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No plan for going electronic could be costing you a fortune

Digital migration: You could be saving $500k in print & postage!


Do you know exactly what your company’s targets are for print and postage savings over the next two years? Not having targets could be costing you a fortune. I recently attended a 'digital partner strategy day’, hosted by one of our larger clients, which turned out to be an incredibly valuable exercise. What struck me most was how wide the spectrum is between a company with clearly defined targets for reducing paper communications and those that have done little more than ‘offer’ eBilling.


The gap was costing one client half a million dollars a year. Read on to find out how to avoid this…


The primary objective of this client-led 'digital partner strategy day' was for senior managers from several divisions to lay out their vision for digital communication and short, medium and long terms goals for migrating as many customer contact points to electronic as possible. They invited a very small group of best-of-breed partners, which included the likes of Microsoft, Oracle, HP, Adobe and Striata to share their thoughts on how to accelerate this process and enhance the client's vision for a truly personalized customer experience.


What is your true cost of service?

I was particularly impressed that this company has crystal clear targets for print and postage savings (something we encourage all our clients to do upfront). They established the volume and cost per communication type: each paper mailing, inbound and outbound phone calls, the impact per day of slow or late payments; and then segmented commercial customers from individuals. With the help of strategic partners, industry research and management they set aggressive, but achievable targets, which everyone within the company has agreed to. Buy in and accountability across all divisions is critical.


How can you commit resources without targets?

The majority of companies we meet with don’t have well defined targets. In fact, most don’t even have an accurate account of their communication volumes or costs, which are essential for setting targets. At best, they may have ballpark figures for how many paper bills are delivered, and a rough percentage in mind for eBilling adoption (usually based on the industry average). But they haven’t mapped out which other mailings go out to the same customer, and at what cost.


Imagine sending everyone in your company out on a scavenger hunt with no finish line, no timeframe and no encouragement to enlist the help from other departments. One of the biggest challenges in achieving these mythical cost reduction targets is that there is rarely any sharing of data across departments or communication types. This makes it incredibly difficult to get all the key stakeholders to swim in the same direction – let alone commit resources.


Half a million dollars a year down the drain

While conducting a discovery workshop with a prospective client recently, we determined that $1.4 million is spent every year on mailing their annual privacy notice, a regulatory requirement, which they believe very few customers actually read. This is a classic example of departments not working together, as more than 30% of customers are already registered for eStatements, and yet 100% of customers get the privacy policy in the mail. If you can confirm delivery via email, why wouldn’t you send it electronically for a fraction of the cost, and use it as an opportunity to drive more traffic to your website?


Start the discovery process today

Start by looking at your volumes and print & mail costs for each of the following:

  • System generated personal documents – bills, statements, policies, collection notices etc.
  • Triggered messages – welcome letters, payment confirmations, reminders
  • High volume, low touch communications – all general notifications with no sensitive information – annual reports, privacy notices
  • Inbound and outbound phone calls
  • Another key data point is the total number of email addresses on file – across all departments and databases (including 3rd party vendors)


Use your full army, not just a handful of enthusiasts

Once you have a handle on these metrics, you can START developing your ‘digital migration strategy’, and set targets for print and postage reduction, email address collection, auto-pay enrollment, reduction of inbound phone calls, etc. This should be a collaborative exercise, not just within your organization, but with your key vendor partners as well.


Lastly, but most importantly, make a big deal of communicating your short, medium and long-term goals and get buy-in from everyone involved in moving customers to electronic communication, providing regular updates as milestones are achieved. Having a whole army of supporters is infinitely more powerful than a few fanatics fighting the battle in the dark.


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