In the current economic climate, many organisations are focusing on rationalising costs across the board. Increasingly, organisations are setting cost-saving targets, compelling managers to find ways to cut operational costs within their departments.
Coupled with the growing need to reduce the environmental impact of paper consumption, many organisations are looking to the cost efficiencies and expanded capability of communicating with customers electronically.
According to Mia Papanicolaou, Head of eMarketing at electronic messaging specialist Striata SA, regular customer communication is a key element of the business cycle and companies are turning to email as an alternative means to distribute, not only marketing, but also operational communications such as invoices, statements and reports. Paper turn off can be achieved only if accurate email addresses are on record.
“This is best achieved by using proven strategies employed in general marketing,” says Papanicolaou. “Every touch point with a customer should be used to its full potential to achieve the end goal. As an example, by tagging a message on to paper statements currently sent, direct mail, bulk SMS or current eMarketing initiatives, customers can be encouraged to sign up to receive electronic billing.
“Likewise, inbound communication channels such as the website, call centre and branches need to request email addresses at every opportunity and record permission for use.”
Papanicolaou reports excellent success rates on targeted conversion campaigns using outbound SMS or inbound short-code processes.
“In every execution, wording is extremely important in achieving higher email adoption rates. Companies embarking on these exercises should continually evaluate the processes - are they getting the best response from an SMS message sent with the aim of obtaining an email address in the reply? Are they maintaining communication with customers through reminder campaigns?” she adds.
Papanicolaou goes on to say that proper management of conversion strategies and focus on maintaining the accuracy of the data are essential for success.
The right approach is a broad communication plan that maps appropriate communication to the customer lifecycle. This ensures a co-ordinated approach that involves all stakeholders, avoiding customer fatigue caused by frequent or irrelevant communication.
Papanicolaou concludes: “Implementing a full communication strategy takes time, but the rewards of conversion are far greater than when a ‘splash and dash' approach is undertaken.”
Striata is passionate about reducing the challenges and costs associated with traditional communication. We understand the power and efficiency of electronic communication, from marketing and operational messages, to the delivery of confidential documents securely by email. Striata specialises in the secure delivery and payment of bills, statements, payslips, invoices and all other confidential documents, via encrypted email, and in maximising the adoption of electronic solutions.
Striata has been a provider of software and services in the electronic messaging arena since 1999 and has offices in New York, London, Sydney and Johannesburg. Visit www.striata.com for more information.