Paper vs e-statements: understanding customer behaviour

Paper vs e-statements: understanding customer behaviour

A major UK bank faced a cost cutting challenge across its business banking customers. A large element of costs came from paper communications, and in particular, paper statements.

Despite many customers banking online, a large proportion of these customers still received paper statements. The three questions we were asked to solve were:

  1. how can we encourage our online-banking customers to adopt e-statements?;

  2. if online-banking customers are moved to e-statements, how can we ensure that we still retain them?; and

  3. how can we reduce the frequency with which customers request statements?

Paper statements, from a psychological perspective

We conducted qualitative, psychoanalytical depth interviews with business banking customers who receive weekly statements and business customers who receive monthly statements

Rather than solicit opinions and post-rationalised justifications for their current choice of paper statements, respondents’ behaviour was retraced and analysed from a psychological perspective. 

Using the insights from the interviews we conducted a number of workshops to determine the best solutions to test.

Changing habits is key

Paper statements are linked to deeply ingrained business management habits. This is linked to the familiarity and the association with good financial management.

Customers use statements very physically, marking and ticking items off, passing it around to colleagues. Other customers immediately file the statement away without giving it any attention.

Customers saw paper statements as a more official record, often they felt the need to keep them as they thought the tax authority will require it.

The client was able to test the proposed solutions to  improve the number of business customers switching to e-statements. This helped the client to reduce their costs.