All posts by Caroline

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How to make print and digital work together

In my last post I looked at how print acts as gateway for people to interact with printed content digitally and for any type of marketing to be successful print needs to be integrated with technology to be successful.

print and digital

By having print and an online presence helps your brand or proposition become more credible. This should include social media and website on print.

Your starting point should be all company print  such as business cards, letterheads, compliment slips, (yes people still use them) invoices, in fact any type of informational product should have your website details and social media platforms so that customers can check you out and join you in the online world.

The print world is constantly reinventing itself by finding newer and more interactive ways of getting in front of customers.

Scanning QR code with mobile phoneTechnologies such as NFC (Near field communications, still in its infancy) QR codes and Augmented reality give readers the opportunity to use print as the gateway to online channels, by simply pointing your mobile at the printed page a whole new multimedia world opens up for the reader.

Magazine publishers are finding different ways to engage with their readers by providing interactive online content.

A brand that is trusted by the consumer leads to high levels of engagement across all platforms.

Print use to be the end result of a campaign now it is the start of the journey for the consumer to make a purchase. It provides the step to the next stage of the journey in the buying process.

Any kind of print advertising from direct mail to your newsletter is one step in the process of getting the customer moving whether it is to buy, sign up for something or to engage online.

It starts with print using a QR code or Augmented Reality which takes the customer to a personalised landing page or activation of an app.

An example of this might be a car dealership sending out a print and digitalpersonalised mailing to ex-customers offering an incentive to get back in touch. (There’s more information about that here)

Using PURLs in the direct mail the customer is directed to their nearest dealership and are offered incentives to book a service.

Print and digital are even closer than you might think take the Evernote Moleskin smart book; you can make notes, sketch and draw then, using the Evernote app, scan and upload to Evernote so you have a digital version.

The same with the moleskin smart notebook that connects to the Evernote-and-Hipstamatic-on-Iphone-5-000037558608_SmallAdobe Creative Cloud via an app on your smartphone, your hand drawn sketches can be converted to workable digital files that can then be manipulated using adobe illustrator or photoshop.

Newspapers and magazines are still considered credible sources of information and are more trusted than digital.

Print delivers powerful and vibrant communications the eye is drawn to a particular piece of information more so than a digital pop out advert which is annoying and distracting.

How do you get print and digital to work together?

Think about what is most effective in print and digital channels and make sure that the same tone and message deliver a unified brand across all mediums. Using your print medium you can direct your customers to your social channels via your print ads.

When you combine your print and digital strategies so they deliver the same message you engage with the customer and build up trust.

You can add print to your media mix to engage more customers and drive traffic to your website by using a mini catalogue with PURLs that send them to certain landing pages.

Print shows authority and allows the customer to have something tangible that they can connect with  by giving them something they can review at a later date.

Digital on the other hand offers flexible content which can also include other elements like audio.

The communications landscape is changing with new channels emerging and as they gather pace it doesn’t necessarily mean that the existing communication platforms you use should be cast aside, not if they deliver the results you want.

So don’t disregard print out of the media mix  in collaboration both print and digital are complementary creating a great experience for the end user if done brilliantly.

 

 

 

 

Print or digital? Do we really need to choose?

Print or digital? Do we really need to make a choice?

Whilst holidaying in Spain I couldn’t help but notice what seemed to Print or digital? Do we really need to choose? be a resurgence in books and newspapers.

There were tablets and kindles in use but inwardly I thought umm not all bad news for print.

The world today is defined by how we receive and digest information from news, opinions, interviews, advertising in print or digital format.

multichannelPrint media, television, online mobile and social media are all part of our everyday lives that help us gain access to the information we need or want.

Digital Print Management has also seen a resurgence in print specifically hybrid mail or our branded Print-2-Mail.

The recession forced many companies to re-think how and what they printed and how to save money doing it.

The cost of printing and mailing inhouse is an obvious area to outsource step in Print-2-Mail a mailing desktop solution that delivers the same service but 60% less than the cost of doing it in house.

Much of the information we now receive is sent through email or made available online and consumers are demanding how they want to receive their information.

Multichannel servicesAutomating the process of print and mailing documents and providing an online version for those customers that only wish to receive it in an electronic format is all made possible through multichannel distribution of documents.

