Two Different Ways to Go Paperless

There is a trend of sending customers their invoices and statements via email. Businesses that do so save the expense of printing and mailing paper documents. For consumers, they receive their information faster and can file it digitally, without the need to waste paper (but I wonder how many print it anyway).

This is a practice that I both love and hate.

I love it when companies email me my invoice as an attachment. It is easy to access, view, and file. Time is saved and natural resources are not consumed.

I hate it when the email notice simply tells me my invoice or statement is available online. Then I need to go to their website, login — often a multistep process, navigate to the appropriate page, select the desired document, download it, open it, and then save it — which in some cases requires I convert it to a PDF file first. The process might be a tad easier if I click on the link provided in their email, but I don’t do that in order to protect myself from being victimized by a phishing scam. (To make this even more frustrating, one financial institution won’t even notify me via email when my statement is ready — I need to go through all these steps just to check.)

I understand these steps are required to protect my information from being accessed by the criminally-minded. But really, being forced to go paperless is not a customer-focused practice. If a business is truly interested in serving their customers, they wouldn’t force them to jump through all these hoops just to receive their statements, they would offer options: paperless or paper. It is the right thing to do.

What do you think? Please leave a comment!