Summer brings so much possibility: Long days by the pool, drives to the beach, and better looking invoices.
Now is an ideal time to update your invoice package, whether you use electronic billing services or print and mail. Ideally, the refresh would accomplish three things:
- Present a more polished, modern look for your company.
- Tighten up the organization of the invoice’s elements, and perhaps even incorporate some Dynamic Messaging.
- Improve customer response time. (Translation: Increase your cash flow.)
The OSG design team understands the balance between creativity and clarity when making this kind of change. Our Production Graphics Manager, Ashley Sherrow, put together a before and after prototype to demonstrate how just a few changes can completely transform your customer communication.
By incorporating color, improving image quality, and drawing the eye to neatly organized sections, your invoice can help streamline your branding and provide clarity for your customers simultaneously. It’s refreshing for everyone.
Interested in this for your business? Contact us at email@example.com.
Here at OSG, we’ve just completed our annual customer survey. Though we love hearing the praise (shout out to Account Management for scoring more than nine out of 10), the constructive feedback is what keeps the trains moving. Maybe there’s a way to make a process run more smoothly. Maybe a client is interested in a new service of ours. Maybe there’s one simple change that would make the company’s overall experience with us that much better. Because that’s what we’re delivering—an experience, not a product.
Every single year, we read each comment, cull the best suggestions, and incorporate changes into our business where it makes sense. It’s crucial to live up to the kind of partnership we promise. The questions vary in scope and topic (customer service, products, management), but they boil down to this essential query: How are we doing?
We value this input so much, in fact, that we offer customer survey inserts as an option for our clients to send to their customers. It makes sense to use an invoice package as an opportunity to ask the questions that often go unasked amid the day-to-day tasks that keep us all bogged down.
Not everyone is going to speak up without prompting. Open a new line of communication. You might find insight that improves specific relationships and moves you closer to the bigger picture goals of your company.
Name: Ashley Sherrow
Title: Production Graphics Manager
Years at OSG: 10
Ashley manages all of OSG’s production graphics from start to finish. Most days you’ll find her in OSG’s Carlstadt location whipping up fresh designs for our clients’ bills and invoices, while also making sure that everything that comes out of our printers meets our graphic standards. Ashley’s knack for turning around fantastic billing prototypes and creative solutions on the fly for our sales team has earned her the nickname The Flash.
How would you say your job has changed over the years?
Well, when I first started, things were a little different. Years ago, OSG was a small company and production graphics was just a tiny portion of the Marketing Department. Then we started growing, and the workload has grown exponentially. It’s much busier now. I work directly with the developers, the project managers, and the clients to create that bill or invoice they want. Before it was the project managers who were “designing” them. They were just moving things around on the page with no creativity or design to them. We didn’t offer dynamic messaging or the use of full color, so it was just the staples. Now we’re putting in all that jazz and that’s where my role has developed. I manage all things production, overseeing everything that gets printed and mailed out.
And design itself has changed so much in ten years.
Yeah, it’s crazy. For one, back then it wasn’t full color. Clients were only allowed to use black and one highlight color (blue, green, red or violet). Even though I could create full color graphics, we just didn’t have the ability to print them. We only had highlight color printers. About 5 years ago, we got the 980 printers, which allowed us to use a full range of color. And we have even upgraded the 980’s and are now onto the Ricohs. The Ricoh printers are the best yet, taking color and quality to another level!
What do you still love about your job?
The people. It’s funny, a lot of the people who work here have been here forever. It’s still that family to me. When I first started, they called us the OSG family. I felt like I came into that family when I was hired ten years ago. You feel comfortable with them because you’ve known them for so long. You build a rapport with each person, and it’s great to still have those connections.
What’s the best piece of work advice you’ve ever been given?
Don’t stress and take your time. Even though they call me The Flash because I go fast, it’s still important to think about what you’re doing before you do it. It’s very easy, especially in the design world, to rush through things and get it out quickly. Then it comes back wrong and you have to redo it. And another piece of advice: go with change. You can’t get stuck in your ways. You have to grow and change with the company.
What keeps you happy and motivated at work?
I really enjoy the variety of work I do. Doing many different projects across all our departments, keeps me alive! It’s not stagnant. I like that it’s different every day. There’s always something new to be learning.
What’s your favorite thing to do outside of work?
Play with my kids. My two girls. I enjoy being with them. We took a bike ride to the park the other day, little things like that. Playing games, being with them, teaching them. They’re my life.
What makes you feel like you’ve had a successful day?
I feel accomplished when I check everything off my to-do list. I get many requests throughout the day so it’s a great feeling to get it all complete. Also, when I get a nice note from a co-worker. When I hear that a detailed prototype I designed was a big success in a Sales meeting, it’s great. It’s satisfying knowing what you’re doing is driving business and bringing in new clients.
Bring your lunch or buy?
I do both. Can I say both?
