November 5, 2014

Why Do Companies Archive Variations of Customer Correspondence

Recently Crawford Technologies, in partnership with AIIM, the global community for information professionals, conducted a market survey into customer communications archiving practices. The survey questioned 226 respondents 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.

One of the interesting nuggets of information to come out of this survey was that 44% of organizations archive exact facsimiles of customer correspondence while 16% archive variations. This led me to thinking why exactly companies feel the need to archive anything other than a facsimile of the original.

Under law a certified copy is a document, judgment, or record that is signed and attested to as an accurate and a complete reproduction of the original document. Some companies we work with send an original statement or invoice to a customer and then keep a digital version with a ‘COPY’ watermark. (In law a certified copy is admissible as evidence in a lawsuit when the original document cannot be produced because it has been lost or destroyed.)

In the digital world the idea of a watermarked copy becomes redundant because the digital document is both original and a copy at the same time. The key issue in the digital world becomes authenticating the digital copy and this is where digital signatures are far more relevant because we need to demonstrate that the record held in the system is identical to that which the customer received. The trend identified by AIIM is that instead of using ‘COPY’ watermarks in a digital archives, companies are increasingly using either auditing (to prove chain of custody) or adding digital signatures to demonstrate authenticity of digital records.

AIIM’s report is a great place to look at the trends associated with customer correspondence archiving and can be downloaded here.

And look out for our next blog in the “Trends in Customer Communications Archiving” series.

If you haven't read the previous blogs in this series I invite you to read them here:

Introducing All-New Archiving Trends in Customer Communications - CrawfordTech and AIIM Announce the Results of Survey into Trends in Customer Communications Archiving

All-New Archiving Trends in Customer Communications- Statement and Invoices make up 68% of Outbound Correspondence

Trends in Customer Communications - 39% of Organizations Archive Outbound Correspondence

Trends in Customer Communications - 34% of Organizations Cite an 'Ad Hoc' System for Archiving

Trends in Customer Communications - The Top Reasons Companies Keep Correspondence is for Historical Record Keeping

Trends in Customer Communications - Why is the Responsibility for Customer Communications Archiving so Decentralized?