Contibuted by Rohan Vaidya, General Manager, A P South, InfoPrint Solutions Company

Rohan Vaidya

Companies are constantly giving themselves makeovers, reinventing themselves in some way. It may be changing a logo, re-branding a website, hiring a new spokesperson, or a new design for a catalogue and billing statement. Trends and consumers are constantly evolving and companies must keep up to evolve with their customers. Some elements of each brand may be timeless, but there are always variable factors which must transform and adapt to the consumer. Is this a sign of weakness within the company?

Certainly not, even the most successful companies have done so. Take for example one of the most successful fast-food restaurants, McDonald’s, which spent more than one billion dollars to revamp themselves to a more upscale image. The company is investing in a shift from a stop-and-go-eating establishment to a more comfortable atmosphere where customers may want to stay longer to use Wi-Fi or socialize with friends.

The strategy is to create a different and more memorable experience than McDonald’s competitors, like Burger King and Wendy’s. What these adjustments indicate is that McDonald’s is committed to changing customer perception.

Another way companies can transform their brand recognition is by changing the way they communicate with customers. Customer specific messaging has been proven to work albeit infrequently executed.

A revamp of monthly customer statements will better meet customer needs. By refreshing the look and the feel by adding colour, graphs and visual elements to show customer usage patterns, and icons for each service (water, electric, gas for example) – makes the bill easy to follow and understand.

The main objectives are: to improve clarity of the information; in turn reducing call inquiries by 20 percent; influence customer behaviour to reduce energy consumption and emissions; and lower the cost of statement operations through process automation. The overall goal was to influence customer behaviour to keep costs low, while better serving the customer’s communication needs.

Although it may not be as global an exterior makeover as McDonald’s, a bill redesign can be just as successful in term of return on investment. The way organizations communicate to customers is a key factor in how they are being perceived and may be the most personal experience some customers have with the company. Bottom line is, companies do not need to splurge on the way they look if they can’t even get the basics right! Just communicate with them effectively.