After careful review, if you’ve made the choice to outsource print and mail customer communications, then it’s time to find your ideal vendor. While the marketplace isn’t saturated, there are still many options. However, remember that not all print and mail customer communication providers are the same. So, it’s best to be armed with a list of attributes you should seek.
These attributes are based on best practices in the industry that will keep you compliant and on-time while also offering you a competitive price. Here’s a list of seven things to look for in your new partner.
Customer Communication Tracking
Want to know exactly where communications are in the process from data transfer to mail delivery? Then find a vendor that offers a tracking program that uses technology to give you real-time updates. You can’t depend on manual tracking. It’s inefficient and inaccurate. Using a customer communication tracking technology platform resolves these challenges.
Tracking systems also give you better visibility to compliance. Tracking works by scanning barcodes and also taking images of the communication throughout the process. This serves as a record for compliance or litigation risks.
No Compliance Compromises
Compliance with industry, state, or federal regulations isn’t optional. Just as you have to be vigilant in your compliance processes in-house, you shouldn’t expect anything less from a third-party. They should be able to offer your information on how they comply with standards like HIPAA for healthcare and FISMA for finance. Your new partner should have a full-time compliance officer whose daily efforts are focused solely on compliance.
White Paper Factory Approach
The White Paper Factory (WPF) process is the most streamlined, cost-effective way to print and mail customer communications. This type of approach is an end-to-end solution with every piece of the production process managed. With the WPF, any type of variable data can be printed.
Highly efficient, WPF removes almost all manual labor for offline printing. You’ll never need to pre-print if you engage a vendor that follows this strategy. There’s no inventory either, cutting costs associated with storage and obsolescence.
You’ll also enjoy four-color digital printing that looks sharp and professional. You don’t have to cut color to cut dollars. The WPF keeps cost down.
WPF also allows brands to personalize messaging directly on the printed letter, invoice, or communication. Rather than adding inserts, which often get tossed, put the message directly on the communication. WPF makes this easy and simple.
The Accuracy Conundrum
No process is 100% infallible. Even with sophisticated technology, there is still the possibility of an error occurring. What’s not okay is thinking that a 99% accuracy rate is good enough. The larger your volume, the more possible errors. If you mail out one million letters a month with a vendor that has a 99% accuracy rating, that means on average, 10,000 are still wrong. If you settle for this, you’ll be on edge every month, wondering which of those10,000 mistakes will come back to haunt you. You deserve better than 99%.
Address Scrubbing Features
Another helpful feature, which can decrease errors, is working with a company that does a thorough address scrub on your letters prior to mailing. These scrubs use the U.S. Postal Service’s Intelligent Mail Barcode (IMB). With this information, your vendor can find more inaccurate addresses and make updates, which will improve your deliverability rates and reduce returned mail.
Business Continuity Assurance
Yes, customer communications need to be a part of your business continuity plan. If you’re using a vendor, then you need to be assured they have a plan and that it prevents any possible downtime. Typically, such a vendor will have more than one facility in case of disaster. That should be a non-negotiable for your business.
You can’t afford to be offline for even a few minutes. This causes a domino effect, slowing down every step in the process. It could even jeopardize your cash flow. If invoices don’t go out as expected, payments won’t come in as expected.
The Most Advanced Equipment
When looking for an outsourcing partner, choose one that has the latest and greatest technology. It really does matter in this industry. Legacy systems can’t track and have lots of problems, which only get worse with age.
The most advanced equipment is so efficient and smart, it requires little human intervention. With tracking features, there’s never a question of what correspondence went to which customer. Select a partner willing to invest in technology to create a better experience.
Ready to Find Your Partner?
When you make the choice to outsource, take the time to choose the right partner. Feel confident that your critical customer communications are compliant and accurate. Find a vendor that has the experience and expertise you’d expect from your own internal team. Finally, be sure costs are competitive and quality uncompromised for the best outcomes.
PCI Group is a partner you should consider. With a 99.9999% accuracy rate and a commitment to compliance, you won’t find a better suited vendor. See how PCI solutions work by scheduling a demo with them today. Visit PCI at www.pcigroup.com