What is Correspondence Management?
There are few industries that escape the regulatory grasp of federal government. Compliance typically revolves around external communications with customers and regulatory agencies; communications that must be done in a very specific format. Companies that employ a system of logging and tracking all incoming and outgoing correspondence – and granting access on an as-needed basis – streamline their processes to improve efficiency, boost profits and keep regulators at bay.
What is Correspondence Management?
Correspondence Management (CM) refers to amalgamated systems for administering the production, assembly and distribution of business correspondence. Sometimes referred to as Customer Communications Management systems (or CCM for short), these solutions are utilized by corporations and mid-sized businesses, from private investment management companies to federal government agencies like the Department of Justice to fit their specific needs.
CM is not only important for external communication with customers, but also plays a vital role for industries that must adhere to strict directives handed down by state and federal agencies.
Here are three ways Correspondence Management can benefit your business:
- Adhering to Regulatory Compliance
Utilizing a correspondence management tool can help avoid compliance risks in industries with strict regulations and jurisdiction. For example, the 5th Annual Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) Breach Report recorded 164 protected health information (PHI) breaches in 2014. These breaches affected about 9 million patients, representing a 25% increase from 2013.
HIPAA violations are punishable by both civil and criminal penalties that can be crippling to a company. Blue Cross of Tennessee was fined $1.5 million by the Department of Health and Human Services in 2012 for violating privacy and security rules. But when you add in all the other expenses, including the entire investigation and mitigation process, the violations ultimately cost the insurer almost $17 million.
Another example would be financial institutions; as they’re under the jurisdiction of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), utilizing CM solutions removes guesswork and drastically or completely removes potential for human error from the process. The best-trained, most diligent employees in highly-regulated industries cannot be expected to know every amendment put forth annually.
An effective CM tool can be built to each clients’ specific needs based on their already existing processes, and improves and updates them as necessary. CM solutions assist your organization in the timely and accurate creation and distribution of correspondence, and archives everything for auditing purposes later on.
- Using Multichannel Management Communication
Despite email and text messages being the dominant forms of communication between individuals and business colleagues today, physical mail and the fax machine are still either preferred or mandated for many formal correspondence programs. This form of correspondence is frequently external, or focuses on business to consumer. For example, physicians still use faxes quite frequently because many believe it to be more secure than email. Attorneys also like the fact that many jurisdictions accept fax signatures on court documents. Many companies are communicating internally and externally with faxes, direct mail, “official” documentation, and other forms of paper-based communication. While some customers prefer electronic communications, mail is still an effective lead generation and business correspondence method in the 21st century.
Successful companies will be forced to adopt CM solutions in order to cater appropriately to customer preferences, and make appropriate business decisions regarding delivery format. Bad service, particularly inconsistent and/or illegible correspondence, was the primary reason clients dropped their current financial services provider and found new ones. Customizing delivery channels and personalizing correspondence to your customer’s preferences sets your company apart from the competition and builds loyalty for your brand. Your CM tool should act as the most efficient distribution platform for communicating with your customers.
- Increase Bottom Line with Correspondence Management
Compliance prevents hefty fines, while multichannel capabilities provide flexibility in your communications. But it’s the little things that make the biggest impact on your bottom line. Projects that were formerly labor-intensive are now streamlined through automation and centralized management.
A surprising number of businesses continue to spend inordinate amounts of time preparing data and related files for correspondence by utilizing manual, inefficient processes. But with correspondence management software, the time spent on this drops dramatically, from weeks to mere minutes in some cases.
Whether the goal is increased customer engagement or compliance with federal regulations, more control over your communications means more individualized messages created specifically for one unique customer or entity. This builds trust in your brand and shows customers that they are distinct and not lumped together in a group. Existing customers will appreciate the engagement efforts, while new customer will recognize a company dedicated to customer satisfaction.
Strata’s Corspon Correspondence Management tool provides a highly-controlled, user-friendly platform for streamlining and automating the creation and dissemination of your customer communications.
Contact us today to find out how we can help improve your correspondence efforts.
About Jeff Sammak
As president and founder of Strata Company, Jeff Sammak has been a leader in the advanced integration of marketing, data and emerging technologies for over 20 years. He has a deep understanding of complex business challenges and keen ability to translate them to technology-driven solutions that align to a client’s key strategic business objectives. He attended Monmouth College for Business, Jeff enjoys scuba diving, skiing and spending time with his family.