Printed documents are the norm — it’s the way we’ve been doing it for as long as bills and financial statements have existed. The feeling of a piece of paper in your hands instills a sense of security and makes it real. You receive these documents on a regular basis – once a month or quarter or year. You expect a statement, an investment breakdown or a bill and use it to determine your next step – whether to pay or take some other action based on the type of transactional document.
This works for many people, but things are evolving at a rapid pace, and a much more technology-minded generation is pushing the limits of accessibility, striving for documents at their fingertips. Meanwhile, mobile devices are becoming a much more prevalent and powerful tool. In healthcare, clipboards and forms are being replaced by a tablet, and in everyday commerce cash registers are being replaced by phones. They’re proving to be much easier and more efficient in many scenarios. So what role do mobile documents and forms play in the transactional document world?
What are the advantages of having your transactional documents (bills, statements, etc.) in a mobile format? Do people really need an HTML version of their paper bill? What’s the point? It goes further than what I’ve heard a lot of in the last seven years –“e-delivery”— basically a PDF of the bill you receive in the mail. Other than having the ability to view that document on screen there are no additional benefits. There are many organizations out there that still use this method and because it saves them in printing costs, they don’t make it a priority to see how they can make a larger impact on the technology-minded generation. In other areas of business, companies are adopting new methods of engagement, and in some cases going completely paperless, so why not deliver them a document or communication that they can interact with?
The financial services industry has been slow to embrace the practical use of digital communications, although methods like e-delivery seem like improvements they have many of the same limitations as print, but they are moving in the right direction.
There are many challenges that come into play in the production and output of statements and bills, and doing it the right way is not always easy. Beyond security and government regulations, most composition tools are antiquated (by today’s technology standards) and converting from legacy systems can be an enormous feat.
Still, technology is changing and there are ways it can be successful. The customer communications management (CCM) industry is where a lot of the action is happening, with companies producing mass amounts of transactional data. Typically, large financial institutions look to the people they know – the printers who print their documents and deal with their data — but the technology with the printers cannot keep up with the innovations in data-driven composition software.
Tools like OpenText’s Exstream and GMC’s Inspire are embracing the fact that people are interested in both printed and mobile versions of their transactional documents. The composition software is incorporating electronic documents into their workflows making it easy to compose one document that adapts to the environment in which it is being viewed and enabling the user to interact with that document in the channel of their preference.
We all know the driving force behind this. It has been a priority for many companies over the last several years and still is today — improving the customer experience. Enabling a business to communicate with their customers when, where, and how their customers want it should be the goal of all companies and organizations.
After all, delivering a great customer experience will result in both keeping existing customers and attracting new ones. Everyone wins.