Summary: Print and mail vendors are hungry for your business and are willing to drop prices just to get you as a client. But as the old saying goes: You get what you pay for. In this RevSpring white paper other considerations should be taken account, such as a vendor’s experience, security certifications, expertise, and data management technology. While the cost savings may not be apparent upfront they can lead to long-term cash flow improvement through efficient and streamlined processes.
In today’s aggressive business services environment, it is often hard to tell when the quoted price of a product or service is nothing more than smoke and mirrors instead of true value. In the accounts receivable management (ARM) industry, these tactics continue to play out, leading many companies to require business intelligence in order to justify a product’s price and value proposition.
Business intelligence is defined as a set of skills, applications, technologies and practices used by businesses to gather, store, access and analyze data to aid in decision making. Business intelligence tools such as information strategy, data warehousing, data mining and information analytics help harness information, transforming data into insight.
For example: what role does business intelligence play in a winning low bid? Will the purchaser actually save money with the low per-letter bid? Not necessarily. Does the bid price give the purchaser all the information he needs to make the right decision?
Data Hygiene Vs. Cheap Letter Printing
The business intelligence of today’s debt collection industry has become so advanced that experienced print and mail companies can reduce the number of letters mailed by up to 15 percent by using superior data hygiene tools. The reduction in letters mailed is usually more than enough to make up for the “bargain” price of a low-bid print and mail outsourcer that could be mailing letters to invalid addresses, which are destined to be returned.
Each year, data management technology in the debt collection industry becomes more robust, and enhanced technology tools are available to help receivables communication companies improve business intelligence and the accuracy of client data. Most outsourcers have access to the full range of data management tools. But, just having access to the tools doesn’t guarantee high-quality business intelligence, and it won’t ensure the tools will be properly and most beneficially used on the client’s behalf.
The missing link in many business intelligence systems is the human intelligence and experience necessary to provide superior data accuracy and relevance, enabling the implementation of the most appropriate business intelligence strategies. How can an ARM or credit and collections company make the right choice? What are the attributes of a true value added outsourcer? An outsource partner with excellent business intelligence possesses a real understanding of the client’s business; demonstrates sound judgment based upon experience; and has created superior business processes.
In serving the ARM industry, knowledge is power. Receivables communication companies that operate most effectively not only have an array of data management tools at their disposal, but also knowledge of the client, its business strategies and the industry’s particular data needs. The experienced company understands that even the most powerful data management tool may be more appropriate for some industries than others; more beneficial in certain business or market circumstances; and more cost effective in combination with – or in replacement of – other data management solutions. Such understanding is critical when creating a system that delivers a consistent return on investment.
While each industry has specific operating methods that distinguish its business needs and processes from any other, the most successful print and mail companies have experience and mastery across a range of businesses. Serving clients in a variety of industries enables print and mail companies to become intimately familiar with the distinct challenges of those industries but also affords them the perspective to recognize similar scenarios requiring common solutions. These companies are adept at solving data management problems faster and more accurately because, through their experience, they know the right questions to ask. And, the variety of experience helps prepare the broad-based receivables communication company for the continually evolving range of data management solutions.
For example, receivables communication companies with years of experience in the ARM market have developed advanced skip tracing resources and technology that can optimize mailing results. This includes skip tracing collection support services with “identify” and “locate” modules. The “identify” module includes telephone number confirmation/append, demographic data enhancement, Electronic Directory Assistance, deceased notification and bankruptcy alerts. The “locate” service provides additional critical features resulting in maximum possible “find” rates and the return of useful information including social security number search, surname-only search, address-only search and nearbys. Other services include Planet Code Tracking, Mailstream Confirmation Online, Destination CONFIRM® and Origin CONFIRM®. Companies with this technology have found that such experience and knowledge provide a competitive edge when working with clients in other industries, such as healthcare and financial services – a competitive edge that often translates into data accuracy improvements of up to 10 percent and decreased mailing costs of eight percent or more.
Proprietary technologies and processes also give a business an edge. Some accounts receivables services outsourcers have developed such processes, for example, in working with the Coding Accuracy Support System/Machine Accuracy Support System (CASS™/ MASS™) and National Change of Address (NCOA) to maximize results in running client files through the United States Postal Service (USPS). Some even benchmark their own outsource partners – as often as quarterly – to ensure they are getting the most accurate and reliable data possible and the greatest value.
Some processes are not being utilized by many business process outsourcers. For example, the most successful receivables communication companies format client data files to conform to USPS standards before utilizing their CASS and NCOA software to correct and modify the data. This results in more accurate data and far higher rates of successfully delivered mail pieces.
The best receivables management companies also have back-end processes that serve as checks and balances to help their clients comply with regulatory guidelines, preventing possible fines or law suits. Such processes serve to improve collection rates while minimizing potential fines for illegal business practices.
So, while price is an important factor for most companies faced with purchasing an outsourced business service, the potential vendors’ business intelligence is quickly gaining acceptance as a reliable indicator of a successful partnership. And today’s business intelligence combines state-of-the-art technologies with talented, broadly experienced people who recognize a broad range of data management challenges and can confidently recommend the most cost-effective solution for the client.
RevSpring was formed by the merger of DANTOM Systems, PSC Info Group, Data Image and BestBill. Its core service offerings include data hygiene and analytics, secure document creation and delivery, multi-channel communications, electronic billing and archival services and online payment tools, all while ensuring compliance with regulatory guidelines.
RevSpring holds the industry’s most exacting security certifications including PCI DSS Level 1, HIPAA/HITECH, SSAE 16 and SOC 2, Type II and maintains rigorous legislative and regulatory compliance programs. It serves a large and diverse customer base across the receivables management, healthcare, financial services, home services and other end-markets.