Points of View - What our readers think of the Newsletter
The Newsletter offers a communication platform to document the opinions and research results on a range of important topics which have been contributed by industry professionals actively engaged in . Issued quarterly, it is a regular and vital source of information to a variety of stakeholders working within the European payments landscape.
During the last quarter of 2010, the commissioned an independent online insight provider to undertake a survey which aimed to identify how readers perceived the newsletter, its relevance and accessibility to content, i.e. ease of understanding the information shared.
To engage respondents, the highlighted the opportunity to participate in the study in its last October 2010 newsletter, and undertook a further email dispatch to the entire Newsletter database in November 2010 to encourage feedback and liaised directly with journalists to source qualitative insight.
The 's aim of sourcing the views of 200 readers was nearly doubled, as 380 of you took part in the study as well as nine journalists. The would like to thank all stakeholders who offered their views on the Newsletter for taking the time to participate and assist the in evolving this communication platform to meet the requirements of its audience.
The online survey incorporated seven multiple-choice questions, with an option for readers to provide further comments if desired. Details regarding the respondent's location and company position were also requested but not mandatory. Nearly 100 comments were received and each has been thoroughly reviewed by the Newsletter Editorial Board. Here is an overview of the key findings that were generated.
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- How important is the Newsletter to you? (Figure 1)
88.8 percent found the newsletter to be important, with 55.5 percent stating it as very important. One reader summarised: "The presentation and coverage is very good, and some of the articles are really thought provoking... I sincerely appreciate the work done at to produce such an excellent newsletter."
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- How useful do you find the information provided in the Newsletter to your needs and activities? (Figure 2)
92.9 percent identify that the information within the newsletter is useful, with 42.4 percent highlighting that the Newsletter is extremely useful. One respondent with a background in consulting commented: "The information provided is of prime importance to non-bank players. It is detailed in explanations and comprehensive in scope, which suits a complex and quickly evolving matter... it constitutes a practical and reliable vade-mecu." Another respondent from the public sector added: "The Newsletter is very useful in my everyday job, where I am responsible for issues concerning non-cash payments, etc."
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- How accessible is the information in the Newsletter? By 'accessible' we mean is it easy to read and understand? (Figure 3)
72.4 percent can understand and relate to the content within the articles, with one respondent adding: "I would like to thank the colleagues for their efforts to inform the community on this hot topic of the European financial market. To provide all stakeholders with their adequate information needs is a cumbersome task. Nevertheless, providing the information regularly with the appropriate level of information is very well received!"
At the same time, 27.6 percent identified that the newsletter could be improved with regards to simplifying language and shortening the length of the document. "(There is) quite a lot of text per article. I would welcome more diagrams, tables etc - where appropriate - which would make reading easier," commented one reader.
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- Considering the complex subject matter covered, do you believe that the articles are the appropriate length? (Figure 4)
69.2 percent stated that the articles are an appropriate length and offer the correct level of detail. As outlined above, however, there were also a number of additional comments requesting a shorter more concise newsletter. Based on this additional feedback when evaluating the responses, the survey indicated that although readers generally appreciated the need for detailed articles, the length of the newsletter as a whole, i.e. the number of articles per issue, should be reviewed.
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- What information would you like to see more of? (Figure 5)
From a predefined list, legal and regulatory aspects relevant to the process, Direct Debit and the political aspects impacting the process were highlighted as the top three areas that readers would like to receive more information on.
In order of demand (from highest scoring to the lowest scoring) the following subjects were then chosen: Credit Transfer, general standardisation requirements, for Mobile, general technical issues, Cards Framework, Cards Standardisation Volume - Book of Requirements and for Cash.
Other topics were added by respondents including a request for more information on implementation case studies and best practice, mobile payments in terms of security, governance and technology, input on legal and compliance issues, as well as innovation projects. Requests were also made to receive more updates on work in progress.
Duplication between articles was one area that readers would like to see less of, as it was noted that the same key messages have been communicated in multiple features. A recommendation to use less emotive language was also highlighted as it can undermine the very valid points that are being communicated. Other respondents, however, commented that the commentaries and editorial pieces are highly appreciated as these are 'thought-provoking' and amusing to read.
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- What do you think about the layout of the Newsletter and the web links provided for further information? (Figure 6)
Only 8.7 percent think the design layout of the newsletter could be improved. "The structure where the articles are summarised and briefed first and additional information is accessible via the links is good. It is excellent that links are added to the most relevant documentation," added one reader. In contrast, the survey also generated responses which requested that highlighting and underlining words should be kept to minimum and footnotes should be used throughout the text to ensure consistent referencing.
