Next generation member statements—Why design matters
The quality of the member experience is commanding increased attention in every industry, given heightened member expectations for a highly personalized experience and the growing ease with which members can choose another organization should they become dissatisfied. This reality is especially true for credit unions, whose members have already indicated a strong preference for the highly personalized, community experience that typically differentiates a credit union’s service from the bank around the corner.
In attempting to meet these growing consumer expectations, one touch point that could be overlooked—but shouldn’t be—is your routine member statements. If you think about it, each statement sent actually represents a trusted appointment with every member. Consider this—recent survey results from research firm InfoTrends has shown that 97 percent of bills and statements are opened and read by consumers, and they spend between two to five minutes reviewing the statements received from their financial services providers, banks, insurers, utilities and favorite retail stores.
As a regular and recurring touch point with your members, statements offer a powerful, innovative opportunity to enhance the member experience. Statements should be a considered a key component of an integrated member communications program as a vehicle that has a consistent direct influence on member experience, their financial choices and brand loyalty over time. When you look closely at the statements you send out today, do they support these goals?
Would you still own a black and white TV?
Credit unions send numerous member statements each month, yet, unfortunately, too often these statements don’t look much different than they did decades ago. Continuing to print static, boring black and white statements when there have been compelling advances in statement design capabilities, including digital color and data-driven personalization techniques, doesn’t make good business sense.
Adding color to your statements offers numerous advantages for getting your message across and in terms of the customer experience. Consider these facts:
- Color in documents increases comprehension by 78 percent
- Color boosts brand recognition by 80 percent
- Full color mail pieces are 55 percent more likely to be read
- Invoices in color get paid 30 percent faster
Advances in digital technologies have made full color statement design both affordable and highly effective. Research continues to confirm the positive impact of color and eye-catching graphics to boost customer engagement and brand recognition. Today, whether working with a print service provider or in-house production facility, you can affordably put those proven principles to work in your credit union’s ongoing statement design to connect more powerfully with your members and sustain more lasting relationships with them.
Some important steps for effective statement design
However, just adding color isn’t enough. Effective design is also critical to boosting engagement. Poorly written, unclear and cluttered statements continue to drive calls into your credit union, lead to a negative member experience and increase the cost of doing business. Improving statement design to ensure they are an asset to your customer communication portfolio requires consideration of several key components that ultimately deliver significant benefits to your credit union and the recipient:
- Strategic use of color—reinforces your brand and draws the member’s eye to key information
- Creative iconography, graphics and other images—helps members navigate the statement and understand important statement information quickly and easily
- Plain language writing—ensures that the structure and content of your document is clear and understandable by your members
- Personalization—delivers the right message to the right member in the right channel
- White space—improves readability and makes your statement easier to navigate
- Consideration of system requirements—ensures that new statements can make it into production seamlessly
- Testing—customer testing is an integral part of every successful statement design to ensure the new statement is something your members will properly use and interpret each time they receive it
Gaining the capability within your organization to generate member communications that follow the design considerations discussed above is vital to leveraging the tremendous potential statements have for improving member experience, loyalty and your credit union’s ROI. A consistently great member experience can transform satisfied members into “brand promoters”—loyal members who look to your credit union for their financial services needs and urge their friends and family to do the same.
Members anticipate their monthly statements and bills. They trust the source and attend to the content. As a result, well-designed statements provide an innovative opportunity for credit unions to communicate and connect with members every month in new and lucrative ways that are sure to pay dividends in achieving loyalty through an exceptional member experience.