By Lorna Kujawa, Assistant Director Retail Experience
Today (6 November 2018) is World Paper Free Day, so as one of the key staff working to reduce our use of paper for customer communications, I wanted to take you on our journey to how we’re cutting down the amount of paper we send.
Saving trees, time and taxpayer pounds
We recognise that our customers value some types of paper correspondence, but many aren’t. It’s for that reason that paper reduction is a major focus for my teams.
It’s a way to improve customer experience and give better value to the taxpayer, while improving our sustainability and helping the environment.
Making it easy for customers
We are taking a customer-centric approach to paper reduction, listening to customer needs through our comprehensive Voice of the Customer programme, investing in digital solutions for our customers, or simply carrying out process reengineering.
We’ve focused on the areas in processes that push paper to customers, prioritising those that result in customer pain.
One example is an improvement to the forgotten password and account number process, meaning customers can now retrieve this online, rather than receiving by post – a real bugbear that our customers consistently tell us about on social media.
Most recently, we’ve introduced the facility for customers to send copies of their identity documents via image upload.
We are also making it easier for our customers to choose to manage their accounts without paper. Currently 94% of new online customers aged 16 or over select ‘paperless’ account management, but some then struck on some documentation issues.
Customers told us that a key requirement was to have access to a document online as evidence of Premium Bond holdings. We redesigned the document putting it into a PDF form, making sure it could be used with mortgage lenders and for tax purposes. We have also condensed the list customers receive by post.
These changes alone have resulted in 5.5 million fewer sheets of paper over 18 months.
When people think of NS&I they invariably think ‘Premium Bonds’ and recall memories or tales of a prize cheque landing on the doormat.
In 2018 the prize winning experience looks somewhat different.
That would be an eye watering number of envelopes. In reality, the majority of prizes are reinvested, or paid straight to bank accounts – both quicker and more convenient for customers.
In October, nearly two million of just over three million prizes were paid out without any paper being sent out.
Every week, over 6,000 more customers are choosing to stop prize cheques in favour of prizes to their account – around 2,000,000 Premium Bonds customers now get their winnings this way. We sent around 500,000 fewer prizes by post in September 2018 than we would have done in April 17.
Our prize checker app is proving very popular – over 1.5 million customers used it to check their prizes in September - and provides suspense and excitement to the prize checking experience – it’s also the fastest way for customers to find out if they have won.
I’m excited to say that while we continuously improve our online checkers, we are also working on new ways to find out if you’ve won a prize.
A vision of the future
We are systematically improving our processes and introducing new digital services.
As recently announced, we will be will be enhancing our mobile services in 2019 so that customers can carry out their transactions via mobile app as an alternative to our mobile friendly web service.
The future is one where only our digitally excluded and vulnerable customers receive paper, while other customers receive the paper-free service they have consistently indicated they want.