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Personalize or perish—how your brand can improve its customer communications

by | Feb 26, 2019 | Public Relations

ICYMI, personalization in communications is significantly impacting customer loyalty—and new research from fintech customer communications firm Broadridge Financial Solutions reveals the true extent of the damage when it’s not used properly.

Over one-third (35 percent) of 3,004 consumers surveyed in the U.S. and Canada say that the companies they do business with need to improve communication experiences—and one in four (25 percent) have stopped doing business with a company specifically because of poorly personalized communications. This proportion grows to one in three (35 percent) among Millennials.

“Consumer expectations have changed dramatically in the digital age and brands need to increasingly look to engage their customers in meaningful ways,” said Matt Swain, managing director and practice lead for communications consulting services, Broadridge. “Essential communications, like bills and statements, offer a unique, yet often underutilized, opportunity to provide a personalized experience for customers. This can do more than build brand loyalty, it can also drive the bottom line.”

Personalize or perish—how your brand can improve its customer communications

Interestingly, the survey found one-in-five consumers has purchased a new product or service because they received a message in a bill or statement, a significant conversion rate and opportunity for companies to deepen customer relationships.

Digital adoption hinges on quality communication experiences—especially mobile

Broadridge found that most consumers (69 percent) are likely to convert to paperless if providers make digital experiences more engaging. In fact, if a company’s mobile device experience is poor, more than half (57 percent) of respondents said they’d be less likely to go paperless. That said, most consumers (62 percent) have converted at least one bill or statement to paperless delivery within the last year, with Millennials and households with children leading the migration.

“Companies recognize that digital communications are attractive because they can reduce operational and call center costs by creating more self-service experiences for customers; but, consumers now demand digital experiences that are far better than print. They want personalized digital communications that deliver real value,” said Swain.

Personalize or perish—how your brand can improve its customer communications

While digital transformation in billing is trending upwards, half (50 percent) of consumers say that printed bills and statements are important or vital to them, and one-third (34 percent) believe that print will maintain this importance to them over the next five years. If companies ceased mail communications and completely converted customers to digital channels, this would upset or annoy 49 percent of Baby Boomers—and even 38 percent of Millennials.

New technology brings new conveniences for digital converts

As the digital landscape evolves, companies should look to introduce next-generation technologies to the communication experience. Broadridge’s survey results indicate that consumers already prefer to receive payment-due reminders via email and text message rather than by physical mail. Millennials, 30 percent of whom have missed a payment due date in the last 12 months, prefer to receive payment reminders via text, email or mobile app notifications.

Personalize or perish—how your brand can improve its customer communications

Looking at new technological capabilities, more than one-third (36 percent) of consumers want to view bills and statements in one digital location—a key advantage of personal cloud storage, like Google Drive and Dropbox. Responses suggest that consumers like cloud channels due to the convenient location/access, the ability to create an overview of monthly expenses and investments, and the ease it allows to predict future expenses.

Broadridge found that in the next wave of communications, consumers would be interested in customizing the layout of their bills and statements themselves, incorporating touch ID and facial recognition into mobile experiences, leveraging AI in customer service to get more immediate responses to simple questions, and adding personalized informational videos in digital communications.

Download the full report here.

Personalize or perish—how your brand can improve its customer communications

Broadridge Customer Communications commissioned Engine to conduct a CARAVAN Omnibus Survey. The 53-question survey was administered between November 29 and December 6, 2018 to 3,004 U.S. and Canadian residents ages 25 and older. The sample was weighted to current U.S. and Canadian Census data for age, gender and region. The figures are statistically significant at the 95 percent confidence level with a margin of error of ±2 percentage points.

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Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richardc@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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