Over the last several years, business mail has seen a decline. This is partly because of the economy, and partly because email has made significant inroads. While email has its advantages (messages are delivered quickly and the cost-per-contact can be low), evidence suggests email alone may no longer be the best business mail solution.
The impact of a personal touch
In the electronic world, business has lost some of its personal touch. Using traditional business mail may make a company appear more trustworthy than one that sends only email. Traditional mail can also elicit an “emotional connection” from customers — and this connection should not be discounted. It is well known that people do more business with people they know, like and trust.
A 2003 Gallup study about customer satisfaction suggests that no matter how high a company’s customer satisfaction levels may appear to be, “satisfying customers without creating an emotional connection with them has no real value.” But when Gallup looked at customers who credited emotional connection as part of their deep satisfaction and loyalty to a store, they found that those customers visited that business more often and spent more.
Traditional business mail can go a long way in helping to create an emotional connection because a paper note, card, postcard or letter is more personal than an email. Unlike email, traditional mail allows a true dialogue to be developed. Taking the time to produce a creative, well-written letter demonstrates an investment in establishing a meaningful relationship.
Lowering costs and improving effectiveness
Traditional business mail may have additional benefits too. A recent study conducted by an energy company in Denmark found that switching from digital invoicing to physical mail invoicing actually sped up remittance and payment from customers. The study revealed that 59% of customers receiving an electronic invoice needed a reminder, while only 29% of customers receiving their statement via postal mail required a second message.
The rebirth of traditional business mail
With so much going for traditional business mail —its newfound novelty, its ability to create an emotional connection with customers— it is sure to remain a critical tool in any business communication strategy.