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Get your customers to say 'Yes' to digital documents

Paperless adoption strategies

As consumers, we’re slow to commit to decisions about things that we don’t perceive to be urgent. Moreover, studies have shown that even having to do no more than tick a box can impact on the number of people who will decide to act. Your customers are no different in saying yes to digital documents.

Take a few moments to watch this great presentation by Dan Ariely given at TED a few years ago. It illustrates the power that copy or form design has on a person’s decision making around organ donation. A few simple words change, but the process of having to tick the box doesn’t change. This results in countries that have an opt-out for organ donation rather than an opt-in achieving significantly higher organ donation rates (above 80%) compared to those that have an opt-in (less than 20%).

Opt in image digital documents

What can we do to help customers make the decision to turn off paper?

Understanding that our customers are slow to make a decision and will often just ignore the request altogether – especially if they need to actually spend time following a link and updating details – we need to rethink the methodology, the execution and even the copy we use to try and convince them to move from paper-based to email billing.

Try these six tips for better results:

1. Keep it simple

Make it easy for customers to sign up. One click should be all it takes. Long registration forms are a surefire way to keep customers holding onto paper. An important point to note is that ‘keeping it simple’ goes beyond the registration process. I should be able to open my email to get my bill rather than having to go online. I don’t have to go to the post office to collect my bill therefore I shouldn’t have to do any work digitally either.

2. Ask customers to make a choice, not a decision

We launch campaigns to get customers to opt-in to digital services, asking them if they’d like to switch from paper to email / online. At this point, this is a decision many customers just don’t make. Instead, they save the email for later and forget to come back to it. Try asking customers to choose – Yes, I want to save paper, or No, I’d like to keep my paper. The wording and the choice provided result in customers choosing an option rather than just not making the decision at all.

3. Provide reviews

The impact reviews have on customer buying behavior is staggering; 87 % of consumers indicate that a favorable review has confirmed their decision to purchase. The power of reviews can also help customers to make a decision to switch paper off. Ask customers who receive documents such as bills via email to review the service and include those reviews when asking customers to convert.

4. Speak to different customers differently

We all understand that we need to make our email copy relevant to a target group, but very often this methodology isn’t applied to conversion tactics – including communications aimed at moving people from paper to digital. Speak to each customer group in a manner that is relevant to them and you will see an increase in conversion.

5. Test the impact of button shapes and colors

The color and shape of a button influence the click-through rate and action a customer takes. For example using a green button for ‘Yes, I will switch paper off’ and a red button for ‘No, I want to stay on paper’ could have an impact on the decision the customer takes. In this scenario, the red is seen as negative. Test what works for you.

6. Copy makes a difference

Stop using words like click here or follow this link. Make your call to actions more descriptive if you want customers to start taking action. The copy has a massive impact on how we act and react, so make sure that the copy you use is optimized to get the customer to take the action you want. ‘Yes I want email, Give me more information, I am not sure at this time, are all phrases that are descriptive and allow a customer to relate to a phrase, ultimately getting them to click. Click here doesn’t get anyone to relate to the action and so results in fewer clicks.

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Mia Papanicolaou

Mia Papanicolaou

Vice President, General Manager at Aspire CCS

Mia heads up Aspire CCS in the US, working with companies to provide strategy and advice and is a regular speaker on digital customer communication, digital maturity and improving the customer experience.

Mia has been named as an email marketing influencer multiple times and is passionate about helping organizations improve their digital communication maturity.

Prior to joining Aspire CCS, she worked at Striata for 15 years in South Africa, the UK and then settled in the US as the COO of the company, after which she headed up consulting at Doxim Striata.

Read more of Mia's blog posts here or connect with her on the following social channels: