It’s the time of year to be jolly… but actually, when you’re trying to get important documents over to clients, you might be feeling a little less jolly.
The infamous Christmas Post has a lot to answer for. As millions of cards and presents enter the system for just a few weeks, this throws delivery timescales into disarray.
Have you ever tried to get a document to a client urgently on the lead up to Christmas? What normally takes a couple of days can take weeks. That level of uncertainty and delay is a problem when waiting for signed documents, and can lead to significant cash flow impact when invoices and payments are directly affected.
With the volume of post increasing massively on the lead up to Christmas (up to 10 million parcels per day at its peak), it’s simply too much for the infrastructure to handle effectively. This resulted in 4.8 million reported delivery problems over the Xmas period in 2015. Last year saw £148 million worth of lost or damaged post this Christmas in the UK. And according to Citizens Advice, online shoppers will typically spend two-and-a-half hours sorting out a delivery problem this Christmas – because an item is late, turns up broken or doesn’t arrive at all.
A third of consumers who receive a damaged parcel don’t take action. For those that did try to complain, more than 40 per cent ran into problems – such as difficulty contacting the retailer or delivery company on the phone.
So, how can you avoid this as a business?
Electronic document distribution – for reliability and speed of delivery
As every Christmas shopper knows, the online world is without the queues and traffic of the high-street. This is also one of the attractions of electronic document distribution, enabling businesses to send documents swiftly and securely irrespective of season.
Furthermore, electronic documents can be produced and sent automatically. The paradigm of accounts receivable automation has sprung up in response to the demand for more streamlined and cost effective ways to generate and distribute invoices and other AR documents.
In the context of the accounts receivable department, electronic invoicing is growing at a rate of 20% year on year globally. It’s not hard to see why, when you consider the value of getting invoices out quickly, as this brings the cash into the business sooner; Christmas post, or not.
Know when your documents arrive
Beyond the simple ability to avoid postal traffic, electronic document distribution systems, such as Corcentric, afford the sender insight into how the document distribution is progressing at every step of the journey. There is enormous value in determining who has actually received time-sensitive documents, and even whether they have opened them and, where appropriate, agreed to the content.
With an electronic document distribution system, it’s possible to see at a glance who has not yet responded to documents. Reports can be generated for direct follow-up, or statements and/or dunning letters can be generated automatically to nudge slow-responders into action.
You’re not just saving time, but saving money too
Electronic documents are not just the fastest and most secure way to ensure business documents are delivered, they also present a significant cost saving. Reducing the reliance on print and postage for the distribution of business documents brings paper, stamp and printing costs down considerably.
Many businesses go as far as outsourcing the remaining print and postal requirements to be handled through a single document distribution solution, such as Corcentric. This simplifies the process of distribution, as documents are directed to the distribution system and then either sent electronically (in most instances), or automatically printed and posted for recipients who are yet to convert to accepting electronic format documents.
Save throughout the year and be ready for next Christmas
Businesses making the most effective deployments of electronic document distribution are committed to onboarding as many customers to the new process as possible. When you consider the average saving of €6.60 per invoice sent electronically, rather than by post, it’s clear that efforts to convert recipients are highly valuable.
At Corcentric, we achieve an average conversion of over 80% within 6 months. The industry standard sits a little lower at 60% after 1 year, but there are many techniques, as well as product nuances that can encourage an audience to convert to electronic documents more quickly.
Get in touch today and find out how quickly you can benefit from electronic document distribution, saving all year round and side-stepping postal strikes and seasonal fluctuations like the Christmas post.