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
The words “bill” and “invoice” are often used interchangeably across industries and in conversation. Though not a major crime against the language (they’re swapped with such frequency, it’s unlikely a misunderstanding would occur), it’s worth noting the differences. The two are related, but they’re not twins.
Bill: What we most commonly refer to as a bill is a balance forward, business-to-customer document. It’s a request for payment with the expectation that the payment will be made by a specific date. If it’s a recurring bill, any missed payment will appear in the next bill. For example, if you don’t pay March’s bill, April’s bill will reflect the balance from March, what’s due in April and any penalty or interest that has accrued. A bill carries over, and it also makes a demand: Pay now.
Invoice: An invoice is an itemized list of goods or services with individual costs and a total sum, typically used in business-to-business transactions. An invoice can be sent before or after a payment, which is why it acts more as a record of a transaction rather than an immediate request for payment. (If the invoice is sent prior to payment, it will often say something like, “Pay within 30 days.”) An invoice is also a static document, meaning it doesn’t show the previous balance due or payment history.
Statement: That’s right, a bonus word. A statement is essentially a status document indicating where an account stands within a particular time frame–you’re all paid up, you owe x amount, etc. It’s not a request for payment, though the word is often used like it is.
And one last language note: Another reason these words are used interchangeably is a matter of tone. In short, getting an invoice or a statement sounds nicer than getting a bill.
From the Welcome Message to the WinBack Program, lifecycle marketing is a way of communicating with customers that adapts to their changing needs. Why is it so effective?
- Because lifecycle marketing acknowledges that customers aren’t static – they evolve.
You could say acquiring a new customer is step one of 100 steps, but it would be more accurate to say that it’s step one of an unknown number of steps. Customers’ needs change; what worked for them in January might be wearing thin by September. Keep in touch. Communication that’s tailored, creative and proactive–whether it’s done through surveys, milestone programs or referral solutions programs–has a positive influence on retention rate.
- Because it’s much easier to convert a lost customer than to win a new one.
It may seem counterintuitive that a “lost” customer would be more likely to return to the fold than a new customer would be to sign up, but the numbers don’t lie. Marketing Metrics show that probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20 percent while the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70 percent. And consider it from customer’s perspective. Say the cost to renew a subscription to your favorite magazine increases. Even if you love the content, there’s a good chance you’ll pass. It’s not a rejection of the product; it’s a hold out on the price.
Imagine how much more cost-effective it would be for the magazine to send you a discount offer to renew rather than devise a completely new strategy to get the attention of a prospective customer.
- Because it’s more than just an invoice.
Would you want to hear from someone only when they’re asking for money?
OSG offers an array of lifecycle marketing solutions. Get in on them.
As more and more companies transition to electronic billing, it’s important to remember that digital solutions can also improve print and mail services. Paper can be optimized. MailTrekˢᴹ, OSG’s tracking application, combines the latest United States Postal Service (USPS) technologies with our own software to track your outbound and inbound mail in real-time. Here are five ways this can improve your business.
- More efficient mail delivery means more control.
An obvious point, but nonetheless worth emphasizing: You’ll know when your invoices are sent out and when they reach their destinations. Each piece of outgoing mail gets an Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) specific to its envelope, which allows it to be tracked (or “trekked” if you will). In your OSG InSight client portal, you can see when the envelopes are scanned and know the delivery status.
- Tracking outbound mail can help with staffing.
Since you know the status of your mailed invoices and statements, you can better predict the staffing needs at call centers. When the customer calls spike in volume, you’ll be ready.
- You can verify a customer’s check is in the mail.
That IMb code? You can also add it to the return or remittance envelope. There’s no guesswork—the check is on its way or it isn’t. Which brings us to the next point.
- You’ll have better insight into cash flow.
Because the inbound mail has the IMb codes, managing cash flow becomes much easier and much more efficient.
- You’ll likely reduce the number of mailings while improving customer relations.
MailTrekˢᴹ isn’t just a tracking application; it’s a line of communication. By opening this channel, you’ll have a better understanding of your customers’ payments and contact them less frequently. Increased efficiency for all.
In conclusion, as your company evolves its invoicing practices, it makes sense to maximize the digital potential of whatever system you’re currently using—even print.