Translated versions of the Newsletter were also requested.
Recommendations and response
The findings generated have been reviewed by the Newsletter Editorial Board and the Communication Task Force and many key recommendations were identified. On matters such as information that respondents would like to see more of, the will work with the relevant bodies to source the details requested. In other areas such as translations, the does not have the resource to deliver this requirement across all countries.
Below are some further thoughts that the will aim to respond to with immediate effect:
Length of the newsletter. Whilst almost 70 percent of respondents indicated that the length of each article is appropriate, many of the individual comments received stated that there are too many features per issue. A reduced number of articles will encourage more stakeholders to read the newsletter. The will therefore generally aim to limit the number of articles to twelve / fourteen per issue, a reduction of content by about 20 percent compared to previous issues.
Frequency of publication. A number of respondents proposed to increase the frequency of publication to monthly / bi-monthly. By doing a shorter monthly update the number of articles could be reduced and more 'newsworthy and timely' stories communicated. The frequency of publication, however, is determined by the frequency of Plenary meetings as most of the topics covered are subject to decisions at these gatherings. As such, the has to maintain quarterly publication of the Newsletter. Additional communication channels, such as social media platforms, could be developed allowing the to engage with stakeholders on a more regular basis. This is currently being reviewed and considered by the .
Ensure detailed reporting on relevant legal and regulatory issues. More than 40 percent of respondents indicated the need for increased coverage of legal and regulatory issues relevant to the process. It is assumed that this figure is partially influenced by the fact that the survey took place at a time when the market was expecting a formal proposal for a Regulation establishing end dates for euro credit transfers and direct debits for compliance with technical requirements to be tabled by the European Commission. The will therefore continue to give priority to reports on the regulatory developments immediately impacting the process.
Creating a more concise contents page. Several respondents indicated the need for a concise content page which would facilitate a 'quick scan' of all articles and allow readers to review key stories. This function is in fact already available, however, perhaps we have not highlighted this feature clearly enough. Whilst subscribers receive on the day of publication an email dispatch of the newsletter with a short, concise 'teaser' on each article, we also provide the requested content page on the web site. The content page of the current issue of the Newsletter is available on the web site at http://www.europeanpaymentscouncil.eu/newsletter.cfm. As requested by respondents to the survey, this content page features summaries of all the articles included in one edition and offers a link to the full individual article.
Adjust layout of article pages. Going forward, more graphs, figures and information boxes containing bullets featuring the main information of an article will be included, where appropriate. These information boxes will provide a 'snapshot' of the main statements included in the article. This new feature will accommodate the needs of those readers who prefer a 'quick read' as opposed to the 70 percent of respondents who are comfortable with the current length of individual articles.
Simplify language. Making the language even less technical ensures that the communication is clear, concise and understandable to as wide an audience as possible. This can often assist in reducing article length.
Provide Newsletter in PDF format. Several respondents indicated the need to download the newsletter in PDF format. This feature is also already available; however, we might not have pointed this out clearly enough. By going to the content / start page of the Newsletter at http://www.europeanpaymentscouncil.eu/newsletter.cfm and clicking on the PDF icon in the upper right hand corner, it is possible to download the entire issue in PDF. It is also possible to download individual articles in PDF format by following the link 'Read More' which leads to the full article. On each individual article page there is also the PDF icon in the upper right hand corner of the page. Finally, several readers suggested that the PDF versions should not include images, photos and / or figures but text only. We have adapted this functionality accordingly, i.e. the PDF versions now contain the text only.
Facts and figures on migration: several respondents requested updates on migration based on latest data available. This feature is also already available; however, we might not have highlighted this clearly enough. The newsletter features in every edition an article headlined 'Facing the Facts in (month of newsletter publication)' which provides this information. This article links to the Indicators compiled by the European Central Bank1. These indicators reflect the share of transactions as a percentage of the total volume of transactions generated by bank customers in the euro area and by country.
The strives to continually improve its communication with stakeholders and greatly welcomes all feedback we received!
The members of the Newsletter Editorial Board are: Chair Gerard Hartsink, Vice Chair Claude Brun, Payment Schemes Working Group Chair Javier Santamaría, Cards Working Group Chair Ugo Bechis, Cash Working Group Chair Leonor Machado, M-Channel Working Group Chair Dag-Inge Flatraaker, Legal Support Group Chair Kevin Brown, Standards Support Group Chair Petri Aalto, Information Support Group Chair Ruth Wandhöfer, Nominating and Governance Committee Chair Thomas Egner, Audit Committee Chair Michael Montoya and Scheme Management Committee Chair Myra Kinghorn.
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