Paper retains a prominent position in how banks, institutions, councils and gyms communicate with their customers. Report after report has detailed consumer preference for print in reading books, browsing catalogues and selecting a holiday. Now Opus Trust Marketing has found the same preference for print among consumers receiving statements and invoices from utilities and the such.
The Leicester print business commissioned a survey of 2,000 consumers to judge attitudes towards functional documentation received from banks, insurance and pensions, utilities, councils, travel and leisure companies. There was no discernible preference by age, both old, young and millennial generations liking printed documents to have and to hold in filing cabinets.
Indeed while all accept that the tide of digital communications cannot be turned back, there is a distinct desire for traditional mail when receiving critical communications. More than 80% like to file and keep these documents at home rather than retrieving the PDF version.
The expansion of online chat, both with human helpers and through ever smarter chatbots, is inevitable and will be a preferred channel of communication within five years for one in three consumers.
It is an indication that there is no one size fits all prescriptive way to deal with critical communications. Customers need to have their choices respected rather than foisted upon them. This includes the ability to access and manage their own documents online without any need to contact the service provider.
However, almost 80% were prepared to switch to purely electronic channels for at least one provider, with banks and other financial services at the top of the list, followed by councils. In contrast the majority of consumers want communications about their pensions and insurance policies to be on paper.
Hard copy is also the preferred way to fold on to documents and file them, something that 80% of consumers will do. This will be backed up by providers retaining a digital version to be downloaded.
OTM chief executive Rob Alonso says: “The research unveils a hidden opportunity to turn conventional. more functional communications into engaging, relevant and informative customer experiences.
“The message for this report is clear: consumers value customer correspondence and they are embracing new technology and channels, but there is no one size fits all communications strategy.”
Opus Trust Marketing has published results of a survey into consumer attitudes to printed statements and invoices and it appears that like Print Power and Two Sides surveys, consumers like to receive printed statements, many retaining them for their records.