Customers are wanting to access personal and confidential information on different devices as well as having the choice of receiving a paper version as well.

multichannelFrom a single data file sent by the customer, documents can be printed and mailed to those recipients that want a paper document and made available online to those who only want to view it online;  if they want both they can have both.

Print works best when used with other media from magazines, direct mail, social media, television, newspapers and print can also bridge the gap between paper and digital using QR codes, Augmented Reality and NFC (Near Field Communication)

Print and digital innovations only increase the effectiveness of print media as well as improving the customer experience so next time you are thinking print or digital ditch the idea and make sure you use both.

The integration of print and digital is a marriage made in media heaven.

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How to drive your customer relationships using mail and email

Last year I wrote about the impact of digital on mail and email.multi channel services

Whilst there maybe a genuine perception that print is on the decline the Royal Mail report found otherwise.

Print and email working in collaboration and using cross media marketing, (also referred to as multi channel marketing) works very effectively.

I am often asked for advice on how to go about adopting a multi channel marketing strategy.

Why I will not profess to being a marketing expert my knowledge of print combined with personalisation and social media gives me the objectivity to look at a marketing campaign and help define it for the customer.

I thought I would share with you a recent marketing/print campaign Digital Print Management fulfilled for one of its customers.

stay on targetThe starting point has to be what do you hope to get out of it?

By this, I mean not ‘more business’ or more customers, we all want that but what objectives do you want to get out of your campaign?

Being able to interact with your customers and prospects through multi channel marketing is necessary for companies to get their message out

Here’s an example of a cross media campaign using mail and email ?iStock_000026350319Small

Generating interest with print by using an interesting and engaging format so that when it lands on the doormat the consumer is highly likely to read and do something with it or take action.

A car dealership has a target list of 3,750 customers whom they would like to get in contact with and who haven’t visited their dealership in the last 18 months.

The key objective of marketing to these people is to motivate customers to come back to the dealership by scheduling a routine service and by offering a free oil change and a 15% discount off the standard service.

  • The dealership sends out personalised postcards with PURLs – the postcards and emails are uniquely personalised and individualised according to each customer’s past purchasing history
  • The customers receive the postcards and some do respond to the PURL – the invitation to visit the PURL is a way of inviting the customer to redeem coupons that they can then use at the dealership against a service/oil change
  • The inclusion of a PURL ensures that all the responses and updates are captured and the customer data list is updated
  • The response actions that are captured from the PURL trigger a personalised email which is sent to those respondents who didn’t respond inviting them to click onto the same PURL
  • A follow up email is then scheduled to go out to those who didn’t take up the offer in 5 days

Stacked MailThis is the customer decision stage by sending the prospects a mail piece that communicates a clear and persuasive benefit with a link to your website is more likely to encourage engagement.

When customers respond using the PURL they arrive at a personalised landing page which has their name and address details.

They are asked to confirm or update their details and then request to enter a code which is printed on the email or postcard so they can redeem their coupons.

Once the purchase is made, in this instance the redeeming of coupons an email is generated welcoming them back to the dealership; a welcome pack which is highly personalised is then sent out to them.

Whilst they are redeeming their coupons there are a whole host of other coupons that they can also redeem in exchange for more information about the condition of the car, how old it is, when was the last time they had it serviced, what time of day do they prefer to schedule a service, do they own more than one car from the same manufacturer.

Each coupon they click on encourages the customer to give more information which can later be used for future campaigns.

Where do I start?

Identify your marketing objective? In the above example it was to get in contact with former customers of the car dealership.

Do you have accurate data? In this example the dealership had a defined customer contact base of 3,750 former customers.

What technology or platform are you using? Can you manage this in-house if so how will it be managed and do you have the technology/software and resources to ensure it’s monitored through to completion.

OR

Outsource it to a cross media specialist  who can work with you and design the campaign to meet your objectives.

Empty asphalt road towards cloud and signs symbolizing success a

To ensure successful results there must be a planning process – who is your target audience, which media channels are right, what offer(s) and how then are the responses going to be captured and used.

Keeping the offer relevant and personalised to the customer should yield positive results.

