makes it easier to create these print-to-digital bridges in your print communications.
Over 90 percent of consumers are more likely to buy from brands that provide them relevant offers. Knowing this, companies are leveraging sophisticated digital engagement solutions that allow them to break their customer base down to a segment of one, and target customers with highly relevant messaging. Yet some of these same companies may still be using a blanket approach to their print marketing campaigns.
As you create print campaigns, how easily can you group customers by zip code, payment status or other criteria to determine whether a communication is relevant? The more effective your targeting capabilities, the more value you will generate from your print communications.
When customer-facing messages require updates (like a price increase or new regulations to comply with), how quickly can your company make them? Agility is a hallmark of great digital engagement solutions, but you should also value agility in your print communication management tools.
One example of where this makes a difference: we still see companies who don’t have control over the content of their print documents. When they need to update the language or design in a billing statement, they rely on a third party to make those changes.
It’s vital to have software that makes it easy to create and update quality print documents yourself. That way, you can get urgent messages to customers faster.
Suppose your company gets an uptick in calls from customers confused about a billing policy change. Ideally you can diagnose the issue with the statement messaging, and then the department responsible (marketing, billing, legal, etc.) can go into the statement and make the fix.
5. BRAND CONSISTENCY
As brands have added customer communication channels over the years (and often with disparate digital platforms), they recognized a growing challenge: keeping those new channels consistent in messaging, look and feel.
Brand consistency matters to consumers when you’re trying to create seamless experiences across channels. If customers are presented with different messages or experiences when they switch between print and digital touchpoints, it can breed confusion. Confusion then generates calls to the contact center, if not outright disengagement.
A great way to promote brand consistency between print and digital touchpoints is to use software that can create digital communications out of your print documents, like billing statements. Message Manager has this function, among others that make it easier to integrate print documents into your digital strategy.
WHAT ALL THESE CX PRINCIPLES HAVE IN COMMON
When you apply these digital CX principles to your paper billing statements, notifications or promotional pieces, you can drive more value from your print communications. Also, because you’re executing an omnichannel strategy, leveling up your print engagement enhances your digital engagement as well.
Right now, maximizing print ROI is more important than ever. With costs rising this year for U.S. postage and paper materials, companies are feeling more pressure to suppress their print communications.
Quality print touchpoints are key to reinforcing brand loyalty, and they are definitely achievable even in these market conditions. Just look at what ADT has done to enhance their printed billing statements, which cut their billing calls by 20 percent.