The 5 myths of a digital mailroom
There are many myths around the digital mailroom, and in our conversations with customers who are considering the move, we have gained a good insight into those doubts. Here is a quick rundown of five of the myths that might prevent you from taking advantage of the digital mailroom - debunked!
1. It is not an outsource - you can’t just make the problem go away
Imagine the scene, The Board of your company are meeting, tensions are running high, there are huge stakes on the line and the Chief Marketing Officer asks,
“So, what shall we do with the views, opinions and vital communications from our customers?”.
All eyes bore into the CMO and the Chief Operating Officer pipes up
“I suggest we make them go away”. What! Really?
“Yes, this is all part of my masterplan” Says the COO, “last year we outsourced our call centres, so that our customers know that we really value them - They can wait on hold for the next scripted appeasement. This year we are going to send all their written post to a Business Process Outsourcer, eventually we won’t have to have anything to do with them at all!”.
“Wait a minute!” the Chief Technology Officer chimes in, “Our customers still write to us on email and I’m in charge of systems", then the CMO cuts in ...
“…yes, and if they contact us through the website or chatbots then I am in charge of that!”
At this point a non-exec Director coughs politely to get attention, all eyes turn to them,
“So we are saying that if a customer wants to email us, this is controlled by IT, if they want to call us this is outsourced, if they want to interact with our website this is Marketing, and if they now want to physically mail us something - this is going to be done by an external BPO provider?”
A pause then three people confirm, “Yes”.
The Non-Exec continues “… and the reason for this extraordinary meeting is the falling sales and falling profitability of the company, and how we need to connect more to our customers and get them to spend more?” ……
You get the idea. Now I am the first one to see the sense in what Peter Drucker suggested – ‘Do what you do best and outsource the rest’. But there can be such a headlong rush to make the mailroom go away that the baby goes out in the bathwater. Every organisation is different and how you need to interact with your ‘customer’ will vary, but you cannot at any cost lose touch with the views, opinions, or feelings of the people who pay for your lunch or they will outsource you and go to another more responsive and caring provider.
How your customers talk to you and on what channel is part of your lifeblood. Which brings me onto the next Myth….
2. It isn't just paper
A Digital Mailroom is not just about paper. Sure, we think of the mailroom as where the post comes in. So, a Digital Mailroom is the department that used to open the post and send it around on carts, but now with a scanner, right? No, not at all. Todays’ customer wants 24 x 7 access to you on whatever channel suits them best at that moment. If they want to call you, email you, message you, chatbot you, physically write to you or interact with your website, then that is what they are going to do. Or else they will write about you on social media or most terrifying (for the Oscar Wilde fans), just not talk about you at all. Smart organisations know this and focus their investments into multi or omnichannel technologies. Departments work together to best serve the customer and the same intelligence is used to understand emails, documents uploaded to the web, or physically sent in and encapsulated in an envelope.
An intelligent Digital Mailroom connects to all communication channels and understands what the customer is trying to say to us and responds instantly and helpfully. The best companies invest in technology to help them.
3. Technology is better than people
OK, that hurt to write. But for certain things, technology is just better than humans. I don’t think humans evolved for tens of thousands of years to end up as drones keying data into a Back-end system e.g. a CRM. With smart Digital Mailrooms from companies like Kofax, customers can communicate at any time of day or night and get instant feedback. These tools can read email headers, body messages, attachments, scanned mail, uploaded documents to the website, updates to portals etc and using decades of AI, NLP and Machine Learning understand what a document is and what needs to be done and task process bots to do it and at the same time keep your team and your customers in the loop. Machines can do this for millions of transactions and never tire or need a holiday. When they aren’t sure what to do, they can reach out to a human to help them and learn from the advice given.
Imagine you sent an email at midnight and get an near-instant response, thanking you for your email and attachments, saying they have now got your driving license, your application form and all the data looks to be in good order so are delighted accept you as a customer and have pleasure in sending you a welcome pack to read. Wow, in under 60 seconds, that is amazing. With technology this smart, no wonder they have time to pick up the phone when we call and actually speak to people.
But machines aren’t perfect and this is where we need people in the loop.
4. People are better than technology
There are some things that people are just better at and usually, this is based on the need for human judgment. An automated Digital Mailroom can deliver wonderful results, but it needs to be trained by your people and ingest the culture and decisions that you make. In this way, all the predictable and boring work can be done by technology and we can be humans and called specialists or consultants when something unusual comes up. The machine can ask the human for help and learn from the answers and codify, systemise and create a standard operating procedure from the answer. Also, as a customer, we want our providers to invest in the best technology to aid us, but when we need them, we want access to people too. Imagine knowing that just about anything you want can be automated but if you need them the provider will have a person on the phone in a couple of rings. Awesome. I want to buy more from these guys and invest in them.
5. It isn't a destination, it's a journey
My final myth is that a Digital Mailroom is something that is static or finished. You are never finished learning or improving your service, you never finish making the customer experience better and you need built-in management information that shows you what is working and what isn’t and where to focus your efforts for improvement going forwards.
If you choose the right technology the Benefits are compelling and just keep getting better and better
Typical Results from a Digital Mailroom Strategy;
- Increase in customer satisfaction
- Increase in Staff satisfaction.
- Increase in operational efficiency
- Increase in speed, accuracy, and control
- Compliance and standard operating procedure are automated and monitored throughout
- You can scale quickly to demand
- You are Agile and flexible. You can out-source or in-source scanning, while you have your intelligent mailroom read the results just like emails , web traffic - and in this way you can cope with major changes like Covid, or more positively, mergers and acquisitions or fluctuations in business levels.
- Internal costs reduce allowing you to compete and win more business at a higher margin
- Staff are focused on value-added knowledge work and automation and robotics eliminate manual tasks.
I have cut a lot of detail out of this post to keep it short. With over a decade of experience in designing and delivering these Digital Mailroom automation, it is very hard to get across all the wonderful things you can expect and all the pitfalls to avoid along the way. If you are in the UK and want to explore the themes and topics in this post, reach out to me and I will be happy to chat. If you are outside the UK please do so as well as over the years I have built up an address book of some very clever people all over the world. If you loved this article, let me know and I will write more and if you hated it, let me know so I can try to make it better for you next time.
Until the next Blog ...
Want to know more?
Twofold Ltd assists businesses to overcome these challenges with our range of mailroom and data solutions. From mailroom equipment, scanning and capture, to document management and full digital transformation, contact us via the form here, or give the team a call on 0118 951 9800.
Digital Mailroom Specialist