Before managing a large campaign plan a test run with different offers, this will hi-light what works and what doesn’t, the campaign can then be upgraded to include your target audience, whatever the size.

A follow up plan is crucial to keep the momentum going and in this instance the follow up process which included an email could also include a postcard was used where people hadn’t responded in 5 days.

All actions and responses were measured when the customer clicked through to the PURLs.

The highly targeted and personalised win back stage is useful where customers have parted with information but have chosen not to redeem vouchers, sending a follow up mail piece is a useful way of staying in touch with those prospects that didn’t redeem their coupons.

How to avoid the pitfalls

  1. Be selective when it comes to the channels you intend to communicate your offer, too much and it becomes another sales blast.
  2. Whilst I’m a big advocate of personalisation, too much of ‘Hi Caroline, Caroline it’s been 18 months since, Caroline we think you might like this’ and so on then becomes a pain and is immediately off putting.
  3. Make the offer relevant and meaningful
  4. No campaign will be 100% successful first time out. Be prepared to modify, adapt and test the offer
  5. Keep any content either in print or digital relevant to the offer and to your audience

Some things to think about?

Sending paper bills or statements encourages retention and faster payment by using the white space on a paper bill or electronic statement to promote any services and offers you are promoting.

Renewal – as renewal time approaches send your customers a personalised mail piece that reminds them of the benefits they will receive as well as the future benefits they will be able to access after they have renewed with your.

Following up with an email is a great way to get them to make a decision but also makes them feel valued.

You can also find more information here 

 

Multichannel services

How to save costs with multi channel services

The sole purpose of offering multi channel services is to provide multi channel servicescustomers with options for how they would like to be communicated with whether it is a bill, statement, customer letter or being given a means by which they can make a complaint.

These documents are a critical part of the business process both a legal obligation and commercial necessity all of which can have an impact on your bottomline.

Thirty years ago the business communications landscape was very different.

Letters, statements, invoices, offers, contractual agreements and the myriad of other business documents were sent via post.

cellphonesThe 80’s saw the evolution of fax technology and businesses were able to send documents and the process of business transactions quickened.

In the 90’s, the emergence of email changed the business landscape forever. Businesses, brands, companies were able to communicate messages instantaneously.

The 00’s served to speed up the business document process farther by the rapid evolvement of smartphones and social media.

Businesses were having to evolve and adapt to ensure they were able to give customers the choice on which channels to communicate on.

Customers demanded choice it wasn’t good enough just to be able iStock_000014348375Smallto receive email or paper.

They want to receive information both in paper and electronic format and they also want to choose when they get it and where they view it – smartphone, tablet, mobile, PC, laptop.

multi channel services

multi channel services

Today many of us communicate with customers, suppliers, colleagues and associates using different platforms that include fax, email, SMS, social media and web portals.

Physical print and mail remains an effective means of communication but it isn’t always quick and organisations have to include digital alternatives at the same time not losing sight of the customers wishes.

Im my post Keep Me Posted – why multichannel works best I put it to you that customers should have the choice in how they are communicated too.

Digital communications do save time and money – there’s no paper, toner, postage and lower human resource costs, moreover they help companies respond quickly and to be more in tune with their customers needs.

Whilst paper still retains it’s place in the business landscape customers are driving how they want to be communicated with and the adoption of electronic or digital methods of communication have been deployed by organisations so they can deliver immediate information and stimulate interaction with the customer.

How do you manage multi channel services?

When organisations deliver multi channel services they are moving into a complex and bewildering world of communications with the customer.

How do you decide what you will send by email, print and post?

How do you understand what your customers preferences are?

How do you integrate paper and digital business processes?

How do you ensure that the document flow is secure and how do you store documents so that the organisation and the customer has a record of both paper and digital if needed?

Ensuring accuracy, quality and on-time delivery of these business critical documents is crucial. Get it wrong and the business doesn’t get paid.

Customers expect to be able to engage on the channels of their choosing, SMS, mobile/smartphone, call centres, post, email, web.

The challenge for organisations is deciding what to adopt.

Switching off offline communications and implementing solely online is a surefire way of alienating a sizeable proportion of your customer base.

