Are you planning to have a rewards program similar to RecycleBank’s one in the future?
We’re not planning to offer points for using Zumbox. Instead, we’re focusing our efforts on continuously enhancing the user experience through our relationships with third party mail senders and content providers as well as the development of new features within Zumbox. While reducing paper waste is a key goal for us, we want that to only represent one of many benefits associated with Zumbox.
In the cities where we’ve now launched – San Francisco, New York and Newark – mail is currently being sent from the local governments and other organizations, giving people there the ability to start receiving, organizing and storing their mail online. We’re essentially offering everybody a paperless mail option that’s convenient, secure and environmentally responsible.
What’s your comment on the findings presented in the New York Times by Prof. Randall Stross about the effectiveness of using the stick approach to converting customers to paperless billing?
Well, I think that was a very interesting piece, as it underlined the challenge faced by most billers. Incentivizing people to go paperless has not really moved the needle, but apparently a company can get people to convert faster when a paper bill fee is introduced. However, the stick approach doesn’t always stick (pardon the pun). And as the article points out, T-Mobile had to quickly respond to pressure by putting an end to the paper bill fee, and the company has since gone back to the carrot approach or simply the voluntary approach.
But the real issue here is that the voluntary approach does not work for a reason. Current paperless options are just not cutting it for most people. The notifications that are sent via email typically only include a link to the bill, and having to go to different websites and keep track of numerous usernames and passwords just to view bills is highly inconvenient.
Personally, I think people would respond better to the idea of going paperless if there was a better way to go paperless. With Zumbox we’ve created a secure environment where bills and statements (and all other mail) can be sent as digital files and presented online exactly like they appear on paper. In that way, Zumbox mirrors the experience of receiving paper mail; the bill is actually delivered to a customer and appears the way we’re all used to seeing it, only without the paper.
While the stick approach may work temporarily for some, I believe the real solution to the challenge of getting people to go paperless is to create a better option than what has been pushed on people up until this point, which is a big part of what we’re trying to do.
What’s the percentage of paper mail you think you can eliminate with Zumbox?
We have not done any calculations on this.