Many organisations, banks, utilities, telecoms and governments are now increasingly going online or making charges if their customers wish to receive paper-based communication.
But switching to digital is not always welcome.
Two Sides understand the value and convenience of the digital revolution but believe that citizens must continue to have a right to receive paper-based communications, particularly bills and statements, without penalties, supplementary charges or difficulty.
Often it is the most vulnerable members of society that depend on traditional, postal, transactional mail. The move to an online-only society risks leaving older people, the disabled, rural dwellers and those on low incomes disconnected.
We believe that it is every consumer’s right to choose, without disadvantage,how they are contacted by banks and other financial service companies, utility companies, media companies and other service providers. Increasingly businesses are restricting access to paper bills and statements and denying their customers an informed choice.Keep Me Posted, 2018
It is important for policy makers to acknowledge that information on paper is preferred by many consumers and often receives more attention. Consumers wish to retain the flexibility of postal
and electronic communications.
In reality we live in an increasingly digital world where electronic and paper-based communications coexist and are often complementary. Communication strategies must not only be cost effective but also recognise citizen choice. There are many tangible benefits that paper-based documentation can bring and its preference as a means of communication by many consumers must be at the forefront of any digital planning.
Print and Paper in A Digital World
An international survey of over 10,700 consumers, commissioned by Two Sides in 2017, found:
• Consumers worldwide prefer to read the printed version of books (72%), magazines (72%) and newspapers/news (55%) over digital options. Many respondents also indicated that reading in print is more enjoyable than reading electronically.
• More consumers believe they gain a deeper understanding of news stories when reading from print media (65%) over online news sources (49%). In addition, consumers also trust the stories they read in printed newspapers (51%) more than stories found on social media (24%).
• Many consumers (68%) do not pay attention to online advertisements and 57% do their best to avoid them. 46% would be more likely to take an action after seeing an advertisement in a printed newspaper or magazine than they would if they saw the same ad online.
• 89% of consumers believe that they should have the right to choose how they receive communications (printed or electronically), at no extra charge, from financial organisations and service providers.