Direct Mail Transparency – Is your Mailing House Accountable?

The quality of your mail is a direct reflection of your business. You need to trust your mailing house will provide a service that does justice to you and your brand.

Most people have faith in their mail orders being produced correctly, but how do you know for sure?

Think about it…

Would you notice if your mailing house failed to print 400 items of your 400,000 item mailing?

These fine margins may seem insignificant, but those 400 items could be the difference between making a profit or a loss.

It may sound far-fetched, but it is increasingly common for direct mail providers to process 95% of an order and pocket the savings from not running the remaining 5%.

Transparency in Direct Mail

Obviously, these issues are in the minority, but it begs the question; Where is the proof?

A good mailing house will be able to provide a number of forms of proof of service on each mailing. At Central Mailing Services, we operate using the following processes for proof of service:

Proof of Print

During the printing process, proofs are provided to account managers from members of the print team. These proofs contain samples of envelopes, contents, letters, data merge fields and more. Proofs are thoroughly checked by account managers to ensure everything is in order before being signed off on. This sign off process enables CMS to explicitly state who signed off what, and when.

Fulfilment Monitoring and Proof

High-tech machine enclosing allows for tracking and monitoring of fulfilment jobs from start to finish.
By using camera matching technology we can document the entire process and prove mail items were enclosed in the correct order. If there is an issue on the line, the process will halt and the machine will not continue until the machine operator addresses the issue.  Additionally, the machinery is able to provide full reporting including errors, pack fixes and requested removals.

Postage Handover Reports

Most mailing houses should be able to provide documentation to confirm they have passed a mailing over to a postage partner or courier for dispatch. This is important as it allows customers to assess the release date of jobs and hold mailing houses accountable for any delays. Postage handover reports can also be used to provide positive feedback for a job well done.

Managing Returns

Most direct mail campaigns have returned mail. Returns usually occur when mail cannot be delivered because of an error with the contact details, such as an outdated address or name.

Returned mail should be minimised where possible as it is not good for your business. Undeliverable mail costs your business through wasted print, packaging and postage. On top of this, the additional wastage harms the environment.

It is important to work with a mailing house that will help you effectively manage your returned mail.

A good mailing house will help track when and why mail is returned and update your data lists accordingly. This will help save your business from unnecessary mailing costs in future and improve your direct mail. In most cases, undeliverable mail can be returned to clients or disposed of in a manner that is both secure and environmentally friendly.

What to look for from your Mailing House

When sending direct mail, try to use mailing houses that are able to provide a fully traceable audit trail from start to finish.

Working closely with your mailing house to monitor print, fulfilment, postage and returns can help improve efficiencies and save money in the long run.

Certifications such as ISO 27001: Information Management and ISO 9001: Quality Management are a good starting point for identifying a quality mailing house. You can also look at customer review sites such as Trustpilot and check for any customer service certifications to use as a benchmark.

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