How to improve customer communications and reduce costs

By Paul Johnson, President Complete Mailing Solutions


Are the number and type of documents you need to send to your customers growing? Are you pressured to do more with the same or fewer resources without compromising quality? Would you like to improve the customer experience while reducing costs and increasing efficiency?
If you answered “yes” to any or all of these questions, then a communications management solution is worth considering. The key components of an effective communications management system are: 1) communications management software, 2) folder inserter(s) and 3) address validation software. In this article, we’ll provide an overview of the role and functionality of communications management software and provide a case study with hard data on the results one organization achieved by implementing a communications management solution.

Communications Management Software

This software is at the core of the solution, the brains, if you will. Communications management software electronically gathers documents such as invoices, statements and reports from a variety of sources (billing, ERP, CRM system, etc.), processes them (more on this in a moment) and routes them to the appropriate communications channel including email, mail, web portal or fax.
linked communications
An example of this type of software – Neopost’s OMS-500 – provides centralized administration and distribution of documents from different departments (in different locations if desired) to be custom-processed and routed through the appropriate communications channels for each document. OMS-500 opens up a whole new world of possibilities in the way that you communicate with customers (or others you send documents to).

What are the results of communications processes optimized with OMS-500?

  • Time & Cost savings
    • Multiple documents can be consolidated into single, rather multiple emails, envelopes or faxes
    • Paper documents don’t require manual sorting, folding, etc.
    • Documents sent via USPS® mail receive the lowest rates
  • Improved Accuracy & Confidentiality
    • Recipients never receive documents not intended for them… thereby increasing security and reducing compliance and privacy risks
    • Bad addresses are corrected prior to mailing
  • Improved Customer Relations
    • Customers can choose how to receive communication: email, mail, web portal or fax
    • Documents are appealing and easy for customers to understand
    • Bills can contain personalized messages or offers/promotions

 


To read about a real-world scenario, check out this case study on how Seattle Children’s hospital uses a communications management solution to get the following results:

  • 88% reduction in labor costs.
  • Improved job satisfaction for employees doing the work.
  • Ability to re-assign existing staff to higher-value and more fulfilling tasks.
  • Improved data quality and deliverability of mail.
  • Improved mail handling including grouping documents by recipient instead of sending multiple documents per recipient.
  • Postage savings achieved from combining reports for the same recipient.

For more details on OMS-500 software you can download a brochure here or watch a video on OMS-500 here.

Would your business survive a malware attack?

By Paul Johnson, President Complete Mailing Solutions


If your business were struck this afternoon by a malware attack, how would it fare? At first brush, most executives would be inclined to say they’re prepared. Upon digging further, many would find that they have vulnerabilities that could be quite disruptive and costly.

data-protection-small
When it comes down to it, there are two primary issues to consider:

  • How well are you protected?
  • How would you recover if successfully attacked?

The former has to do with protection and prevention and the latter with recovery or what is often referred to as business continuity. Each of these is an extensive topic and can’t be given their just due in one article. However, we’d like to provide insights into business continuity, helpful resources and actions you can take to move your company closer to the ideal of being able to recover without missing a beat.

The frequency and effectiveness of malware attacks are growing at an alarming rate. This is placing ever more importance on business continuity to the point where it is now a business imperative.

Is a good backup strategy sufficient?

This is an important point to consider. It primarily boils down to what you define as sufficient. How long would it take to recover using on site backups? Hours? Days? What would that cost you in direct and intangible costs? The eBook, CEO? Here’s Why You Care about Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery, is a helpful guide for executives to assess the risks and costs of downtime.

What is the difference between backup and business continuity? A picture is worth a thousand words, so here’s an infographic, Traditional Backup vs Intelligent Business Continuity, that does a nice job of
comparing and contrasting the two.

If you want to learn more about business continuity solutions and/or get an assessment for your business, call or email Paul Johnson at 303-761-0681 or Paul.Johnson@comp-mail.com

Privacy Compliance… are prying eyes viewing private information?

By Paul Johnson, President Complete Mailing Solutions


Compliance
The current privacy compliance pressures facing businesses in many industries, from healthcare to finance and manufacturing, have resulted in a heavy focus on the high-tech areas of IT and data security. But there is an often overlooked low-tech area that represents a prevalent risk, and it’s one that can be mitigated relatively easily and inexpensively.

