5 Ways Digital Mailroom Speeds Up Customer Communications Processes
We all know that digital transformation can greatly improve a company’s operational efficiencies, increase productivity and cut costs. But it’s hard to know where to start when you want to optimise your customer communications processes. Luckily, one of the lowest of the low hanging fruits is in the mailroom.
Depending on your current set-up, a digital mailroom solution improves the speed, efficiency and resilience of your mailroom operation. For example, introducing automation where possible to allow staff to relinquish time-consuming manual tasks, or outsourcing to dedicated providers for higher efficiency and lower costs.
To see the full benefits of a digital mailroom, have a read of our Digital Mailroom Explainer: How it Works, Benefits & Solutions.
In our experience, there are 5 main ways a digital mailroom can speed up your operational processes and make them highly efficient. Let’s run through them, starting with the biggest reason our clients adopt a solution. This is how mailroom services can be improved.
1. Digital Mailroom automates time-consuming tasks
In a traditional mailroom, typical inbound mail processing for incoming and interoffice mail involves the following steps:
- Prep (staple removal, etc)
- Sort (manual visual checks)
- Scan (bulk or individual mail items)
- Archive (manual collection and recording)
Of those four steps, 60% of mailroom labour is spent on sorting. That’s nearly 5 hours of a working day, or 6 out of 10 staff members, just sorting mail. That is a big opportunity for efficiency and the quickest win – simply by improving one stage of the process.
When you think about how much post is received with handwritten envelopes and unstructured data in forms, it’s understandable that sorting takes so much time. And when incoming volumes are high, this stage becomes a bottleneck, causing delays to responses, potential breach of SLAs and can seriously damage your customer experience.
A digital mailroom can introduce several levels of automation, depending on the complexity of your operations, to minimise the time and resource on sorting and allow mailroom staff to focus on more impactful tasks.
Generally speaking, by digitally classifying and capturing data and assigning documents with pre-programmed business rules, you can introduce significant operational efficiencies to the sorting and distribution of mail. However, if you outsource your scanning of physical letters and documents by redirecting all incoming mail to a third party, you can also remove another time-intensive and repetitive part of the process from your team.
2. Digital mailroom minimises human error
Sophisticated optical character recognition (OCR) software scans the physical or digital communication for keywords to identify the type. Then, business rules that you and your solution provider implement into the workflow will automatically assign the communication to a team, a department or an individual.
Something that previously went through several manual touchpoints, which introduces potential errors and mistakes, can be streamlined into a simple process.
Anything that the OCR doesn’t quite understand can be flagged for manual checking, but good Digital Mailroom technology uses AI to continuously improve the accuracy of document classification and data extraction, reducing the number of flags as time goes on.
In terms of security, when you outsource the entire scanning operation to a GDPR compliant third party, you will also minimise human error from your internal teams. You are placing your trust in a specialist that has optimised their operation over several years.
3. Digital Mailroom plugs the gaps in customer journeys
While a digital mailroom takes care of all inbound communications, it is only one part of the customer communications process. Fortunately, a digital mailroom solution can integrate with other parts of your customer communications management suite to increase efficiency across the entire customer experience.
For faster two-way conversations, alongside a digital mailroom your organisation can utilise solutions such as Hybrid Mail for multi-channel, ad-hoc responses or send out secure, high-volume transactional emails and SMS.
By plugging these gaps in the customer journey, you also prevent customers calling into the contact centre requesting updates on the status of their applications, complaints and approvals.
4. Digital Mailroom brings multiple channels into a single workflow
In many organisations, employees and departments process communications across multiple inbound channels. Siloed channels mean siloed responsibilities, inconsistent messaging and lengthy response times. Even email response times can mean it takes days for customers to receive a reply, returning them to the back of the queue after each interaction and souring the relationship.
With a single workflow, a digital mailroom ensures everything gets to recipients quicker in a much less fragmented way.
By streamlining all your inbound communications, whether physical or digital, gathering and presenting them in a single location, usually in a remotely accessible portal. This means that hybrid workers can instantly access their mail, no matter where they are, and respond to communications much more quickly.
Multiple departments can rely on a single customer view – CRMs can ingest data from your digital mailroom, or you can even use your digital mailroom solution as its own case management system. This makes life much easier for customer agents who can use this data to understand how your organisation has already interacted with the customer, boosting productivity.
Setting up this workflow aspect requires only limited IT involvement. Your solution provider co-creates business rules with your operations and mailroom teams, and IT only needs oversight when integrating data flows between digital mailroom and your CRM.
5. Digital Mailroom is flexible to requirements
Digital Mailroom is not simply an off-the-shelf solution. There are levels of complexity in every operation, and a good vendor will be able to offer automation only where it’s needed rather than pushing for a complete overhaul.
This means implementation can be tactical, and pinpoint parts of the mailroom operation for optimisation.
For example, depending on the volume of your inbound communications, you may not want to outsource your scanning/data capture, and only implement the workflow solution that helps you classify and allocate documents.
Or, if you prefer more manual control over mail allocation, you can automate the classification and capture, but forgo programming business rules and have a team manually assign your communications.
Even the programming of business rules itself can be as simple or complex as is necessary. Say you want to automatically assign all complaints to the complaints department. You can add as many contingencies as you like. For example, automatically assigning them unless they are from a certain type of customer, or in a certain customer journey.
If you have wide ranging levels of volume, you can also set the logic to be dynamic. On any given day, if incoming mail suddenly shoots up, priorities can be set so that one type of communication is classified and allocated above all others.
The Result: Speed, efficiency and resilience
A digital mailroom ensures faster responses and turnaround times in your customer communications and minimises calls into the contact centre, saving time and money. With fewer mistakes and a fully auditable history, it makes for a more coherent and resilient operation, with control and oversight over every stage.
A digital mailroom is a giant leap in speed and efficiency, but it is also as flexible as you would like it to be. It’s a solution that will improve your business’ operations, your employee experience and ultimately, the customer experience.