Email, messaging and other forms of digital communication have become increasingly popular with customers in recent times. Many more people will have ‘gone digital’ over the past year as they adapted to conditions that favoured online. For companies, and therefore Print Service Providers (PSPs) and mailing houses, this accelerates the need to support hybrid mail - digital as well as highly-varied printed mailings – to protect existing revenue streams and generate new opportunities.

This is the second in our blog series examining how PSPs can reinvent themselves as ‘print and mail providers’ to be ready for digital while maintaining the print side of business. The first explored how the industry can survive and thrive in times of change. Here, we deep dive into the importance of hybrid mail and how technology and equipment can ease the transition.

Why is hybrid mail important?

According to a McKinsey survey, the digitisation of companies’ customer and supply chain interactions and internal operations has been accelerated by three to four years. However, when it comes to communications, that shift to digital must be weighed up against other facts. Among them, the nearly two million over-75s in England who remain digitally excluded, according to Age UK.

Clearly, companies need broad and flexible communications strategies that embrace digital channels but maintain physical mail for customers who prefer it.

For print and mail providers, that means hybrid mail, an offering that maintains high standards in the print and distribution of physical mailers, but that also supports digital within core business.

Many companies have already expressed their intention to maintain higher levels of homeworking after the present crisis has passed. Processes that tie workers to the office to print and send customer communications will be at odds with this strategy. Print and mail providers that offer digital and physical mail fulfilment across a range of job types are best placed to provide the services these companies need.

How to transition from mailing house to print and mail provider?

A transition from a traditional offering to an expanded portfolio of services won’t happen overnight. It will involve building capabilities across people, process and technology.

To scope the changes involved, consider the demands that will be placed on your business as a hybrid mail provider. You will need to: 

  1. support ‘click to post’, whereby work comes in digitally and is printed and issued as physical mailings.
  2. send digital communications in a range of electronic formats.
  3. provide quality and security standards with safeguards that ensure the right person receives each communication.
  4. measure output and deliver comprehensive client reports.
  5. track undelivered items and take any required action, such as immediately issuing the communication through another channel.
  6. equip clients to deliver on customer experience goals. When analyst firm Aspire examined the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on corporate objectives, it discovered a 21 per cent increase in the importance of improving the customer experience. One way to do this in communications is to personalise content, which might mean more complex jobs and fewer one-size-fits all bulk print runs.

The right mix of equipment and software enables print and mail providers to seamlessly deliver print, digital and hybrid jobs at scale, and to switch rapidly between each with minimal downtime.

Automation helps reduce the burden of manual tasks on staff, minimises errors in the compilation of mailings, and supports a clear audit trail with transparency across mail runs. Enclosing equipment, that automates the folding of documents and insertion of them into envelopes, frees up staff for significant efficiency and productivity improvements.

Meanwhile, a platform that manages the creation and sending of tailored communications through all channels equips print and mail providers to streamline production and deliver on accuracy.

Look out for the next blog in this print and mail providers series. Until then, discover how high-volume intelligent folder inserters help meet the demands of a print production environment and how to manage outbound documents through Quadient Impress.

David Spruce

David Spruce

Enterprise Mail Business Development Manager, UK (North)

David is a business-to-business communications specialist, delivering solutions for companies’ digital and physical customer communications. David’s focus is on helping businesses grow their customer offerings, access new revenue streams and improve efficiencies.

David has over 35 years’ experience in production environments across advanced print and post systems, including hardware, software and customised maintenance packages built around enterprises’ needs and service level agreement commitments.

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