Recently Crawford Technologies, in partnership with AIIM, the global community for information professionals, conducted a market survey into customer communications archiving practices. 226 respondents were surveyed from North America and Western Europe from a range of sectors including government, banking, insurance, telco/media/utilities and healthcare. The survey provides an insight into the trends affecting customer communication archiving.
AIIM’s conclusion to this report said “there is a seismic shift in the way companies communicate with customers. It is no surprise to learn that the web and electronic delivery are at the center of this change. Effective digital delivery of customer communications is essential in order to compete with those who already leverage digital channels extensively, but unfortunately in many cases these processes are still dealt with in an ad hoc way.” There is no doubt that we are experiencing a massive swing from physical to digital delivery with first-class mail volume plummeting by 30 percent since 2007 and expected to drop by another 40 percent over the next seven years.
The combined use of PDF and PDF/A ensures that archives are protected and accessible by customer and companies for very long periods thanks to international standards. Consolidated archives can help make customer communications archives searchable assets for companies and individuals. And of course digital delivery cuts down on the expense and environmental impact of printing and postage.
We recommend that you follow AIIM advice and look to the benefits of customer communication archives as follows:
• Understand the type of correspondence you send to customer and its value to the business
• Identify the archives where customer correspondence is stored and who is responsible for them
• Identify the various internal and external audiences for customer correspondence and their preferred method of delivery
• Map your current processes to verify how things are done, and where outbound customer correspondence is stored currently
• Develop process improvement options to enhance your operations and support your customer service and compliance needs based on your documented requirements
• Standardize and automate your processes whenever and wherever possible
• Consolidate archives wherever possible, eliminating ROT (redundant, obsolete, and trivial content)
• Select and implement supporting technologies that link archives for a seamless user experience
• Allow on-line customer access to the correspondence archives for self service options through web portals
AIIM and CrawfordTech's report is a great place to look at the trends associated with customer correspondence archiving.