Are You Getting the Most Out of Your Transactional Documents?

December 11, 2018 Categories: Billing, Branding, Customer Engagement, Industry News, Marketing, Reference Guide Tags: , , , , , , ,

Customer Document Design

Document Design Tips for Transactional Documents

Transactional customer documents are an integral part of any business; they give your company valuable access to speak directly to your customers regularly. We have nearly 40 years of experience with document layouts and design. Whether you handle your monthly transactional statements in-house or work with an outsourcer like FSSI, understanding the anatomy and true value of a customer document can help you maximize each document’s impact on your customer communication.

To help, we’ve put together a simple, but effective document design checklist that will almost immediately help you identify how to improve the impact and usability of statements, bills, invoices, and other marketing communication efforts. Even everyday letters and notices can benefit from these time-proven customer document layout and design insights.

For best results, we recommend approaching document design from the customers’ perspective. Be honest and objective. Put yourself in their shoes and view each page as if for the very first time. If you believe customers would respond positively to the current content and layout, you’re probably on the right track.

The Keys to a Perfectly Designed Customer Document

Take a look at these six aspects of a perfect document to help both enrich the customer experience and increase document marketing value:

  • Intended Purpose: Is the document meant to summarize information, encourage remittance, or fulfill a compliance requirement? How well is it doing so? Could a simple message, graphic, or color highlighting important information enhance the intended purpose and increase the value of the document to your business?
  • Age: When was the document last reviewed or improved? By today’s standards, does it seem old or dated? Does it feature the latest logo and/or corporate branding scheme?
  • Layout: Does the information seem cramped or cluttered?  Does it flow logically and seamlessly from one section to the next? Is everything easy to find and understand?
  • Content: Does the document contain all the information customers would reasonably expect? Can anything be taken out or added to improve their reading experience?
  • Color: Are you selectively using color to emphasize or draw attention to vital information, such as transaction dates, account balance, payment due date, and amount? Are you using color ink (vs. black) to enliven on-page graphics or imagery? Doing so can bring them to life and increase reader engagement.
  • Voice: (if using on-page messaging): Though an economical and effective method of educating, cross-selling and upselling, not all companies use on-page messaging (aka text or copy). However, if you do, make sure the voice is clear, friendly, accurate and informative.

The value of a well-designed statement, bill, invoice or marketing letter is quite real and not just marketing hype. Compliant production, digital color, and customer understanding can all increase the business value of your documents. Transform customer-facing financial statements, documents, and marketing mail beyond merely fulfilling their original intended purpose. Below are five document layout design tips that make your customer documents better.

Document Design Best Practices

  1. Utilize white space: Include all the important information, but don’t overwhelm customers with too much text. White space helps customers better retain information.
  2. Don’t waste space: Every single inch of a customer document is valuable; don’t waste any space by repeating messages.
  3. Keep it simple: Simplify your messaging, remove duplicate fields, redundant text, and focus on your company’s target message. Keeping things simple leaves space to add marketing messages, coupons, announcements, and other calls to action.
  4. Maintain consistency: By keeping these elements consistent across all communication channels in the new omnichannel world we now live in, gives your customers a seamless experience across all platforms, making it easy for them to quickly find the information they are looking for.
  5. Use a readable font: This seems simple enough, but many make the wrong choice.

The Advantages of Well-Designed Customer Documents

  • They get read
  • They are understood
  • The help the reader process the information presented
  • They prompt action on important messages

Sending out monthly mailings to your customers can be costly. Well-designed documents result in the most effective communication and maximize the value of each document that goes out to each customer.

Importance of Clear Communication in Customer Documents

The old saying goes that you only get one chance to make a first impression. That is never truer than when it comes to marketing to customers. Not utilizing the latest best practices in document design can be costing your company valuable business. Document design is a lot like your wardrobe. You wouldn’t want your wardrobe screaming old-fashioned and out of date, and stuck in the 80s, so why should your customer documents and communication strategies be any different. A customer document is a very valuable part of the customer communication process. Even a few small, seemingly simple changes to the design and layout can drastically improve your response rates and overall customer engagement.

Elements of a clear communications strategy:

  • Plain language
  • Psychology
  • Graphic design
  • Usability
  • Context considerations, like personalization

Looks Do Matter: Free Consultation, Before-and-After Samples

Looks do matter, especially to the younger generations of Generation Z and Millennials. Are all of your customer documents only printed in black and white? This may seem like an unimportant detail to some companies, but a customer’s eyes are drawn to color. We are all surrounded by a vast amount of information every day of our lives. The importance of standing out in this new mountain of information has never more important than it is right now. Without something to set your information apart like color, you may find that people easily skip right past the key points of the document.

For an objective second opinion about any of your current documents including layout, color use, whitespace management, or copywriting/content – contact an FSSI Marketing Services Specialist today. We have a seasoned staff of designers, writers, programmers, and color experts in-house. They're ready to help you improve your overall customer experience. You may also request samples from our before-and-after archive. Click to see a list of industries served, including credit unionsauto finance, banks, and other financial institutions.

Next Steps

For example, FSSI’s Color Specialists add variable color to black-and-white statements to highlight the most important messages. By adding color, the important information “pops,” and stands out, to the reader. “Billing Due Dates” are a great example of where to add variable color to a customer statement. The reader’s eyes can immediately find the information they are looking for. Consequently, when customers don't have to scan the entire document for important info, they take action faster.

Creating a balance in your statement design is essential to your overall customer communications strategy. Make sure you are getting the most out of your documents. We can show the steps today to take your document design to the next level. Contact us today 714.436.3300. For more information about document design best practices check out our Document Value Checklist post to see new ways to increase the value of each of your customer documents.