Are your document handling and billing systems putting you at risk?

Mail handling, billing and customer communications are functions that have been around seemingly forever. Consequently, companies often mistakenly believe that they have these areas “handled”. Yet these are areas where customer privacy can be put at risk on a daily basis.

What if these risks could be fairly easily and inexpensively mitigated? Further, what if addressing them also resulted in reduced costs and increased operational efficiencies? Implementing processes and software to properly handle customer information and customer communications can deliver these results.

Here a few examples of commonly overlooked areas of exposure:

  • Mail processing systems that do not prevent combining statements or invoices for two different customers.
    • You’d be surprised how often this happens and how easily it can be avoided.
  • Mail being handled in a publicly accessible area by a secretary or receptionist.
    • If so, you’re not alone – this is a common practice and one that often puts customer information unattended within public view.
  • Mismatched or “problem” mail left exposed in a public area while problems are being solved.
    • Not only is this process out of compliance but wastes valuable employee time to correct.
  • Manually handling client documents with different numbers of pages and inserts.
    • This not only exposes private information to workers but is extremely inefficient and error prone.

These are just a few of the many areas where businesses put themselves at risk on a daily basis.

Want to do a quick check to determine areas where you might be at risk?

Download this free compliance checklist to identify often overlooked areas of exposure that may need attention. Another great resource is the white paper from Neopost on How to Ensure Your Organization’s Mail Process is Compliant. It includes 8 best practices for mail compliance.

Interested in digging deeper? Learn more with our complimentary document handling compliance and cost reduction assessment.

Ransomware – Brief Highlights, How It Works, How To Avoid It

By Paul Johnson, President Complete Mailing Solutions

Ransomware utilizes malware (malicious software) to make data or your computer’s operating system unreadable or inaccessible. It demands payment to unencrypt affected files or systems. However, even if the ransom is paid, there is no guarantee ransomed items will be released. According to the FBI, Ransomware attacks are not only proliferating, they’re becoming more sophisticated. Read the full FBI article here.

Brief Highlights

In its simplest form, Ransomware has been around since 1989 represented by the AIDS Trogan virus, which was distributed via floppy diskettes (remember those?) sent to World Health Organization’s international conference attendees. When the computer containing the virus was rebooted, files were encrypted and the ransom demand was made. Users paid $189 in ransom. It didn’t take long for decryption tools to recover the files and stop the attack.
Ransomware became more prominent around 2006 with a Russian-based extortion plan by organized criminals called TROJ_CRYZIP.A. This version placed files of a certain type into a password-protected ZIP folder and deleted the originals. Victims were directed to pay $300 to an E-Gold account (a precursor to Bitcoin).
Ransomware really began to explode in 2013 with the first widely-recognizable crypto-ransomware called CryptoLocker. This form of ransomware made the recipient’s computer virtually unusable by encrypting all files. CryptoLocker was delivered through downloads from compromised websites, phishing and email attachments. It was extremely sophisticated and utilized Bitcoin for payments.
Spinoffs of CryptoLocker, Onion, Reveton, Jigsaw, KeRanger (the first official Mac OSX-based ransomware), CryptXX and others, make it clear that that ransomware will continue to increase in sophistication and range. Delivery methods will expand as will types of machines affected and ransom amount. In fact, reports this year indicate Android phones are now at risk. There’s no end to the extent cybercriminals will utilize to take your money.
How to protect yourself
There are some basics to follow to protect yourself:
1. Keep your system backed up on a regular basis so you can restore your computer to a known clean state.
2. Utilize a strong and reliable security system that can identify and block ransomware threats.
3. Keep your software updated. Patches are constantly being added as viruses and ransomware are being identified.
4. Perform a full network scan to identify infected computers – isolate compromised equipment until they are complete clean before putting back into service.
5. Show hidden file extensions so you can spot a potentially suspicious file. Often “EXE” files can contain a virus. Always be wary of EXE files sent via email attachments.
6. If at all possible, don’t pay the ransom. This not only encourages the cybercriminals, but may place you in an even worse situation. There have been plenty of cases in which a decryption key was never provided or did not encrypt all files.
To learn how to protect yourself, get your free copy of the The Guide to CryptoLocker Prevention and Removal today.