Over the last several weeks, I posed the question in several of my LinkedIn groups about "What makes a bill or statement amazing?" This has been a very popular discussion, and you all might benefit from the groups responses. (I cleaned up some of the grammar here and there, but these are some of the highlights of the group discussions)

"It should make for a good user experience. The “Transactional” part is not very sexy for most of people, so bills and statements should be joined with other content valuable for the customer. If the document content provokes any interaction/reaction it means that it's amazing, it builds relationships." 

-Marek

David felt that, in a nutshell, accurate and simple information was key to a great statement. He felt that marketing messaging and full-color imaging was not important:

“It can depend on what information the statement has; however, the main point of a statement should be the total [amount owed], and that should be the mid point of the first page of any statement sent to the customer, in a large font with clear whitespace around it.  
...
Think as a customer yourself when looking at anything you've created, is anything superfluous, misleading? Think of the industry you are reporting in, are lots of full color images of people shaking hands really necessary to tell that you have to pay 10% more on your gas bill than you did last year?”

-David

Stewart took David’s approach to an all new level of marketing pessimism, with his thoughts on how the customer views marketing transpromotional efforts on a statement:

"It should give the customer the correct financial information, succinctly and clearly, ideally on the minimum number of A4 sheets. Everything else is marketing bollocks, which the customer will ignore, while looking at the numbers - which are what matters. Oh yes, and all that other dross also increases the cost base, especially if some marketing droid thinks that invoices should be printed in full color. 

-Stewart

Tell us what you really think, Stewart…

Max had an answer to Stewart’s and David’s thoughts about marketing messaging, and I think summed up well why marketing has a place in the statement world:

“Stewart, it may be that this is your personal opinion and preference, but the market (and that means customers) says different. Numbers do not tell a story, maybe one number does, but images and charts tell a much better one. Agreed, many businesses go overboard with the emotional image marketing but a well-designed statement is also optically pleasing, while using the technology of color and graphics to that benefit. There is a substantial opportunity for cross- and up-selling, and it is a waste to not do it. Plus, more and more statements won't be just paper, but will be come multi-channel vehicles and will have to look and work differently for each channel while preserving company identity. 

Especially if it is actually printed, I would not agree with David’s 'plenty of white-space’ suggestion. Try to put the essentials on one page and a simple graph - showing a number series, which is much better than a table. There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution, and while simple is good, there is no benefit in oversimplification and putting out the cheapest [junk] you can produce. 

And yes, all of these things [shown in the video blog] I do like to see on my statements ... and I like to receive them electronically, via web or e-delivery with the option of printing it.”

-Max

Amen, Max, and thanks to all that helped shape this intelligent dialogue around what makes a statement amazing. What do you think? Leave your comments below

Matt Haskell is SourceLink's Corporate Marketing Manager, largely responsible for the company's video, social media and website presence. Matt enjoys sports and listening to music from his (quite) large vinyl record collection. You can reach Matt via email at mhaskell@sourcelink.com