6 Reasons to Consider Outsourced Print and Mail Services for Your Utility Bills

by | May 23, 2023 | News, Utility Trends

Four out of every five utilities we speak to are frustrated with the process they use to print and mail bills to customers. Common threads include delivery delays due to practices or shortages at their local post office, increasing expenses, dealing with postcards, and customer complaints due to errors from the manual print and mail process.

Utilizing a company that specializes in print and mail services can help reduce these and other common pain points. Here are six reasons to consider outsourcing your print and mail services:

  1. Efficiency: Print and mail providers have specialized equipment and processes and a dedicated staff allowing them to print and mail bills faster, more accurately, and of higher quality than a standard utility company could on its own. They are also well-equipped to handle large amounts of data and can manage customer databases with ease. As a result, the utility can become more efficient by offloading such tasks as statement printing and folding, envelope stuffing, and mailing so employees can focus on critical, time-sensitive projects and other items needing greater attention.
  2. Better mailability: The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has guidelines for the design and format of mail to ensure efficient processing. A seasoned outsourced mailer is more likely to have experience dealing with any issues that could arise during the mail process, including changes to postal regulations. Some types of mail, such as postcards, may not meet these guidelines and must be processed individually, which can slow down delivery. Furthermore, postcard bills are often damaged by USPS machinery, as even a fold, rip, or bend could result in information becoming illegible. Even a simple smudge caused by a mail handler or by one droplet of water could be problematic for the recipient. By using enveloped mail through a print and mail provider, utilities can avoid these potential pitfalls and ensure more reliable delivery.
  3. Flexibility: Outsourced print and mail providers provide a wide range of printing options, ensuring the process meets all possible needs of the average utility. Outsourcing also allows utility companies to quickly adjust to changes in billing volume and handle peak periods more efficiently because they aren’t bogged down by the print and mail process. This avenue also offers more flexibility when it comes to custom messaging – versus postcards, for example, that provide almost no real estate for important messages from the utility.
  4. Cost savings: Outsourced printing and mailing can result in a reduction in expenses regarding labor and benefits, equipment, supplies, and postage — with the price of each continuing to rise each year. Utilities can avoid the capital and maintenance costs associated with owning and operating printing and mailing equipment, and they can reduce labor costs by shifting in-house staff to more productive and beneficial tasks. And the utility will be less affected by runaway “stampflation” since outsourced providers take advantage of bulk mailing discounts, passing those savings on to the utility via lower rates.
  5. Increased customer privacy: Using enveloped mail through an outsourced print and mail provider may better safeguard customer data. When bills are lost or sent to the wrong address due to a mishap at the office, it poses a serious privacy risk. However, by outsourcing, utilities can reduce this risk – piggybacking off the experience and fine-tuned processes of the dedicated print and mail provider. Billing through postcards also poses a privacy threat, as sensitive personal information such as address, account numbers, and usage data can be easily viewed by anyone who comes across the postcard. Any of this information could potentially be used for identity theft.
  6. Improved customer service: All these combine to provide a better experience for utility customers. Along with special projects and other items needing attention, by outsourcing print and mail services, utility companies can free up more time to focus on their core business and provide better customer service. And customers will generally receive their bills faster, which means they’re less likely to receive late payment fees or have service disconnected due to late or non-payment.

Delegating your print and mail services to a third party can be an effective way to reduce a variety of time-eaters and stressors and eliminate some negative consequences of doing it yourself. It offers several major benefits that’ll impact the utility’s morale, effectiveness, and bottom line.

By choosing to outsource these tasks, utility companies can provide better customer service, safeguard customer data, avoid rising expenses associated with in-house printing and mailing, and benefit from the flexibility, expertise, and efficiency that comes with utilizing a company specialized in these services.

Outsourcing doesn’t have to be a dirty word — especially when it results in a better experience for both the utility and its customers.

Have questions about our outsourced print and mail services? Click the button below to schedule time to discuss this and other features that make up our Utility Process Management (UPM) ecosystem. We’re confident you’ll find that this will result in a much-improved experience for your staff and customers as well!

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