Print and mail are still critical activities for any business that develops a significant amount of customer communication. However, it’s likely not one of your core competencies. That’s why many choose to outsource. If that’s your current situation, you’ll want to follow these steps to find the best print and mail outsourcing vendor.
New to Outsourcing or Replacing a Vendor?
First, there are two paths to being in this position. You may be new to outsourcing, finally determining that closing your in-plant no longer made financial sense. Or you have a vendor that isn’t meeting your needs. That can often be the case when a vendor doesn’t specialize in transactional mail.
No matter the motivation, there are certain things to zero in on to find the right fit. The first is the company’s experience level. As noted above, are they transactional pros? Or part-time ones.
This matters because transactional mail ties to compliance. There is no room for error when sending things like statements, healthcare communications, or collection letters. A lack of experience also typically means they don’t have the equipment necessary to be excellent at transactional. The key to that is inserters that track every letter into every envelope.
Print Options: Full Color and Dynamic
Statements and mission-critical communications often receive a better response when they are in color. Yet, many are stuck with black and white only. When comparing vendors, be sure that full color is an option and is affordable.
Other critical criteria for assessment is the equipment and technology they have. There are several aspects to this:
You’re looking for equipment that enables the dynamic printing of statements and letters. A robust transactional print and mail expert enables custom messaging. That’s because of inkjet printers that can print a different file on every piece of white paper. It could include a variety of things from cross-selling promotions, how to pay, or essential updates.
This dynamic approach to messaging also means there are no templates pre-printed, costing money to store.
High-tech inserters track that every piece of paper goes into the right envelope. Smart insertion tracks every piece with barcode scanning and camera recording. This is how you achieve accuracy in operations.
Another tech feature is tracking from the time you send the data to the printer to the customer getting the letter. The solution uses USPS Intelligent Mail Barcode (IMB). Follow every communication throughout its phases.
Compliance and Data Security Must Be Pillars
When evaluating a print and mail outsourcing vendor, compliance review is a must. There is no other alternative. So, you need to be confident in their processes. You can verify this by determining if they meet specific industry requirements, such as HIPAA, HITRUST, and FISMA.
Additionally, those that have SOCI & II recognize those organizations meeting or exceeding security thresholds.
Due diligence on compliance and security for your provider is non-negotiable. If a company doesn’t have the certifications and procedures to back this up, you’ll need to think twice.
In lockstep with compliance, must be robust data security. Research how they receive data and if it follows security best practices, using encryption, firewalls, and Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS). Also, physical security matters, so the facilities should have permissions in place to only allow certain people in production areas.
Business continuity for companies that send mission-critical communication includes ensuring these keep running. When looking at a vendor, ask about their physical redundancy. Most have two locations in different areas to ensure processes keep moving in the face of a natural disaster or other interruption.
A provider’s ability to adapt and continue to deliver on expectations is crucial in any vendor relationship.
Your Print and Mail Outsourcing Vendor—PCI Group
With decades of experience, the latest technology, and a singular focus on transactional print and mail, PCI Group is a partner to many. We treat your communication operations as if they were our own, ensuring compliance, protection, and high quality.