65% of customers who prefer paper bills and statements would consider defecting to a competitor or would leave straightaway if a company removes that choice. 29% of customers who prefer to receive information electronically would consider moving if the option to receive paper statements was removed.

How do multi channel services save cost?

New technology means that transactional documents can be delivered offline and online to meet different customer preferences just from one data file.

  • There is greater flexibility in page formats from A4 to A5 or smaller if required.
  • High quality colour printing means shorter runs that can targeted and relevant for offline communications
  • Highly personalised transpromo messages embedded into online and offline communications

Why are multi channel services important?

Organisations can communicate and deliver their messages on different platforms.

In a digital world your customers want to access your information, marketing messages and offers anytime, anywhere and on multiple devices.

For companies, this gives the benefit of being able to provide a good service to individual customers efficiently which increases customer satisfaction and retention.

By providing choice also differentiates the company from the competition and ensures customer longevity.

How does a multi channel service work?

Please watch the video below and this should give you a better understanding as to how payslips, letters, statements can be delivered both online and offline.

 

 

 

 

transpromo

The changing face of transpromo

I’ve been in the transactional print and mailing industry for (shoosh) 25 years and there have been many changes in that time. transpromo

When I first started, all transactional programming was done using cobol, (a computer programming language) large mainframes existed in datacentres and data was sent either via mag tapes, dial up and eventually ISDN.

Customer data was sent as raw data files or print files which meant that the code had to be stripped out. Using composition software, the form was designed, the variable data was coded onto the form before anything that remotely resembled a bill or payslip could be printed.

It was cutting edge stuff at the time.

Jump forward 20+ years and data can be sent in pretty much any format you can think of and document composition is done using sophisticated composition platforms which merges data and design layout whilst adding variable personalised data in one pass.

iStock_000014348375SmallTraditional transactional print was produced by litho printing the base stock – invoice, statement, payslips and then the variable/personalised information was laser printed in black. It was more cost effective for the large corporate generators of bills and statements predominantly mobile, utility and service providers.

Fast forward to the late 1990’s and the industry saw the rapid digital colour printdevelopment of colour laser digital printing technology this revolutionised transactional documents. Adding colour to the document by highlighting specific lines of text, colour reports highlighting an amount owed in red on an overdue reminder added value to the form.

Initially the use of colour laser personalisation was slow to be taken up by customers because of the cost per unit but as demand for colour increased so did the cost of colour laser printing reduce.

“Transpromo” as it became known had two main advantages – adding variable highlight colour to your documents meant you could dispense with the need for pre-printed stationery and produce your document in one pass. No capital tied up in stock.

The other advantage was the option to print highly personalised, bespoke documents in small volumes from 1 to many and within each pack you could have as many variable letters with different designs and logos as you wanted such was the versatility of digital colour laser printing.

Timeline concept: pixeled word Past Now Future on digital screenThe transactional document is perceived as an added cost factor to the business – every organisation needs to process and send invoices, statements, reminders whether it is in paper or electronic format and that represents a cost to the business.

Transpromo has evolved to being an opportunity to add value to client relationships and increase revenue through selective targeting of products and services and can be just as effective as direct mail.

Transpromo can be used as a communication opportunity to develop and add value that is not solely the domain of marketing.

Letters, bills and statements are integral to the customer experience, transpromo is still undervalued when it comes to targeting customers with specific messages.

Often the consideration to go paperless seems easier than the continued use of paper but organisations don’t do this objectively and ask WHY are we doing this and, WHO will benefit – the customer or us?

Transpromo integrates with online platforms – print, mobile and online content linked together – multi-channel online statement and billing delivery enables you to deliver your client documents differently but with a marketing edge.

Transpromo is part of a multichannel approach for customer communication in our multimedia and cross media driven world it is also a missed opportunity for getting closer to the customer.

A business man throws office paper work pages into air and on floor.

Keep Me Posted – why multichannel works best

Making print and electronic work together offers a powerful way to deliver communications in the digital and physical world. multichannel

I’ve always believed that the customer should have the choice in whether they receive a paper or digital copy, of any type of information.

Offering the end user a multichannel service gives your customers the choice between taking up the offer of a digital or paper copy.

Imagine my surprise at a recent networking event when someone asked me if I’d heard of the Keep Me Posted campaign.

