Outsource providers bundle services differently. Some quote a single price for printing and inserting a document. Other organizations separate those operations on their invoices. Companies may quote ePresentment as a flat rate or by the image. Tiered prices change when volumes fluctuate. Some service providers charge extra for receiving and storing items such as pre-printed inserts. Others don’t. Still, other document service providers may replace inserts with full-color “onserts” printed as part of the documents themselves. Onserts may be billed separately, or not mentioned at all on price quotes.
Outsource service providers add value at different points in the document production workflow. It’s not just the pricing that’s important. Companies must consider the benefits of working with each prospective outsource document vendor. Can an outsource provider enhance your documents? Add functionality? Improve deliverability? Lower customer service costs? Do they handle document composition or must you supply print-ready files? Document service companies can enrich your customer communications in dozens of areas. Added value must be part of the calculation.
The greatest financial benefits of working with one service provider or another may never be evident as details on the service provider’s invoice. Savings in postage, paper, or printing are relatively small compared to the positive impact an outsource vendor can have on their client’s objectives for customer retention, lifetime customer value, or customer experience. Document improvements such as upgraded design or user-friendly online self-service portals reduce client operating costs. These changes lessen the volume of calls handled by a client’s customer service department, increase customer retention, improve cash flow, or promote upsell opportunities.
Outsource service providers add value by:
- Allowing customers to choose their document delivery methods and managing those preferences. Honoring customer preferences is a big factor in how customers perceive the company. Outsource service providers who can offer omni-channel distribution choices help their clients improve the customer experience and build customer loyalty.
- Providing easy access to document archives and a consistent interface which allows customers to find the information they need without aid from customer service.
- Adding click-to-pay or text-to-pay to digital bills. Integrated payment improves cash flow and reduces collection activity.
- Enhancing transactional documents with dynamic marketing messages. These highly segmented messages allow clients to target their customers with relevant offers certain to elicit a greater response than generic bill stuffers. With the help of their document services vendors, some billers have turned their documents into revenue-generators by selling ad space to carefully selected advertisers.
- Highlighting important customer information or adding dynamic graphs and illustrations on transactional documents. This improves customer comprehension and lessens the need for customers to call with questions.
- Entering mail closer to its destination, which accelerates delivery. Reducing the days sales outstanding period shrinks accounts receivable balances and brings money into the organization sooner.
Choosing the right outsource document service provider involves more than an invoice comparison. The most important selection criteria is determining how each prospective vendor can improve your business. What do they offer that enhances the customer experience, lowers operating costs, or achieves other business objectives? Price will always be a consideration when choosing vendors, but the line items on a price list don’t tell the whole story. Today, organizations look upon their communication and document services providers as business partners, not suppliers of a commodity that can be acquired anywhere and are differentiated only by price.