I opened my voluminous monthly paper statement from Farmers Insurance recently and found several inserts in the envelope. Ironically, one outlined numerous ways to reduce “your carbon footprint on the environment and save money.” These options included online statements, online billing, policy discounts for ‘eco-friendly’ homes, and discounts for fuel-efficient vehicles.
In this tough economic climate, retaining customers is critically important, and this requires delivering a consistent, quality customer experience. How is this linked to saving the environment and saving money, you ask?
Many companies are improving their bottom line by implementing cost-saving measures that are also environmentally sensitive. The good ones do it without any degradation of the customer experience. The very best do it while also enabling customers to personalize and improve their experiences. This often involves leveraging technology to accommodate the ways customers prefer to do business with them.
In the case of Farmers, they have provided me options to personalize (improve) my experience by opting for electronic delivery of all future communications, which I did. I prefer e-mail to paper mail, I save a few bucks a year on stamps, save a few trees, and help keep my policy costs down. In exchange, it saves Farmers millions a year and increases my ‘stickiness’ as a customer. It’s a very simple example of a virtuous cycle, a win-win. Examples are everywhere today. Have you seen IBM’s mega-million dollar advertising campaign touting the energy efficiency of their new enterprise systems? It's interesting to see how they've linked performance, ROI, and environmental sensitivity so effectively.
Each year, a greater percentage of Sage customers across our product lines opt for electronic delivery of their software and tell us they prefer electronic documentation. The technology has improved to where these methods are highly efficient and can help satisfy an immediate business need. Each customer has unique preferences and business requirements, however, so we believe in offering choices.
Have you embraced ‘going green’ as a means to reduce costs AND improve your customers’ experience? How has technology played a role? Whether you view the environmentally-sensitive angle as a trendy marketing gimmick or as a noble-minded civic responsibility, isn’t the outcome the same?