‘The what I said?’

multichannelWith twenty five years in the transactional print and mailing business I had to admit embarrassingly that I wasn’t aware of it.

The Keep Me Posted campaign is committed to changing the attitudes of UK businesses and service providers about giving the consumer the choice between choosing a paper or digital bill or statement.

You can read more about it here.

It ties in very nicely with what I regularly write about and that is giving customers the option to choose paper or digital without penalising them.

Multichannel presentation of documents does just that by giving the customer the option to receive either a digital or physical copy.

Here’s a video to show how multichannel works:

What I particularly like about the Keep Me Posted campaign is that multichannelthey are not advocating one media over the other but rather allowing the customer to choose what best suits their needs.

Happy customer = long term happy customer.

Keep Me Posted is a partnership of representatives from charities, interest groups and business who have united to stand up for the consumer’s right to choose how they are contacted by banks, financial institutions, utility companies, media companies and service providers.

Fewer and fewer businesses are providing no choice how the customer receives their bills and statements with many forcing customers to accept an electronic document.

I recently bought a 4G MIFI so I can access the internet anytime anywhere.

My first bill was in paper format and the accompanying letter told how to register online to access my bill.

The process was not an easy one and as I am very familiar with the providers website it is not easy to navigate even for someone like me who spends eight +  hours in front of a PC.

Imagine an elderly person or someone not too familiar with online registration, navigating the same site because they too have a monthly contract and need to download their monthly bill?

The statistics make for interesting reading:-

16 million consumers aged over fifteen don’t have basic online skills [Source: Go On UK]

40% of UK adults say that the removal of paper statements could seriously affect their finances [Source: Opinium]

5.2 million households in the UK do not have internet access [Source: Office for National Statistics]

You might think how can you possibly forget to pay a visa card bill?

If there is no choice how you receive your statement or bill, viewing an electronic statement irrespective of the email reminder you receive, it is easy to overlook paying that bill.

We are inundated with emails and receiving a paper statement is a sure fire way of reminding us to take action with that bit of paper.

My guess is even if you do receive the electronic version you end up printing off the document as a reminder to action it.

81% of UK adults want to choose how they receive their information.[Source: Opinium]

4 out of 5 people are more likely to read statements available both online and by post.

81% of UK adults do not like it when companies take away their right to choose how they are communicated with. [Source: Office for National Statistics]

Only last week we learned that the paper driving license that we are so familiar with is to be withdrawn and the information will be stored electronically. The DVLA claim that not only will it reduce the red tape it will be cheaper for motorists.

Given that the DVLA reissued 445,000 lost paper licences in 2014 at a charge of £20.00, that’s almost a £1,000,000, I would of thought that there is a very good incentive to keep paper licences.

I await with bated breath when my road tax is due for renewal.

I am unconvinced, there are some things that should just be ‘paper’.

Online information is better, yes I said it.

BUT, there is a caveat, paper based communications are better understood and we the consumer are more likely to recall what is on that piece of paper than what we read online.

The organisations Digital Print Management work with tend to have a better understanding of the importance of giving their customers choice because we educate the benefits of paper and digital.

It shouldn’t be about PAPER VS DIGITAL it should be PAPER AND/OR DIGITAL, a subtle difference but one that will ensure your customers are kept happy receiving information from you in a format that they’ve agreed to and not one that has been forced upon them.

[Statistics courtesy of Keep Me Posted]

What do you think?

managed-print-services

Why you need a print management strategy

Having recently attended a great seminar on the future of print print word in letterpress typemanagement and mobile printing I wanted to share some of the insights I learn’t.

Many strive toward the paperless office, and for some it is a utopian ideal.

But documents still drive many of our document processes.

According to the Garner Group office printing represents 1-3% of a company’s annual revenue, which means that a $10 million company will spend between $100,000 to $300,000 on document printing.

If you don’t know:-

What is print costing you?

Who are the biggest users of print?

Then you need to have a print management strategy.

Although figures suggest that office printing volumes are declining it doesn’t take into account the increasing trend in BYOD.

cloud printingWith increasing demands for mobile print solutions and employees working where they want, why should that not include printing what they want?

Office culture is one of the primary reasons companies don’t change their print and paper practices.

