Keep Me Posted

June 2016


Do you receive your bills and statements through the post or online? Were you even asked your preference by your service provider? Had you even thought about it before you read this?

Increasingly, banks, utility companies, media companies and other service providers are restricting access to paper bills and statements and are sending their documents in a digital format. 81% of adults asked want to choose how they receive important information and considering that the customer should be at the heart of how a business operates, companies are failing them.

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The rise of digital services has led to greater access, control and freedom for consumers. Service providers have rushed to embrace digital communication, citing customer convenience and ease. However, concern is growing that many companies are encouraging or incentivising their customers to receive their information in an online-only format, rather than offer the choice of method. This development restricts customer choice and risks causing consumer harm.”

Keep me Posted is a partnership of representatives who believe the consumer has the right to choose how they receive information. The campaign believes that consumer should be able to choose how they receive communications without being penalized for wanting a paper version.

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Whistl is part of this partnership along with other businesses, charities and interest groups and all members share 3 goals:

  1. To ensure all consumers are given the choice in how they receive their bills and statements by major organisations
  2. To ensure that customers do not face a financial penalty as a result of choosing to receive paper bills or statements
  3. To ensure that Government, regulators and companies recognise the need for consumer choice and act to promote choice in this area

The ‘Keep me Posted’ initiative asks:

  1. Service providers to give customers a choice of regular paper bills and statements, without unfair charges and penalties.
  2. Government and regulators to act to promote the need for consumer choice through clearer regulation

 

The companies this campaign is aimed at have customers ranging from different ages, geographical regions and online experience and all of these factors affect an individual’s preference:

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Ultimately, companies and service providers have a duty of social responsibility to their customers. Various research conducted by ‘Keep Me Posted’ has indicated that print and paper play an important. For example, consumers are more likely to miss payments without access to paper statements, with 4 out of 5 people admitting that they are more likely to read “statements that are available both online and post”.

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Joint organisation ‘Two Sides’ and ‘Print Power’ have a mission to protect and promote print media and explain environmental misconceptions. They aim to provide the public with information on why print and its use of paper is an attractive, practical and sustainable communications medium.

So, what are the benefits of print media?

  • Print is powerful – you can feel the paper. Having it in your hands means that the content is real and it’s capable of triggering a number of senses.
  • Print can be accessed easily – there’s no need to remember a login, access your message and then remember the call to action. 
  • Readers of print aren’t as easily distracted and have their full attention on the content.
  • Direct mail has a more powerful effect on long term memory than other media
  • Direct mail enters an individual’s home and is consumed on a one-to-one basis, giving a message much more time with a customer – whether to raise awareness, persuade, convince and engage them in a relaxed environment at a time of their choosing

The most common myth Two Sides aim to inform against is that print and paper are bad for the environment. Many companies claim “Go Green – Go Paperless” or “Do your bit for the environment…” and they believe that these myths are “unsubstantiated, misleading and can have a lasting effect on consumer perceptions of print and paper”. An environmental claim which is incorrect is known as ‘Greenwash’

 

Did you know these facts about paper's sustainability?

  • Between 2005 and 2015, European forests grew by an area the size of Switzerland - that's 1,500 football pitches every day!
  • Europe recycles 72% of its paper
  • 84% of the industry’s raw materials come from Europe
  • Between 2005 and 2013, the CO2 emissions of the European pulp and paper industry were reduced by 22% 
  • 56% of the industry’s total primary annual energy consumption is biomass-based

 

Good News! Last month, the campaign has had a major win with the Royal Bank of Scotland, NatWest and Ulster Bank becoming the first high street banks to be awarded a Keep Me Posted Best Practice ‘Mark of Distinction’.

This means that c.16 million personal banking customers across the UK will see their right to receive paper bills and statements, without charge or penalty, protected. Royal Bank of Scotland, NatWest and Ulster Bank join 7 other utility companies and building societies who have also been awarded the ‘Best Practice’ Marks of Distinction.

The award is a big step forward and shows that larger service providers are now realising the value and opportunities of retaining mail as a customer communications channel. We anticipate that four more service providers will be awarded a “Mark of Distinction” in the coming weeks.

 

Whistl’s Green Services

At Whistl we care about the environment as much as you do and we can help make your mailing ‘greener’ and save you money.

If you’re looking to send out a direct mail campaign you can try our adMail service to save on your direct mail costs.  We can also help you to achieve further savings as well as lowering your carbon footprint and supporting the environment by combining your admail postings with our GreenPost service.

 

For more information and to ensure you meet the product specification, please visit greenPost and adMail.

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