We’re sure you’ve seen them before. Your document outsourcing vendor may have even encouraged them…. Telling you that not only are they secure, they could save you thousands of dollars on postage annually. Unfortunately, that is not entirely true. In fact, despite potential costs savings, they can be extremely dangerous. What are they, you ask?
THEY’RE KNOWN AS POSTCARD NOTICES.
Used for business reply mail, postcard notices are made possible through a USPS loophole that leverages postcard mailing rates and the likelihood that the reply will never actually be sent. Although vendors will tell you they can easily mask any secure or confidential information, postcard notices can still result in serious threats to your customer’s privacy, and thus, your reputation.
Utilizing postcard notices in your customer communications poses three primary risk factors.
This risk factor is two-fold. First, there are incredibly strict requirements on what constitutes a postcard. Vendors can easily make your notices sized to fit the requirements, but it can be a difficult process, and if a mail piece does not meet the exact dimensions and weight requirements, the Post Office will consider it a letter and letter-sized postage will be charged.
Second, the key savings achieved by utilizing postcards come from the expectation that the reply card will not be sent, and therefore, won’t need to be paid for. Relying on that is risky as it can result in unexpected charges that can really add up. Postage is expensive enough, so it’s nice to have a clear and predictable budget to allocate to postage expenses.
Many vendors leave one side of these postcard notices open to guarantee they qualify for the discounted postage rate. This means that anyone could potentially look inside your customer’s mail pieces. Not only does this put their personal and account information at risk, but because many vendors use postcards for Non-Sufficient Fund notices and the like, it also makes it all too easy for extremely sensitive information to fall into the wrong hands.
Finally, not only are postcard notices unpredictable and unsecure, they also put you at risk and liable for anything going wrong in the delivery process. Your customer’s private information being mishandled would lead to unfortunate repercussions for your business in terms of customer dissatisfaction and mistrust. For customers to be truly happy, they need to know their information is in good hands.
Customer satisfaction and trust in your business should always be number one. Cutting corners to cut costs is never the solution. Although vendors may emphasize the significant savings associated with postcard notices, if you take the time to educate yourself on the reasons for those cost reductions, you’ll see that the risks really do significantly outweigh the benefits.