Achieving a Collaborative Approach When Outsourcing Member Communications

In response to a challenging market environment, many credit unions have turned their focus to pursuing initiatives that will provide a continual stream of organizational benefits resulting from improved operational excellence, innovation, and a member-centric approach. One strategy many credit unions have adopted to achieve greater operational excellence is taking advantage of business process outsourcing (BPO) solutions, including print/mail fulfillment.

If done correctly, outsourcing print/mail operations will help enable the innovation, agility and cost containment that will deliver a competitive advantage. By outsourcing the print and mail parts of its operations, a credit union is relieved of the burden of having to manage and conduct a capital-intensive process that is not a strategic focus of its business. In addition to being cost-effective, this frees resources that can be redirected toward innovation and core-business objectives.

While outsourcing print/mail fulfillment has many potential advantages, it is important to ensure that the benefits of outsourcing do not come at the expense of a member-centric communications strategy. One of the main challenges that arises for credit unions when they outsource their business communications is that they potentially risk losing the control, speed to market and relevance of their documents and messages—their main points of contact with the member.

Taking a collaborative approach to outsourcing

There is much to be said for retaining the ability to access and control your organization’s data and documents to create effective communications. Every member contact presents the opportunity to improve the customer experience, tap new markets and differentiate from the competition. And no one is more knowledgeable than your own employees about your current offerings, your communication strategies and the key messaging for your members. That is why a collaborative approach—what we refer to as “outsourcing with control”—is an excellent choice when choosing to outsource credit union communications.

A successful collaborative outsourcing strategy will leverage the power of your non-technical member-facing employees to design, deliver and maintain meaningful personalized customer communications while meeting the business and technical requirements of your print/mail provider to ensure optimum delivery. In this way, you can maintain the flexibility and autonomy to complete interactive, point-of-need, personalized documents for your member base while ensuring accuracy and costs are controlled through centralized production and fulfillment.

Another consideration is having the ability to leverage the power of multichannel campaigns. Whether the recipient likes paper (mail), electronic (e-mail, Internet), mobile devices or a combination of these channels, being able to meet delivery preferences is essential for enhancing the customer experience.  When outsourcing this function, it is critically important to evaluate closely your vendor partner’s capabilities to ensure they can meet client communication needs in the areas of agility, flexibility and control. With policy statements and related correspondence being a vital communication vehicle between a credit union and its members, employing “agile billing”—the ability to maintain flexibility and control of documents while enjoying the cost benefits of outsourcing physical printing and fulfillment—is simply good business.

Ensuring a smooth transition to an outsourced print/mail fulfillment solution

Transitioning from an internal print/mail operation to an outsourced member communication program can be a challenging process. Having a communications management platform that is easily configurable will reduce the time frame for migration of legacy documents and minimize the risk of brand inconsistency during the transition. A platform that is intuitive and easy to use will also lower the learning curve for employees, improving the rate of adoption and minimizing disruptions during the transition.

Communications management platforms are available that eliminate cumbersome, slow manual processes and accelerate time to market. Compliance can be ensured with the ability to include or exclude specific content based on effective dates to support changing regulations. Additionally, having the operational dexterity to make simple changes on individual member communications—and the scalability needed to meet the dynamic requirements of your credit union—enables rapid adaptation to market and regulatory conditions as they occur.

With a collaborative approach to outsourcing member communications, you eliminate the risk of losing control over the responsiveness and relevance of your statements and important member messages. Implementing a well-planned and collaborative customer communications strategy with the right vendor partner will ensure that every communication will not only be cost-effective, but will also take advantage of the opportunity to improve member satisfaction and loyalty.

Steve Francis

Steve Francis

Steve Francis is president and general manager of North America for GMC Software Technology, the leader in Customer Communications Management (CCM) solutions. A former executive at IBM and Ricoh, Mr. ... Web: Details