We’re already midway through the 21st century’s second decade, yet half of all consumers who subscribe to e-Statements also still receive paper copies, according to a recent Forrester Research study. Is it a felt need for belts and suspender? A security blanket, of sorts? No. Forrester found it’s because their financial institutions simply haven’t found a way to turn off the paper! Early on, many credit unions and community banks allowed customers to continue receiving paper statements to ease them out of their comfort zone. But they never took the next step of cutting out paper. And their print suppliers haven’t exactly been rushing to help them, either!
Strategy? What strategy?
The problem goes deeper than that. In addition to needlessly providing dual statements, many institutions don’t have a well-planned strategy for driving adoption. As a result, e-Statement initiatives often stagnate after the initial marketing push, and reams of paper statements continue to be mailed – wasteful, because cutting out paper can save more than $12/year for each account.
Some financial institutions simply offer e-Statements as an alternative to paper without promoting the many member benefits – like receiving statements quicker than snail mail, having easy, secure online access to their historical statement records on any device, anywhere and anytime, and knowing they being environmentally conscious. These institutions don’t seem to have looked at the strategic and budgetary value that e-Statements bring to their own shops, such as dramatically reducing paper and printing costs, and cutting a huge chunk of the postage budget. Not to mention the operational efficiencies gained when staff can access member statements at the click of a mouse, more easily fielding member statement inquiries.
Strategy + Action = Growth
Doxim’s own experience shows that clients who proactively work to develop and execute an e-Statement strategy average eDelivery rates of more than 50%, with top-ten percentile performers reaching rates in excess of 90%. Some credit unions prefer to take a gentle approach, such as encouraging voluntary e-Statement adoption while others want to be more definitive, with e-Statements offered as the default for new accounts and online-banking members. Still others practice tough love, charging a fee for paper.
The approach your credit union decides to follow will depend on many criteria, such as members’ comfort with technology, how environmentally friendly they want to be; even the availability of reliable internet coverage in communities served. Whichever path is chosen, it’s important to plan for success by giving members adequate advance notice, communicating e-Statements’ clear benefits and offering staff incentives to promote the service.
You can increase your e-Statement adoption by keeping these four key points in mind:
- Develop and implement an organized strategy to increase e-Statement adoption. Put the campaign front and center, so members and staff will realize its importance.
- Make it worth their while. Offer incentives for members who turn off their printed statements, and organize an internal contest among staff. Achieving just a 15-20% opt-in level for monthly statements will pay for the program. After that, the savings really add up – savings that can be used for new initiatives.
- Know your audience. Design promotional messages tailored to the segments of your membership that will produce the best results. Consider inviting members who haven’t embraced technology to a lunch-and-learn webinar on basic internet usage and how to access their e-Statements. But be aware it isn’t effective to send message after message urging e-Statement adoption to those who simply aren’t interested. Instead, focus on groups of members who are most likely to be open to moving to e-Statements only, like your online banking customers.
- Talk about the trees. Environmental benefits attract attention, because most consumers want to participate in a meaningful cause – especially Millennials. Let members know that eliminating as few as 10,000 paper statements a year, cuts greenhouse gases equal to driving more than 70,000 miles in a car. That’s in addition to the 4,000 pounds of paper saved and gasoline savings of over 1,300 gallons.
Finally, don’t forget to download our eBook, The Definitive Guide to e-Statement Adoption Strategies, where you can discover how a dynamic campaign to decrease paper statements or stop them altogether can help your credit union cut costs, protect the environment and improve your overall member experience.
Sean O’Donovan, Chief Marketing Officer