Although 42% of British consumers were encouraged to go paperless last year and almost half were offered incentives to do so, only around 24% did so, with only half of respondents satisfied they were not on paper.

That’s according to a study by Royal Mail Marketreach, the organization’s largest research program in five years, aimed at understanding how companies can make the most of their email.

The data show that companies would be wise to comply with customer preferences, as 88% of people read all or most of their customer mail, compared to 76% for emails, 58% for text messages and 44% for application notifications.

Marketreach commissioned Trinity McQueen to conduct a six-part research program of more than 6,000 users and partnered with Accenture to leverage its extensive experience and insights into all aspects of the business. Unlike Advertising Mail, where the focus is on “sales”, the main purpose of customer mail is to share information, offer support and develop relationships between the organization and the specified recipient.

Going deeper into the survey, it found that people were twice as likely to say they understood complex information when presented to them in physical mail compared to digital formats, and 57% of respondents said they were less likely to miss something if it comes to them in physical format.

The study found that all age groups deal with mail, including Gen Z and millennials, who value the personal attitude that Customer Mail means. They commit to it more than email: 85% of them open it; 65% keep it for future reference; 49% apply it later; and 40% show it to others in the household.

This does not mean that digital communication does not play a role in customer relationships, according to Royal Mail Marketreach. In fact, the combination of physical and digital mail is usually the best approach to customer relationships, he said.

She said her research, especially quality customer seminars, provided key information on how brands can best optimize their customer mail to deliver both a positive customer experience and help build brand capital. He identified key moments when physical mail is particularly effective, when: communication needs to be read carefully; the recipient must act on the basis of the information received; the information is important or complex; should be kept for reference or where security or privacy concerns are possible.

The strong sense of value associated with customer mail suggests a vital role for mail as part of a broader approach to customer engagement. Its tangibility, its reliability, the way customers evaluate and interact with mail, make it a channel that offers unique benefits to CX. As the study shows, customer preferences are not for a purely digital experience, so a great customer experience needs to take this into account, and business leaders and decision makers need to consider their transformation plans in general, beyond just digital channels.

Phil Ricketts, Sales Director at Royal Mail Marketreach, said: “Our study confirms the importance of customer mail in customer relationships and demonstrates how it can benefit businesses looking to strengthen their CX strategy. This is an incredibly powerful point of contact between the brand, which is invested with great confidence by consumers, but there is a huge opportunity to further use its impact as part of the customer experience. When done well, customer mail can add both personal value to customers and commercial value to organizations. “

Interested in hearing how leading global brands discuss topics like this in person? Learn more about World Digital Marketing Forum (#DMWF) Europe, London, North America and Singapore.

Tags: communication, email marketing

83% of consumers want to choose whether to receive comms by mail or email

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