Myself and colleagues at Imprimus recently attended the annual UK Credit & Collections Conference and enjoyed the opportunity to meet with a range of key contacts within the financial services industry.
During the networking periods, I was lucky enough to have dialogue with the majority of organisations who attended this event. My goal was to introduce Imprimus as a potential future supplier of outsourced lettering and digital mail services for their business but most importantly, I was keen to understand the attributes these DCA`s were looking for in an outsource partner.
Interestingly, the common response I received during the various conversations yielded a similar response similar - “Craig, there are many organisations out there that would like our business, however there are a range of criteria required to enable us to consider a supplier change or a move from in-house to outsourcing”. I was interested in understanding more about this criteria so asked the relevant decision makers to expand on the specific elements :-
- Trust and Integrity – DCA`s need to trust the supplier, not just from the point of sale but from the account management and day to day customer care. The outsource partner ideally acts as an extension to the DCA and works as an ongoing partnership.
- Costs – the cost of producing and mailing a customer communication is a top 5 cost to a DCA, it is important to minimise this cost and maximise value wherever possible.
- Accredited - ISO accreditations such as ISO27001 (Information Security), IS09001(Quality) and ISO22301 (Business Continuity Management) are a minimum criteria from the compliance team. Continual and regular auditing of the outsource provider is also to be expected.
- Commercial Relationship – DCA`s are always looking at ways to improve the communication process through new ideas and technological advancements. A regular review (monthly, quarterly or bi-annual) is often desired to help improve the process and ultimately improve response rates.
- Control – DCA`s requires an element of control when it comes to partnering with an outsourced lettering provider. The ability to be flexible with deadlines, control letter changes in real time and quickly set-up new applications are essential as often, critical deadlines are required to met at short notice.
- Consistency of service - inbound call centre traffic is fuelled by outgoing letter and e-communications. Staffing the call centre accordingly is very important! So to ensure a consistent level of traffic, the supplier delivery performance must remain consistent.
- Value added services and future development – An outsourcing partner should offer a range of value services to help automate the lettering service, add value, increase response rates and work to ways to collaboratively reduce costs. The service should evolve to suit future requirements to add value and reduce costs.
- Project Managed approach - A project managed implementation plan is key. Changing supplier can drain resource from the DCA, the more planned a changeover is, the less the “cost of change” will be and in turn more likely to be considered.
- MI Reporting – A DCA will require reports, detailing all of the key factors from the past month with variable parameters to suit. Information such as monthly spend, items, number of communications per app, additional fees are the main elements of interest.
- Knowledge of the sector- DCA`s find comfort from knowing they are outsourcing their communications to a “tried and trusted” provider.
Needless to say, changing or introducing a new supplier/partner into a DCA is a highly important decision to the business. Once all of the above points are noted, there are a finite number of outsource partners who can meet the criteria.
At Imprimus, we are proud meet all of the above points and constantly evolving our offering to add value.