I recently attended an American Marketing Association meeting. The speaker, Jeff Hayzlett, author and host of C-Suite, spoke about why companies fail and succeed. His headline was "Adapt, Change or Die," and I was thinking about how this might relate to eBilling and eDelivery. If you get the opportunity to hear him speak, I would highly recommend it. His book Running the Gauntlet is an easy and informative read.
Of course, companies win and lose by the products and services they offer, but operational excellence can make the difference between good and great. Maybe your corporate strategy for eDelivery has it right, and there is no need to change or adapt, but if you are working at one of those companies, you are in the minority. Paperless adoption growth has plateaued despite the majority of customers wanting a viable electronic delivery option, one which is less work for them. Certainly, we don’t want change for change's sake but for positive outcomes.
Transparency of eDelivery and eBilling adoption and feedback of the customer experience are critical to determining your next moves.
Most of you reading DOCUMENT Media (and this blog) are interested in learning new ideas, which can improve your company and beat the competition, so let’s analyze Mr. Hayzlett’s five points about why people and companies fail to drive changes needed to win and how they relate to eDelivery and eBilling.
Fear of change, fear of failure. Most corporate electronic communications strategies focus on, “Let’s build a customer-friendly portal and let people pay their bills there.” You know the drill: Build the portal, and they will come. Well, in reality, the portal is only the first electronic step in a true multi-channel communications strategy. Don’t let fear get in the way of questioning the current approach. How does your portal work with your mobile strategy? How do you reach those customers willing to give up paper but not at their own expense?
One of the obstacles I hear all the time is the fear of having to go in front of the security and compliance groups for their blessing. With the high-profile security breaches at some of the most respected companies in the world, who wouldn’t be concerned? A good security and compliance person will take an objective look at solutions like PUSH eDelivery and find that it is actually more secure than a portal. A portal, once hacked, is open to millions of records, while PUSH is only exposing one document at a time, just like regular First-Class Mail. Make sure your security and compliance team really peels the onion and understands the process flow around each delivery channel option.
When there is not enough tension in an organization, complacency follows. Even though the business can support the costs of physical mail, someone should be shaking the trees and asking why we can’t do better and grow paperless adoption. If you’re ok with bearing unnecessary expenses to handle paper statements and payments, well, I guess there is no tension in your company. Even if you are in charge of a staff responsible for printing and mailing, it is your responsibility as part of management to create positive tension and bring new ideas to the table.
3. Radical transparency
I remember working for a company that did not want to report the entry of a new competitor. The division manager thought it was better to leave it out of the strategic plan because he did not want to have to explain or defend his actions to the chairman. And what happened? They lost market share as the competition slowly eroded their best customers. Management must decide if eDelivery and eBilling is a priority and if the desired results are being achieved. Transparency of eDelivery and eBilling adoption and feedback of the customer experience are critical to determining your next moves.
As fear of change takes over, it leads to risk-averse behavior. Most of us are comfortable with the status quo, but comfort leads to mediocrity, and mediocrity leads to lost business. It is ok to spread your eDelivery and eBilling “wings” without risking the core? If you have a solid portal where customers can view their documents and payment history, it may be time to segment your remaining (those still getting paper statements, etc.) customer base by delivery preference and start to offer some more options: web payments, interactive voice response (IVR), PUSH ebilling, mobile payments, point of sale (POS), etc.
Ok, so you are ready to fight the fear, create some tension with new ideas and lead the charge. Whatever you do, protect your corporate brand. Mold your customer communication options around the corporate promises. Because delivering the product and services promises is what a successful business is all about.
Richard Rosen is the chief executive officer of The RH Rosen Group, a firm that provides solutions to help businesses improve processes and customer communications with the intent to create real, recurring benefits in: cost reduction, electronic payment, shipment tracking and printing/mailing. Contact him at RichR@RHRosenGroup.com or visit www.rhrosengroup.com.