The exponential growth in mobile devices and their prevalence in multichannel servicesmeetings could make you believe that the use of paper is almost archaic and yet office practices result in many of us printing off that report or information for a meeting ‘just in case’ technology or the lack of internet connection fails us.

paper stackNot surprisingly many companies don’t know what they spend on print, hardware/software and support. Given that documents drive paper processes it makes sense to know what your annual print spend is.

Not knowing how many printers are in use across the office building, how they are being used and their associated running costs makes understanding the print spend almost impossible but it also means that the organisation may not be delivering what departments really need in the way of document output.

Organisations, Universities, Councils all like print solutions because it enables them to show how much they have saved on print and paper usage.

What is produced is done so wisely and not at the expense of the taxpayer.

Outsourcing print to cut costs whether in the form of print management or managed print services ensures transparency of print costs, an increase in management control over printing, a complete audit review of what is being printed when and on what device.

A managed print strategy means:-

1. You don’t need to buy new equipment

2. You need to understand what you have and how it is used – what volumes are printed and by whom?

3. Only then consider outsourcing the management of your devices using a print management or MPS (managed print service)

4. With your office devices being managed by a print management provider quarterly reviews of print volumes will ensure that recommendations will be put in place to optimise your printing.

Your company has a business plan right?

It also has a marketing plan that determines when and what you are going to ‘sell’ to your target audience?

You probably have an HR strategy if you are more than 5 people so why would you not have a print management strategy?

Even if it forms part of the marketing budget, you need to understand the cost of print and what that means to your bottom line.

If you don’t know what you are spending on print then how can you manage what and where you print effectively?

 

 

print management

5 benefits of print management companies

Continuing my theme on outsourcing I thought I’d delve into why organisations can really come out on top when they choose to work with a print management company. print management

What is print management?

And, what can a print management company do for you?

In essence they manage the purchasing of any print, mail and marketing item you generate.

Print management companies can help you save time and money on all print related activities.

Outsourcing your print and mailing such as invoicing, statements, cheques or corporate stationery items will ensure continuity of brand management, cost reduction and give you unlimited access to expertise.

What are the 5 benefits of working with a print management company?

It’s not expensive

Print management does cost money because there will be set up costs at the outset of the contract or project but what you need to remember is that a print management company will be managing many procurement activities for different organisations and companies this gives them leverage because they are purchasing on volume which in turn is passed down to you the customer in cost savings.

These savings would not be be achieved if the buying is done by many different departments and is managed locally rather than centrally.

Outsourcing will increase efficiencies and eliminate random iStock_000013524456Smallpurchasing.

Guaranteed cost savings

Organisations with in-house sourcing will never achieve the level of savings a print manager can offer, the function is not core to their business and there is likely to be a lack of print knowledge making sourcing the right product at the best price difficult.

Investment in print management software

Print management companies take advantage of the latest print management software solutions.

Print procurement technology enhances the business process by streamlining quoting, improving the print job process and using digital asset management as a central repository for marketing assets and documents.

Organisations do not have the budget nor the infrastructure to implement a print management procurement program but print management companies specifically aim to improve and invest in the technology to ensure customers can place orders online and all print jobs are managed accurately and delivered on time.

Accountability

Outsourcing to a print manager ensures that they are accountable print managementby being able to show cost savings through metrics and reports that include KPI’s and SLA’s  to demonstrate effectiveness.

Innovation

All organisations want to make sure that their printed communications and marketing collateral is at the forefront of their competition. print management

Print management companies provide innovation and creativity because of their expertise in design and print and because of their knowledge of the market place.

They keep up to date with advancements in the print industry and pass these developments on to you the customer.

Above all else, a print management company is impartial they are not tied to anyone manufacturer or supplier.

They will have cultivated an extensive network of supplier relationships developed over many years, based on trust, excellence and expertise, which cannot be achieved in-house.

The next time you are reviewing your print strategy and want to know how your company can make savings think print management! 

outsourcing

Dispelling the myths of outsourcing

Digital Print Management has been a long term advocate of outsourcing.outsourcing

But, surprisingly very few companies experience the real benefits of outsourcing because of failure in communication.

