By Jeff Hechemy
Father: “Have you ever seen a mailroom? No? Wow… listen, it’s a place where mail from all over the world comes, and they sort it out there, see? And you can touch it all, and they put it in these shiny bins.”
Son: “Oh, I don’t think this is the place my dad was talking about. Is there a different mailroom? It’s not very shiny.”
I know, I know, it’s too early to be quoting holiday films, but Buddy the Elf was right, the mailroom is not what it used to be. Companies are moving beyond sorting and bins to new tools that automate handling and screening, determine the document type (e.g. new contract, renewal, purchase order, invoice or letter), extract the important content, and forward it directly into databases that update and respond with outbound communications.
The mailroom described by Buddy’s father is labor-intensive, and risky – where mishandled and lost communications can impact cash flow, client loyalty, compliance and litigation.
Today’s digital mailrooms are a competitive advantage – the ability to process information quickly, accurately, securely, and efficiently is a key to cash flow, client acquisition, retention and ultimately, profitability.
Here’s how I might describe a document’s trip through today’s shiny new mailroom to Buddy:
Mail is funneled into a digital capture and distribution center
Your first stop is the digital capture and distribution center. In the old mailroom, other pieces of correspondence and related documents might end up spread out across multiple mailrooms. But here, no matter where you came from or what format you came in, you and all the other documents arrive at one digital location—completely secure thanks to advancements in cloud technology.
This isn’t just good for you. It also helps to reduce staffing costs and makes end-to-end management much easier.
Documents are sorted, scanned, indexed and classified via Optical Character Recognition (OCR)
Once you’ve arrived at the digital capture and distribution center, your content will be extracted automatically while you’re recognized and transformed into an intelligent digital document. This makes you much easier to track, duplicate and integrate into business processes so that you’ll never get lost. It also makes it easier for you and all the documents related to you to stick together. So industries such as insurance are able to provide a faster turnaround time on claims and other transactions.
Electronic forms are rapidly routed and made available in a hosted document repository
Next, before you even know what’s happening, you’re off to your final destination. While documents in other mailrooms might sit for days on end, maybe even get lost, misfiled or stuffed into an uncomfortable bag and taken on a long ride, you feel like you just got whisked through a revolving door. You barely got a glimpse of what was “in” before you were right back “out” again. And, even more disorienting, you’re now seeing double because you’re suddenly accessible and viewable from multiple work locations at the same time.
You shoot directly to where you’re needed most, moving effortlessly through automated workflows while simultaneously stored in a hosted repository. You’re safe, yet easily accessible for anyone with the right permission. This is especially handy to the credit card industry, where it helps companies capture info, check for fraud and turn around decisions within as little as two hours to let clients know if their application has been accepted.
Once you’ve arrived at your final destinations, you take a (digital) breath. You’re content. Because despite the speed of your trip, there’s no doubt that you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be.
So while I’m still early for holiday shopping and holiday movies, with so much at stake, be sure a shiny new digital mailroom is on your wish list when it comes to efficiently and effectively handle incoming documents and information — and mail-based customer engagement.