5 Statement Processing Practices That Power Effective Billing

June 29, 2012 Brian Watson


When it comes to statement processing, user-friendly bill design tends to gets a lion’s share of the credit for the performance of successful programs. And, as we’ve written about in this past on this blog, much of that praise is well earned.

Clean, concise, simple statement design helps accelerate balance payment, reduce your customer service burden, and ensure that the consumer goodwill from a treatment or service experience isn’t dashed at the last minute by a confusing, frustrating billing process.

But that overriding focus on statement design and readability frequently comes at the expense of the other crucial element that makes up best-of-breed statement processing programs: statement print and mail management. From file receipt through final delivery, the post-development portion of a statement processing program is just as critical

Despite its reputation as low-hanging fruit, statement printing and mailing is usually what separates great statement processing programs from those that are merely good (or just plain substandard).  After all, while clear, to-the-point statement design plays a key role in speeding and enhancing payment, it’s a pretty hollow benefit if your statements are rife with printing and insertion errors, or sit in the queue for days (or weeks) after file receipt, or lack the mail management tools to lock in low postal rates or ensure timely piece delivery.

Which is why it’s essential that your statement processing program not only has smart statement design covered, but also has a back-end statement printing and mailing toolset that can quickly get billing to clients (without defects).  Some of the resources that effective statement processing companies lean on to provide that outcome include:

1). NCOA Address Change Services. The NCOA is a comprehensive address-change database compiled by the USPS that enables mailers to identify updated send data (before a piece is mailed) for the over 40 million Americans that change addresses each year. Having access to this info helps statement processors reduce bad mail, prevent re-mailings and cut return mail costs.

2). Variable Printing. While all statement printing involves variable imaging of transaction data onto a client bill, new print technology is taking piece customization to exciting new levels. Today’s best-class statement processing companies can provide personalized service or marketing messages down to the individual bill. And fast, efficient variable imaging also enables four-color bills printed without the use of a base stock, speeding statement production and reducing the potential for costly errors.

3). Mail Bundling and Presorting. Smart mail preparation tools (like piece bundling and presorting by ZIP code before a project is delivered to the USPS) help statement processing companies reduce postage cost and speed statement delivery to billing customers.

4). Automated Reporting. Without a way to verify file receipt and job printing and delivery, it’s easy for providers to get left in the dark. Top-tier processors provide automated updates when a file is received and produced to eliminate any ambiguity. And complete the loop with deep-dive tools like a PDF record of each statement, electronic time-stamps to verify delivery, and a detailed job summary.

5). Total Defect Oversight. To ensure complete job preparation oversight, best-class statement processing companies use smart practices, like mounted camera-readers on all envelope insertion machines and unique 2D tracking barcodes on each statement, to automatically verify accuracy and ensure targeted defect margins are maintained.

By now you should have a good understanding of the key tools that the very best statement processing companies use to ensure efficient bill printing and mailing and fast delivery. If you’d like to drill deeper into just how effective statement printing and mailing can save money and boost A/R, schedule a free consultation with the patient payment experts at Elite.

What are your essential processing tools?

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