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Blog Feature
John Zimmerer

By: John Zimmerer on May 30th, 2014

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The Incredible Way Add-Ins Can Streamline Your DOCCM Workflow

CLIENT LETTER | Correspondence | Interactive | Technology

Imagine you’re tasked with getting a week’s worth of water from a well. Take a small bucket and you’ll get some of the water you need but have to go back again multiple times. Take a large bucket and you’ll get it all in one fell swoop and call the job done.

That’s the difference between your correspondence system being able to efficiently handle add-ins or not.

An “add-in” is any communication associated with the primary communication. Some of those additional communications are required by law, some are required to get business done and some are nice-to-haves. With an automated add-in process, you can get all of the pertinent ones set up at the same time so you don’t waste time going back and forth to the proverbial well.

Can Your Correspondence System Do This?
There are several types of add-ins that can streamline the document workflow that stems from a single instance of communication.

Carbon Copies
Here’s an example: A health insurance company sends a member a letter denying coverage for a procedure. The company also wants to notify the health care provider who recommended the procedure, so they create a carbon copy — a tailored cover letter with a copy of the original letter behind it.

The benefit is that the company can communicate different or additional information to the carbon copy recipient than what’s in the original letter. In this case, it might be a more detailed explanation of why the procedure was denied or a provider-specific contact number. As an add-in, the carbon copy will automatically be sent when the member's letter goes out, saving the claims rep from having to do double the work.

Traditional Attachments
With the right correspondence solution, it’s easy to attach information to the primary communication. The customer may need to fill out a form, regulations could require that you include a fact sheet about their rights or you might want to include a marketing brochure on your latest product. The DOCCM system should enable you to access documents stored within the correspondence solution as well as external documents (e.g., on a shared drive, in document repository or pulled from archive).

Enclosures
Take business-reply envelopes. Items like these aren’t stored or managed within your correspondence system, but your customer communications management software needs to ensure that they’re inserted during the print process. If the insertion machine isn’t able to do the work because your system doesn’t integrate with it, employees will have to do it manually for every piece in the entire print run.

Trigger Documents
A trigger communication is an additional communication sent at the same time as the primary communication, but with completely different information. Think about the customers who want to receive documents through a Web portal. As soon as documents post, a trigger communication – through the channel of their choice – can alert them.

Follow-up Documents
Follow-up documents can be used if a reply to a communication is or isn’t received. If a form is returned, your DOCCM system will automatically generate a “We received your form,” communication. If the form isn’t returned within 30 days (or whatever amount of time you choose), a reminder notification is pushed out.

The First Rule of Add-ins Is: There Should Be No Rules
Except for the ones you set.

Look for a customer communication management system them has these three ways to set up an unlimited number of add-ins related to the initial communication, through any channel:

  1. At the template level. When setting up a template, a business administrator can automatically associate an add-in, such as a carbon copy, with a particular communication. The two pieces can’t be uncoupled by your user generating the primary communication.
  2. At the end-user level.  If allowed by the administrator, an end-user can manually select add-ins when generating a one-off communication. For example, maybe the member or customer mentioned something while on the phone with the rep; the rep can use add-ins to provide additional information on that particular topic with this specific communication. 
  3. Dynamically through business rules. If certain criteria are met, an add-on is generated, taking away the guesswork for the business administrator or end user. For example, if certain data is in a claims denial, an add-in is generated.

Now that you know what you should have, go find out if you do. If you don't have a system that can handle add-ins, give us a call at 1-800-361-1211 or request a demo of our software.

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About John Zimmerer

John Zimmerer is the senior director of marketing at Topdown, where he leads market research and outreach efforts for the company's customer communications and customer experience products. Most recently, John has been researching and writing about the future direction of the technologies that power customer experience, and is regarded as a thought leader in this area. John has nearly 20 years of software product marketing experience. His areas of expertise include market research, analyst relations, public relations and digital marketing.

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