Many credit unions offer electronic statements and paperless correspondence to their members. But despite advances in online technology, and in the face of popular sentiment to “be green,” most continue to struggle to increase paperless adoption. The aim is to save trees, save money, and improve member communications; but the key to success is getting members to opt-in to the idea of going paperless.
Are you still printing and mailing thousands of pages of member correspondence every month despite having an electronic solution? Without a well-defined strategy to drive paperless adoption, you may find that you continue to struggle to manage the burden of paper-bound communications.
How can you encourage your members to go paperless? Here are some strategies and best practices you can use to increase adoption rates, improve communications, and maximize the value of your paperless strategy.
Real World Strategies
It makes sense to start your paperless initiative with all your new accounts. Since you are starting a new member relationship, now is the time to set the expectation of a paperless standard. Flag all new accounts and set the default in your system for paperless correspondence only. Remember, while you are encouraging members to go paperless, be sure to provide an option to choose to go back to paper if they wish. In this case, you may want to consider charging a fee for the paper. You may also consider designing new products that minimize or eliminate fees by virtue of going paperless.
The gentlest approach for existing accounts is voluntary opt-in. But asking customers to proactively choose paperless requires proactive marketing on your part. This strategy starts with a thoughtful effort to build awareness. Are your members even aware that they have an option to opt-out of paper in favor of an electronic alternative? What kind of incentives are they given to do so? Does the member experience, both online and in person, encourage them to go online instead of in the mail?
Make Enrollment Easy
It is important to make it easy for your members to enroll in a paperless alternative. 366 Degrees by OMI provides a single sign-on and seamless integration to all paperless platforms. But best of all, it’s a simple enrollment process and easy for those customers that want to go paperless to do so with just one click. For organizations, managing enrollment through this automated feature has the added benefit of providing a quick and easy way to track the effectiveness of paperless initiatives.
Unlike the voluntary method, reverse opt-in is a hard line approach to raise paperless adoption. Turning off printed statements at a pre-defined future date, for example, is an effective, but potentially risky strategy. It is important to work diligently to communicate to all of your members well in advance so that they are aware of the pending change. It is important also to provide a way to opt back in to receive printed communications, but you may want to consider charging a fee for the service.
Another approach that falls somewhere between voluntary and reverse opt-in is one that focuses on your current online customers. Since these customers are already comfortable with your online services and the online experience, turning off printed correspondence is a natural progression. It is easy to access their statements, notices, letters and communications through the existing online customer portal. Again, you can always provide an option to opt back in for paper if they wish.
Proven Best Practices
The strategies above are great ways to increase eStatement adoption. Here are a few best practices to add to the mix to further your success.
Give-Aways and Discounts
Everyone is attracted to a give-away, and you may find giving members a little something for their effort is a convenient and affordable way to entice them to go paperless. Give-aways and other incentives have shown to increase electronic adoption, and these include everything from inexpensive promotional items, to gift cards, or even a sweepstakes for a new iPad.
Often, members who still receive printed statements are unaware that they have an option to turn the paper off. It is important to keep proactively promoting your paperless initiatives to keep your members informed. The best way to raise that awareness is to use all the channels available including direct mail, web banners, e-mail and other touch points. Certainly this should also include any printed correspondence as well with envelope backer ads, statement inserts, and so forth.
Every time a member interacts with your service representatives they should be encouraged to go paperless if they have not already done so. This requires a thoughtful and consistent effort to educate all internal staff, especially member facing personnel, about why your paperless adoption campaign is important and valuable – to both your customers and your organization. Track your staff’s progress and make the drive toward going paperless a visible goal. For example, post a graph on progress, praise the results, and host an internal competition. Continue to encourage this internal promotion through rewards and recognition that keep the paperless effort moving forward.
Many organizations find that going paperless is a great way to be green and save green at the same time. Often, there is positive attention paid to organizations that are going green and that resonates with members. Make your customers part of the experience by promoting the “green” aspects of your efforts and how they can help the paperless cause.
Know your Demographics
More than 95% of all member statements are read every month. Knowing who to target and how to communicate with them in your paperless initiatives gets you one step closer to your goals. Communicate through all accessible channels to understand and overcome hesitations in moving to paperless communications. The more you know the more you grow.
Are you ready to adopt strategies and best practices to increase your eStatement adoption rate? It will take thoughtful effort and the right tools to get the job done. Look for providers and solutions, like our own 366 Degrees, that have the right mix of capability, vision and experience that will allow you to make the most of electronic statements and other paperless correspondence.