Coffee or tea?
Early riser or night owl?
Definitely a night owl.
I can’t start the day without…
A hug and a kiss from my girls.
When I’m feeling overwhelmed, I…
Take a walk away from my desk.
Feeling vulnerable in the age of hacks, leaks and breaches? You shouldn’t. Now more than ever, it’s essential to know that any partner you work with has a secure physical and network environment for your sensitive data.
At OSG, our billing services require us to host and process information that must be safeguarded. We are properly equipped and staffed to address these needs and have the appropriate certifications:
- SSAE Audited
SSAE means Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements. This third-party audit shows compliance with industry standards for security in our day-to-day operations. OSG is SSAE 16 certified. This means we’re doing everything we can to make our environment is as secure as possible for clients and customers.
- PCI Compliance
Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a long name describing a set of requirements that every single company must meet to process, transmit or store credit card information. (As you can imagine, the environment must be extremely secure.) OSG is PCI Level 3 compliant.
- HIPAA Privacy
HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) is legislation that created standards for protecting the privacy and security of medical records and personal health information. OSG is HIPAA Compliant.
In short, we protect client and customer information the way we protect our own.
Envelopes are marketing opportunities. When a customer sifts through an uninspiring sea of plain white envelopes, yours should float to the top. A smartly-designed envelope can be the difference between an immediate open or a toss into the deal-with-it-later pile. In fact, per a recent Xerox Color Study, people are 55 percent more likely to pick up a full-color piece of mail first.
We take that intel seriously. OSG Envelope Messaging is a key part of our communications strategy for your mailed transactional pieces. Color is important, but we also work with you to design something that communicates timely, relevant information to your customers right away.
Aside from encouraging recipients to tear into your envelope first, these are a few other benefits of using OSG Envelope Messaging:
- Brand familiarity. Let them know it’s you.
- Increased up-selling and cross-selling potential.
- Have a great offer inside? Tease it on the front.
- Educate and alert. Important dates need reinforcing.
Go here to learn more about how this might work for your business.
Have you made the Sunday brunch reservation yet? Ordered the Spring Awakening flower bouquet? Written the heartfelt note? Mother’s Day is this weekend, so in between your last bits of planning, celebrate a few “mothers” of the tech innovations we enjoy today. This list doesn’t scratch the surface of the women, past and present, who changed the game, but it’s a good place to start.
Ada Lovelace (1815-1852): The First Computer Programmer
In a prophetic fit of brilliance, Lovelace created the first algorithm for a computer—before the computer even existed.
Grace Hopper (1906-1992): The Queen of Software
Grace “Amazing Grace” Hopper was a computer scientist who created the first computer language compiler, developed some of the early English-language programming languages, and helped program the Mark 1 computer for the United States Navy.
Evelyn Boyd Granville (1924-): A Woman in Space
As math and tech wiz in the early days of computer programming, Granville created software for NASA that analyzed satellite orbits for the Project Mercury space program.
Susan Kare (1954-): The Icon Icon
Kare is an artist and graphic designer who created the icons and fonts for the original Mac computer, adding a humanizing element to the machine and making it more navigable. She’s since done design work for companies like Microsoft and Facebook.
Arlene Harris (1948-): The First Lady of Wireless
Harris is a pioneer and an inventor who holds many wireless communications patents and invented the Jitterbug, a cell phone designed for seniors. She also created the first prepaid cellular management system.
We should each have a flying car by now, right? If we were in the future people predicted years ago, we’d be zipping through the clouds to work. That idea is still alive and well, but as it turns out, the cars got into a different cloud first. They’re in our phones, roaming around inside of apps on their way to pick us up. Technology isn’t linear; it stretches and morphs on its way to the future. The same principle applies to billing technology.
The cry is always the same: “Paper is obsolete! Right?” The truth is, we’re not quite there yet. Electronic billing has been around since the ’90s, and for every paperless friend who scoffs at the idea that anyone would still receive an archaic hard copy, there are plenty more who still enjoy receiving paper bills in 2017, even if they ultimately pay online. (In fact, 21 million people change the way they pay their bills from one month to the next.*) What’s clear is that when it comes to transactional documents, there are many who want a mix of the past and the future, the paper and the cloud.
So, what’s next? When we developed the OSG Mobile App, we wanted to offer clients a tool that enhanced their billing and payment processes. Beyond the right-in-your-pocket ease it provides customers—many of whom use apps for a litany of other services anyway—the app also allows for interaction. It’s about functionality as much as it’s about convenience. Their customers don’t have to stare at static PDFs; there are functions that actually engage them. It also offers the client customization options that sets the company brand apart.
Most importantly, it leaves room for change. The app grows with the client, and with their customers. There’s no way to predict the future specifically, but leaving room for that growth is essential.
*Source: Eight Annual Billing Household Survey, Fiserv Inc., 2016