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Kicking Your Digital Servicing Communications Up a Notch

BY Patrick Kehoe

Approximately two decades ago, document professionals began to look at routine documents, such as monthly invoices or statements, more closely and recognized the blank white space on the page was valuable real estate. Combining these ongoing documents with personalized educational and promotional materials provided a timely and much needed opportunity to encourage loyalty and get more out of the printed documents sent regularly to customers.

Here we are in 2021 and so much of the communications landscape has changed. While many consumers may still ask for print for these servicing documents, a growing number are opting for their servicing communications to be sent via digital channels. The pandemic has added further emphasis to the broader use of digital communications and serves as the foundation for the current environment of working and shopping remotely. Unfortunately, this has also engendered a steady onslaught of electronic spam, the modern equivalent of junk mail. In fact, some surveys have shown that consumers are more tolerant of printed junk mail than they are of spam. Where they might glance through a printed flyer or brochure, they simply delete spam email and texts without paying much attention. However, if done with some care, one way to prevent this with your electronically sent servicing communications is by using the virtual white space to insert carefully targeted, hyper-personalized messaging.

As organizations have made the shift to digital communications, the practice of leveraging servicing communications for delivering personalized messages into statements, bills and other transactional documents largely has been left behind as a relic of the print world. Digital servicing communications are often short notifications that contain no specific information of value, but merely point to a portal or PDF where the useful content actually resides. However, routine servicing communications sent digitally provide an effective way to reach your audience with important information or the marketing messages you spent a good deal of time and money developing.

Consumers are more likely to pay attention to a notification of a due bill or a “statement is ready” message if you use the data you have to tailor your messages to a recipient’s individual interests. Software solutions have evolved in step with this demand, continuing to focus on how to bridge the gaps between disparate systems in order to process the data stored in these repositories to create the level of messaging that connects to a market of one. For example, AI (artificial intelligence), particularly applications like data analytics or those that track customer experience and queries, allows for this kind of hyper-personalization. Based on existing and curated customer information, as well as ongoing interactions, AI can be used to draw profiles of customers to define their tastes and preferences and anticipate their future needs. AI can even be applied to language to ensure that you are addressing consumers in terms they’ll easily understand and with the appropriate emotional temperature.

Hyper-personalized messaging is very different from the kind of personalization first introduced—Dear Charles vs. Dear Valued Customer—or the typical single line of text advising customers to visit their insurance carrier’s website to review their monthly statement. By adding highly targeted, relevant details to your digital servicing communications—such as information specifically for asthma maintenance in health documents or an alert that a bank customer has accumulated enough credit card frequent flyer miles to qualify for first class—your customers will be more likely to read beyond a single-lined SMS text, open an attachment or take a moment to visit your website for more information. This idea can be applied across many industries with, of course, one eye open to privacy concerns and legal compliance. Leveraged properly, drawing on the data you have on your customer to provide individual content and offers that are accurate and specifically relevant to the recipient can’t help but equate to an improved customer experience.

Technology continues to reshape the way customers think and what they expect. Software, such as AI, makes it increasingly possible to create all forms of communications with hyper-personalized messaging based on the recipient’s individual demographics, needs and interests, increasing both the relevance of your messaging and the response to them. We all know that personalizing every customer communication you send and then sending them through the preferred channel helps to keep customers and prospects engaged and fosters the loyalty and customer service for which we all strive. Now we have the technology to fully support our efforts.

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