Printer dispensing a printed document

Your critical documents, whether they are bills, collection letters, invoices, summons, or tax documents, are “critical” for a reason – they represent transactional business communications that are core to your operations. Initially, most organizations attempt to keep this activity in-house but eventually find that outsourcing to a secure printing and mailing vendor is well worth the benefits.

Now that you are prepared to outsource such a critical task, what are the best practices for your organization in terms of working with that print and mail vendor?

Information Security

Perhaps the most important focus area in working with your vendor is to protect the security of your information since it represents critical financial, health, or other data for your own customers. There are a variety of information security certifications that print and mail vendors can obtain, including SOC 2, PCI/DSS, HIPAA, RAMP, and others. Typically, an organization that is SOC 2-certified has a strong threshold for controls and practices that can protect your information.

That is on the vendor side. What can you do to protect your own information security? For one, make sure that whatever data is sent while outsourcing services to your printing and mailing vendor is only what is necessary for the vendor to print and mail your documents. File transfers represent a security risk but data that is never sent cannot be compromised in a file transmission. Therefore, it is a good practice to protect customer data via encryption prior to transfer, providing only the “last four” digits (or whatever is required) of an account number, or excluding superfluous data.

Mailing Efficiency

One of the biggest benefits of outsourcing with a secure printing and mailing vendor is the ability to take advantage of lower postage costs. Every vendor should be able to ensure that your mail can qualify for the lowest automated presort postage rate. In reality, that will apply to the vast majority, but not all, of your mail. There are several things you can do to ensure that it does.

First, for first-class mail to qualify for presort, the quantity of the mailing has to be at least five hundred pieces. Let’s say you are sending two thousand invoices per month and are debating whether to send them in two cycles or five cycles. On average, sending across two cycles will allow each of your mailings to qualify for presort, whereas five cycles would be just below five hundred and therefore incur a higher postage rate.

Second, no matter who you’re outsourcing to, your printing and mailing services vendor should be able to process your data through the Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS) and/or the National Change of Address (NCOA) database maintained by USPS. When addresses are inaccurate or incomplete, often they cannot qualify for the lowest automated presort postage rate and therefore incur a higher postage rate. 

For example, Information Outsource provides our customers with reports showing which addresses were deemed non-qualified or which of your customers changed their address, so that you can update your own database and ensure you get the best postage rates.

Third, you should take advantage of householding. Householding simply means that if you are sending more than two or more documents to the same address, the vendor combines those documents into one envelope, thereby saving you money on unnecessary postage.

Partnership Approach

Hands fitting together puzzle pieces

The documents you are sending to your customers, constituents, or otherwise are a critical part of what your business or organization does. For example, you may send bills once per month and then experience a spike in call volume at your customer service center. Or you may be prevented from collecting on a debt because a piece of mail wasn’t delivered. While outsourcing printing and mailing services, your printing and mailing vendor can be seen as just that – a vendor. However, it is beneficial to view them as more of a partner. How does that work?

At Information Outsource, we orient our customer service to a human-centric model of service. You work with a dedicated Client Specialist who knows your business and can help you manage all aspects of the printing and mailing process. Want to include an informational insert or a notice in your next mailing? Need to ensure your call center is aware of the next mailing date so they can be prepared? Transitioning your enterprise software provider or integrating a new payments system and want to be sure the process won’t break down afterward? All of these projects and questions are made so much easier when your vendor is a partner and is actively working with you and thinking with you about how to make the process as efficient as possible. Contact us today for a free quote.