There was a time when document center managers were mainly focused on finding ways to produce higher volumes of documents at the lowest possible cost. Today, though managing production and postal costs remain important, the best way to save money with transactional documents isn’t producing them more cheaply. The biggest gains are likely to be found in benefits to corporate functions outside document operations.

    What is driving this shift in emphasis? Well, digital migration is part of it. Even though they are still a favorite among consumers, paper statements, bills, and notices are not on a growth path. Fewer documents to produce means per-piece cost reduction tactics have less financial impact and are offset by fixed costs like facilities, equipment, and maintenance.

    Also, the number of cost-trimming opportunities has dwindled. Document centers have spent decades driving costs out of their production workflows. Any remaining savings opportunities are relatively small or they require a substantial change in operational workflow, such as switching from pre-printed cut-sheets to roll-fed white paper. Few large operations still have easy opportunities for massive postage reductions or large operational efficiencies. Most of those savings have been realized.

    Improve Customer Experiences and Save Money

    Companies are saving money through documents today by using them to accomplish such goals as reducing calls to customer service, fostering customer loyalty, or doing a better job at up-selling and cross-selling.

    Transactional documents have always been important customer touchpoints. Customers expect these communications, open them over 90% of the time, and act when the mail pieces arrive. No other corporate messaging has this level of influence. Taking advantage of the power of these documents is the secret to adding value to the organization through customer communications.

    Customer-Friendly Documents

    There are many approaches an organization can take to achieve these goals. For instance, redesigning some documents might be in order if customer service consistently has spikes in call volume following bill and statement distribution. If companies can reduce confusion by making some document modifications the organization can handle more calls with fewer people and reduce expenses. Replacing boilerplate terms and conditions with product/customer/location-specific wording may be helpful. Changing line item descriptions or adding informational text or graphics to the pages could be another improvement easy to implement.

    Does your company have online self-help videos, tutorials, or FAQ’s? Is there an online chat capability? Emphasizing these options on the documents or printing QR codes linking to self-help resources can redirect some of those calls coming to customer service to less-expensive information sources.

    Put Unused Space to Work

    Using data already recorded, modern document composition software can offer specific customers a special discount, suggest upgrades, or introduce appropriate new products. Using white space management capabilities and digital printers one can print offers or messages relevant to each customer right on the documents at practically no extra expense. With this functionality marketers can link offers to individual customers and track which people respond, thereby triggering follow-up or fulfillment activities.

    Positive changes in customer behavior such as faster payment, additional purchases, referrals, or renewals are much more valuable to corporate executives than small reductions in bill printing expenses. In most companies, document operations can make their greatest contributions to their company’s most important goals by improving the messages they send to customers.

    David Day, EDP brings over 32 years of experience in the document management & mail industry. As an active member of Xplor for over 17 years, David frequently presents at local and global Xplor meetings. He has also been a guest speaker at various company user and industry groups including National Postal Forum, Graph Expo and Mailcom. David, Product Marketing Manager at CrawfordTech, is responsible for worldwide for their Enterprise Output Management Products. He works with customers, prospects, sales and product development to identify customer requirements, evaluate solutions and make product recommendations