All too often relationships along with the contracts fail to meet the expectations of the customer.

Digital Print Management have often succeeded in winning contract work because of failure by the last incumbent.

Great for us but not a good advertisement for the industry in general.

What do I mean?

The three main reasons outsourcing fails are:-

  1. The company wanting to outsource has no process for specifying the work to be done.
  2. Poor project management from the provider and the company outsourcing
  3. No metrics or KPI’s for measuring success

outsource Unless you can specify and understand what you want as the party wanting to outsource how can you possibly expect the supplier to deliver your expectations?

You don’t need a detailed document that reads like War and Peace to make outsourcing successful but you do need to know what you expect to receive from the outsourcing process.

The worse scenario is the company decides to outsource a process and hires consultants to do the work for them assuming they know better than the organisation what is required and wasting money in the process.

Tell us what you need.

outsourceWe can do anything, just tell us what you need.

I’ve sat in many meetings talking with clients understanding what they are looking and hoping for when they are considering outsourcing.

Start with a blank sheet of paper, if you could have anything you wanted what would it be?

Eh voila, there it is, all the information you need to put together a specification.

The responsibility is on the shoulders of the company looking to outsource the business process.

But, the most important and missing piece is how do YOU want your customers to feel when they experience the process you’ve outsourced.

In other words it is your customer or the end user who will have the real benefit, experience or engagement with the business process you’ve outsourced not solely the organisation.

Outsourcing fails because the agreement is not properly structured, doesn’t take advantage of the outsource providers best practices, creativity and innovation.

It does not define the scope and service levels that meet your needs and there is no communication.

When it is well planned, outsourcing relationships provide and deliver substantial benefits to an organisation and not solely cost savings.

Businesswoman using digital tablet with copyspace

Why smartphones lead the way for a multi channel service

In my last post I emphasised the importance of giving your customers the choice between choosing paper and viewing documents online or what I call a multi channel service.multichannel services

More than 42 years have passed since the first mobile phone call was made by a motorola employee, Martin Cooper in the USA.

Since then, the sale of smartphones has reached dizzying heights and has become the staple business tool for many of us.

Connecting and transacting business on a daily basis is now commonplace from emails, shopping, banking online; it would be hard to imagine a life without a smartphone.

72% of us own a smartphone.

Generation Y those aged between 25-30 are the most likely to own a mobile phone (89%) and Generation Z, 16-24 year olds follow closely with smartphone ownership at 85%.

This group are most happy to use apps for shopping online. 54% of 54-65 year olds own a smartphone.

Mobile websites and having the ability to interact and communicate important information to your customers via mobile is increasingly important.

Offering a multichannel service to deliver and communicate with your customers is key to customer retention.

Mobile technology is rapidly becoming the most popular channel for people to be able to access information and being able to adapt your delivery processes to ensure that customers have access to the information online, on mobile and in paper format is crucial to ensuring customer longevity.

By providing a seamless experience to the customer irrespective of the channel they choose – telephone, online, mobile phone, they are made to feel like they are dealing with one company.

How they receive and interact with the information is important for long term customer relationships.

Multichannel servicesIt is no longer about sending paper communications, customers need to have the choice how they interact with the information they receive from you and as the above statistics show mobile adaptation for businesses must be considered part of the marketing process.

Businesses need to embrace mobile technology and adapt their services to fit with the needs of their customers.

Presenting documents online can be costly and time consuming firstly there is the need for:-

  • a website
  • emails
  • developing an app(s)
  • web portal

They also need to be mobile responsive which means that the document needs to emulate the layout and content of the paper document and respond to the size of screen it is viewed on.

Multichannel communication is about presenting documents online so that customers can view information anytime and anywhere.

Part of the multichannel service experience is about driving up customer engagement and organisations need to understand how customers use mobile technology in their personal lives – for shopping, banking and connecting on social media driven to use their smartphones more readily to access their documents when they are on the move.

Viewing customer information is not solely for the smartphone, it needs to be viewable on PC’s, laptops, tablets and in paper format.

A multichannel service allows your customers to choose how they prefer to view the information you send them without forcing them to take up an option they are not happy with.

For more information about multichannel distribution of electronic documents and online viewing. Please feel free to call us here.