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7 Ways Financial Institutions Can Encourage the Adoption of e-Bills and e-Statements

As banks and other financial institutions focus on building more effective digital capabilities into their processes, consumer adoption of paperless bills and statements is essential for success. Here are seven ways that organizations can influence this important digital transformation. For a deeper look at digital transformation in the financial services industry, check out this Executive Brief.

1. Make it easy for consumers to go digital.

Offer opt-in right at the time a new customer signs up for services. Make it simple and straightforward with a persuasive push, avoiding paper delivery unless requested or required by regulation. Keep the sign-up process easy, by allowing forms to be completed online at any time in the customer life cycle. Create seamless entry points to sign-up that can be completed over mobile, at customer kiosks, on the desktop and over the phone. Meet your customers wherever they are with the push toward digital interactions.

2. Be proactive.

Some banks and financial institutions have found success with making a hard push toward digital communications at the beginning of the client relationship — even administering fees for paper delivery and/or paper service support. It’s important to know your customer base and also understand any special requirements that exist for the use of paper as you evaluate these methods.

3. Be persistent.

It’s clear that not everyone will adopt paperless on the first contact. Consistent marketing campaigns — via email, text and even the snail mail you’re driving customers away from — will keep the lines of communication open and keep adoption numbers on the rise. Be creative with color, adding an extra marketing piece that can be included with those outgoing statements. While focusing on creating digital touchpoints, you can improve your effectiveness with a well-formed mix between traditional and digital media techniques.

Offer discounts, giveaways or other incentives — and connect with your customers on social media through messages that resonate with each core audience. With 80% of households on Facebook or Twitter, promoted posts and ads are a great way to connect with your base.

4. Use personalized insights to create a demand for e-statements.

Allow customers to customize their statements and information needs based on their individual preferences and financial behaviors (e.g., spenders, investors, transactors, etc.). Meet them where they want (online, cell phone, apps, IVR). Leverage analytics to identify and present actionable information to customers to head off follow up branch visits, phone calls and even online browsing

5. Use data analytics and fresh design to your advantage.

While traditional paper statements have been a signature of the financial industry for years, make your e-statements stand out with modern graphics, charts and other visuals that your customers will enjoy receiving in their inboxes.

Use the data you have to engage those who’ve already adopted digital bill-pay channels to try out e-statements. Have them vote on the best e-statement designs. Encourage them to share their experience using e-statements on social media. The bottom line is: make it fun and engaging. Draw from user-experience data across services to increase adoption and success of digital channels over time. Since one of the reasons consumers are slow to adopt paperless statements is that they need physical reminders to pay, ask them to sign up for push alerts via mobile instead of receiving hard copy statements.

6. Provide a secure archive of data, with the ability for your customers to access it anytime.

A big selling point for going digital is that your customers can easily and securely access and manage their financial data online — anytime, anywhere. Making that data secure, current and accessible for your customers to make significant transactions (e.g. doing their taxes, creating wills or applying for home loans) can go a long way in enhancing digital adoption.

7. Always educate and explain the advantage of new digital channels.

Providing good reasons to make a change makes it more compelling. Consumers like to know “why” they should make a change. Communicating about the advantages of a switch to digital helps pave the way for more consumers to adopt it. Some people connect with how many trees it saves, others with how much faster and efficient it is, others with how much it helps their bank keep overall fees down. You can augment your educational efforts with videos at physical touchpoints to promote adoption, or incentivize your call center representatives to help steer customers in digital directions and coach them on self-service avenues. Get all of your employees engaged in the movement to digital, and you’ll accelerate desired outcomes.

These tips are an excerpt from the Executive Brief, Transactions to Interactions: Why the Financial Services Industry is Leaving Paper Behind. For more insights, download the full brief here.