March 3, 2017

We Offer Paperless Delivery Options Today. Why Do I Need Digital Mailbox Services?

Digital delivery of transactional business documents isn’t new. It is hard to pinpoint when the first delivery of business documents happened electronically, but here at Crawford Technologies we have been helping our customers in that space since 1996. As the industry has evolved and changed, including the advent of new technology, the differences between e-presentment … Continue reading “We Offer Paperless Delivery Options Today. Why Do I Need Digital Mailbox Services?”

Digital delivery of transactional business documents isn’t new. It is hard to pinpoint when the first delivery of business documents happened electronically, but here at Crawford Technologies we have been helping our customers in that space since 1996. As the industry has evolved and changed, including the advent of new technology, the differences between e-presentment and new Digital Mailbox Service offerings has become confusing for many print and mail providers. It has led to people asking the question: Is e-delivery/paperless delivery the same as or different than Digital Mailbox Services (DMS)?

The short answer is that they are very different. Their commonality is that they present users with electronic versions of what - three decades ago - would have only been delivered in print. Paperless delivery in recent decades has become synonymous with e-delivery or e-presentment of bills and other critical customer communications. In the current market, this means that bank X asks you to opt-in to paperless delivery and receive your bill via their online portal. Generally, this is followed up with an email to let you know that you have a new invoice each billing cycle. Of course, your paper statement is then turned off or suppressed.

The challenge for the billers is that this has not translated to significant adoption rates. The industry agrees that the rate of adoption has leveled off between 11-15%. Without growth, it is hard to invest more into the deployment of paperless initiatives. In addition, many customer service centers have seen rises in call volume due to customers not being able to get their bill. If a customer doesn’t know about an invoice they can’t pay it. The snowball effect then causes problems in the accounts receivable. The result is mixed experiences, some more negative than others, from consumers.

This has led to a burning question: Why should I invest in DMS when we have invested in our own e-delivery web site? In the current paperless environment most customers have to opt-in with each company that is providing them a bill or statement. This means that you have to sign-up for paperless at bank X, credit card Y and auto insurance Z. You have to log into each one individually and figure out where all your information is because the interfaces are all different. Moreover, companies may only choose to archive your previous bills for a certain period time.

To the consumer it means that they then have to back up their statements or print and file them to be sure they are available if they need them beyond the bank’s document retention policy. All of a sudden, the paperless equation might not be so paperless and if they are printing on a desktop printer at home it is now costing the consumer money to print them, and precious time every month to file them.

Digital Mailbox Services (DMS) change the equation. With a DMS both the mailer and consumer benefit. The mailer can see significant cost savings from increased paperless customers. The consumer can access all of their business mail from a single point that offers lifetime archiving, bill payment functions, customer support and more. For the consumer it is the single sign up and sign on that makes the service attractive. Then of course, iPad apps like the one from Zumbox are making the consumer experience into something they really want.

From the mailer’s perspective there is a potential of significant cost savings. Current industry research estimates that 7% of transactional documents could go paperless via DMS by 2015, which represents $2 billion in savings from reduced printing and mailing. The challenge is predicting the DMS provider that will be the clear winner in the market so that you can attract the most customers. With three providers today, soon to be four, the market is up for grabs.

This is where Crawford Technologies challenges mailers to lead the charge and help increase consumer adoption rates while taking advantage of cost savings. PRO Channel Manager, announced in March 2012, offers mailers the ability to manage customer document delivery preferences for all DMS services and other delivery channels. The result is taking the need to choose a single DMS service out of the equation.

Let’s break it down. If each of the four services get 25% of the market, and the mailer chooses to work with one of them, then the mailer will achieve only 25% of the savings they could achieve if they signed up to all four services. With PRO Channel Manager, you can match your mail recipients with the service each has chosen to use, and maximize your savings. PRO Channel Manager and the DMS services do all the heavy lifting. Why not get the benefits from four DMS services for the price of one?

And if one of the DMS services does dominate the market, you will have integrated with it using the most cost-effective and sophisticated tools available in the market far ahead of many other mailers.

If your business is that of a Print Service Provider, there are several special concerns. First, you will be able to pass savings on to your customers, giving your customers more reasons to work with you. You will also want to offer DMS support as a service providing you with some profitable revenue. If you have multiple customers, you will have more reason to integrate with multiple DMS services in order to provide your customers with the best options for each of them and their document recipients.

As you can see the paperless, e-presentment and e-delivery solutions of yesterday just isn’t the same.