In a short two word answer – sensory modalities!

Now for the more in-depth response.  People prefer or are pre-disposed toward  one set of senses over the others.  So we shall now step over into the land of NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) to put some labels on the senses.

  • Visual – seeing
  • Auditory – hearing
  • Kinesthetic – touching
  • Olfactory – smelling
  • Gustatory – tasting

When we are talking about e-statements (or statements in general) we can ignore Gustatory and Olfactory sensories as these are least likely to have an impact on decisions that we can take as statement producers – until we include scratch and sniff or edible paper.

Tackling the final three modalities (Visual, Auditory and Kinesthetic) allows us to take different approaches to how we present data.  Before we start into those areas we need to understand a little about the people and the impact of their leaning to towards these senses.

Visual people will prefer to interact in person, like to see information presented in charts and diagrams and are likely to visualise ideas and have problems turning these into words.

Auditory people prefer to talk through their ideas and will avoid written words, learn by listening and asking questions and are more aware of subtle changes in the tone of voice of the person they are communicating with.

Kinesthetic people prefer to learn by doing, moving and touching, make decisions based on their feelings and are more interested in touching and physical rewards.

Now these are not absolutes.  People have a preference for one of the modalities – but in reality they are all used at different times.  I prefer to think of them in terms of rankings.

Kinesthetic peopel are likely to be very hard to win over to e-statements as they probably enjoy touching the statement and the whole process of opening and reading the information – something that e-statements can never provide unless they are printed out.

Auditory people will have no preference for physical statements or e-statements – they would much rather somebody called them and read the information to them – but if that isn’t available as a service then either format will do – they just need convincing!

Visual people will be happy with either format – but will lean towards the one that offers the best representation of the information so that they can quickly assimilate the information and not become bogged down in the information.

So how do we use this information to increase uptake of e-statements – clever design and simple ideas.  E-statements can include a much wider variety of information at very little cost.

To win the Visual people over the statements need to provide clear paths through the information (think icons and highlights that guide people to the key information.)  If the person receiving the statement needs to take an action then provide visual queues to guide them through the steps they need to take.

Auditory people are always going to be tricky to engage with in a statements project – but with clever selection of language and images this can be done.  Images showing people in activities that include sound (e.g. concerts, race tracks, listening to MP3/iPODS etc) Auditory people can imagine the accompanying sound.  Offers to discuss the statement on a special phone number will also be appreciated!

Kinesthetic people can be tackled in similar ways to Auditory people with specially selected images that engage emotions, mentioning the impact of the e-statements in terms of trees saved (real physical measurement)  will also help. The more real & practical the examples the more likely Kinesthetic people will warm to the idea.

So how can you use this information to increase uptake of e-statements?  Carefully – you need to know your clients and you may want to train your customer service staff to recognise language use as they interact with clients and then store this in a CRM for future use in marketing campaigns.  You can also target ‘hold-outs’ in your signup segment with specific language and conversion offers.  if all of that seems to much work – then use all three approaches spread across all of your customer interaction channels – eventually you will get a perfect match between sensory preference and conversion offer – but it just seems messy to me!

If you want to chat about this or any of the other information on the site – give me a call in the office or send me an email via the contact us page.