At a recent gathering in our newly renovated and expanded Florida headquarters, a group of our clients including executives from Wyndham, TeamHealth, Speedpay, First American Title, HRRG, Zealandia, and Equiant discussed how they are innovating communications and payments to meet rising customer expectations and achieve digital transformation. Two themes quickly emerged:
First, although they are in different industries, from financial services to healthcare to vacation ownership, our clients face similar opportunities and challenges and share comparable priorities when it comes to improving customer experience (CX) through customer communications and payments.
Second, the two top corporate strategies, digital transformation and superior customer experience, are sometimes in conflict with each other.
While companies are rushing to realize the promise of digital technology, consumers are taking a more nuanced approach to digital experiences. Nowhere is that clearer than in communications and payments.
Even though Americans spend an average of 5 hours a day on their mobile devices, only a minority have opted for all-digital communications and payments. Traditional methods including mail and phone calls remain popular.
A processor of homeowner association fees and mortgage payments for the timeshare industry reported that 65% of its customers still send monthly checks to bank lockboxes. That’s a manual process where the bank processes the incoming mail and deposits the received funds in the financial servicing company’s account.
You might think this preference for mailing checks is because timeshare owners skew older. But you can’t make assumptions based on age. A healthcare revenue cycle management firm shared that it receives more calls with questions about their medical bills from digital-native millennials than from boomers.
It’s clear from these examples and the statistics, that companies still need an omnichannel communication strategy. A digital only mode of customer interaction is still far into the future for most companies. Migrating more consumers to digital requires incentives, a relatively friction free experience, and education. We still have work to do to make digital more appealing than the traditional options.
Updating the old while adding new
Technology is key to improving CX, and companies understand that focusing on their core competencies rather than building and supporting CX technologies is the right strategy. Our clients are leveraging technology from a variety of partners, including Nordis’ Expresso customer communications management (CCM) application, ExpressoPay electronic bill presentment and payments (EBPP) solution, and the most advanced high-speed color inkjet printers, to cater to customer preferences and deliver engaging customer experiences across a an increasingly complex multitude of channels and touchpoints and compliance landscape. Outsourcing allows companies to innovate while also realizing operating efficiencies.
Across the client journey, our clients are working to make customer engagement easier, faster and more meaningful. Here are some examples:
- Adding value. Two clients, one in vacation ownership and the other in healthcare revenue cycle management, discussed using mobile apps to build relationships beyond accessing bills and making payments. The apps provide other convenient and easy-to-use capabilities, such as giving vacationers the option to check into a resort without having to stand in line or giving healthcare customers wellness tips.
- Customizing interactions. For one group of Canadian timeshare owners, a financial services company developed more affordable etransfer payments, which the company receives from the owners’ bank through a secure email. About 10% of owners choose this customized approach, which has helped the HOA reduce merchant cost and ACH payments.
As communications and payments options proliferate, companies find that managing these preferences is increasingly complex: “We keep adding channels and don’t take any away,” noted a Nordis business partner.
That’s not likely to change any time soon, either: Customers don’t all want the same thing, and some want everything. Staying relevant and competitive means responding to those expectations, so our clients continue to focus on improving CX by prioritizing both digital transformation and omnichannel support. Even in today’s digital-forward society, flexibility is the name of the game in consumer communications and payments.
About the Author
Ronnie is a passionate entrepreneur and leader of Nordis Technologies. His focus on clients and ability to identify and deliver opportunities for dramatically improving customer communications and payments management has been instrumental in driving the company’s rapid growth. In addition to setting Nordis’ strategic direction, Ronnie is closely involved in day-to-day operations and business development.
President / CEO