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I DO NOT want another mailbox

Another mailbox

It seems like every time I get another / new financial services provider, I get another mailbox.

Let’s be clear, consumers do not want additional mailboxes. It is complicated enough, keeping multiple email accounts in sync between work, home and mobile devices, especially as most of us have at least two accounts. (Some of us three or even six…..)

On top of these, we now have banks, credit card providers, eBill consolidators and telecommunications providers, all insisting that the only way they will communicate with us electronically is within their portal. I don’t know about you, but after receiving a cryptic message that some unidentifiable communication type is waiting for me, I have to navigate to a portal, remember a username & password and then find the well hidden message center to read the actual message. (5 clicks??)

Then to make matters worse, it is usually some inane, useless message that I wouldn’t have read in the first place. After my bank cried wolf the first 15 times, I simply started ignoring these messages completely and also turned the paper back on. It takes me 2 seconds to throw out useless bank paper mail.

After email, the only way to get my attention is to call me or send me a paper letter. If banks cannot reach a point where they can deliver email communication and eDocuments in a secure way that does not require me to jump through hoops to get them, then paper it is going to have to be.

This is the primary reason why paper suppression initiatives are failing here in the United States. Consumers wish to be communicated with in a manner that is convenient to them and until it is in the inbox, it is simply not.

Statements & bills: If you cannot find a way to send them to me electronically, then although I may pay them electronically (because that is more convenient for me), I will not turn off the paper bill.

Other communication / letters: If you cannot communicate with me in the channel of my choice – email, then sadly you are only left with paper / phone.

Bottom line: in order to change consumer behavior, you have to provide alternative solutions that are at the very least as convenient as the current one, but preferably more.

(PS – Nobody cares how ‘green’ paperless is if it’s less convenient than the paper option. This is clearly shown by the fact that after 7 years of trying, 97% of all consumers are still getting all the paper they did before. In fact, now they are also getting all the paper communication about their online initiatives too.)

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