Correspondence Technology

Even though we have a whole section on correspondence, there are many technological advances in this area that should be discussed. From printing to verifying, automation continues to be enhanced. We will take each area of interest and explain some of how it affects your correspondence.

Department Printing

Many government agencies print their own correspondence on printers within their departments.  The process is efficient for agencies with a small to medium amount of correspondence being generated daily.

Inter-department printing

Once you hit a certain volume threshold, you need to consider Inter-department printing. If the routine letter volume is substantial or you periodically have a large job like a monthly bill run, your department printers will groan under the pressure.

In these cases, some governments turn to their in-house printing department to do the heavy printing. A file can be created from the collection system, or the system of bill origination, containing the appropriate fields required to print each letter.

If you’re fortunate, your central service or print shop will also stuff and mail for you. This saves the collection entity lots of time. If you choose to print your correspondence in-house, there are vendors who specialize in bulk mailing. You provide the materials (the correspondence, envelop, etc.) and they will sort, stuff, meter and mail all your letters for you. They’ll be happy to include your return envelope or billing insert along with your correspondence. If they automatically pre-sort the mail based on postal requirements, they can run your mail job with another client’s to get a better bulk postage rate for both parties.

National Change of Address (NCOA)

NCOA products and services help both the private and public sector rely on direct mailing to avoid useless and costly mailings. Because every year over 40 million Americans change their address, maintaining clean mailing lists saves government’s time, material, and postage costs. NCOA corrects addresses prior to mailings, and prevents re-mailings to addresses which have been corrected.

NCOA works directly with the United States Postal Service (USPS) to provide updated and accurate addresses for individuals, families, and businesses in the US. The USPS certifies computer software for use of the Postal data. The addresses in the database are specifically designed to match the USPS requirements and each entry is matched against other entries to ensure that there are no repeated addresses. The software will update old addresses through the information provided by the Post Office. This information can be accessed by companies through the software to continue collecting on their current clients.

Governments can run their addresses through NCOA and receive US Postal certified addresses decreasing the normal cost of a letters sent. This is normally done on a batch basis, but can be done electronically. Many locations choose to do this prior to their first mailing as a way to make sure they’ve got good addresses. Confirmed addresses increase the likelihood that the mail will make it into the debtor’s hands and eliminate unnecessary returned mail.

Vendor Outsourced Letters

Another option being taken by some governments is to have a private sector company print your correspondence. The essence of outsourced letters is really the same routine as sending it to an inter-departmental unit. An electronic file of the pertinent information relating to the letter is sent to the vendor. Many of the government’s that use vendors as their printing partner will send the letters out electronically each day.

Most of the vendors promise to get the letter printed and mailed within 24 hours anywhere in the country. Some vendors will run the addresses through the NCOA list prior to shipping out the letter and provide the feedback. The price to do the printing can be very attractive. If you’re printing large quantities – they can do it all, and very quickly.