Rule of Preferences in the Optichannel World


Today, consumers expect great experiences comprised of frictionless interactions and extreme convenience when interacting with brands and businesses across all channels. Amazon set the standard. Consumers expect a seamless direct-to-email direct mail experience across the web, as well as an app or in-person experience.

It’s an Optichannel world

We are in an optichannel world and a rule of preferences.

Consumers prefer communications in the optimal channel they choose. Printing is important. Effective impression drives consumers to engage with a brand in other channels. There is a critical need for businesses to effectively manage content and data with a keen awareness of customer preferences as they build a customer journey and measure customer experience.

Brands and companies that connect transactional data with marketing data, online and mobile interactions create intelligent communications based on individual preferences. Customer behaviors have changed across all verticals, even those that belong to the highly regulated financial services, banking and healthcare industries. More and more communications include digital channels. The impact of Covid restrictions has led to digital adoption across all generations of consumers.

Make it seamless

Consumers easily switch between apps on their phones for personal communication. This standard is now applied to corporate communications. If you’re a customer and have a question about a recent product purchase, you’re likely to tweet, chat, email, or even communicate through Facebook Messenger until you get a response.

Many businesses are simply not ready to respond transparently in this ever-active, digital communication age we find ourselves in. Customers may leave brands or businesses that don’t scale or make it difficult to switch between channels.

Consumers expect a consistent experience. They will become frustrated if they are treated differently on Twitter than they are by email. Consumers also expect a consistent visual and voice experience from webpage to app to statements.

They’ll also be annoyed if they have to continually repeat their customer data every time they contact your business through a different channel. Data needs to follow the customer wherever they interact with your business.

I started my career in banking and the mutual fund industry. Recently I was surprised when I spent 90 minutes on hold trying to reach my bank’s loan department when they offer faster customer service via Twitter.

In speaking with a major print mail service provider, they indicated that their transactional printing customers have invested in supporting communications to additional customer-centric channels. Yet brands still need help optimizing every communication and every touchpoint in order to make better decisions based on consumer preferences.

SMS resulting in return on investment

The same print mail service provider shared one of their great public service opti-channel success stories. The service provider prints and sends millions of monthly invoices. They also send SMS for payment reminders. Using data analytics, they recommended moving SMS payment reminders to one day. Just one day. Their client reported a 12-20% improvement in payments from SMS messages sent a day earlier. These are impressive results with a positive and measurable financial impact.

We can all help customers improve their opti-channel communications. You may be responsible for creating and orchestrating communications. You can be in an operational role and manage data and content. Or you can be a service provider who needs to provide end-to-end services and solutions. Whatever your role, I challenge you to embrace change and help your clients adopt new communication strategies. Strategies based on an individual approach to prosper in the opti-channel world and where printing is a channel in the mix to optimize the customer experience.

Printing will remain a key element as we recognize that the customer experience is driven by preferences across all channels. We have the strategy and solutions to enable customers to leverage data from all sources, make effective decisions and optimize communications.

Do you have a great opti-channel experience to share? Please email me at [email protected]

Contribution to this article was provided by Mark M. Fallon, President and CEO, The Berkshire Company:

Fallon brandMark M. Fallon is President and CEO of The Berkshire Company, a consulting firm specializing in mail and document handling strategies. The company develops customized solutions integrating proven management concepts with emerging technologies to achieve total process management. It offers a vision of the document that integrates technology, data quality, process integrity and electronic delivery. Its success is based on the use of leadership to implement innovative solutions in the documentary process. You can contact Mark at [email protected]


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