With the innovation in technology and services being offered by banks today it would be logical to think that the volume of physical mail being sent out will shrink substantially seeing a corresponding reduction in the amount of return mail. However over the past year my Bank has been facing an issue of having to deal with huge amounts of returned bank statements.
There were various reasons as to why the statements were being returned; in this case it mostly attributed to a change in banking regulation-obliging banks to print statements to all deposit accounts where previously were only printed for specific accounts. With the unanticipated amounts of mail pouring in, it deemed essential to start to analyze all the different reasons to why the pieces returned and what is it costing us. What is the total operational cost of postage, printing, handling, research and re-mailing? What about the value we lost with returned communications? The delayed or missed payments, unawareness of bank charges and the overall customer service expenses?
The bank has already approved a project to centralize, automate and monitor return mail operations. By having all statements to be printed with bar codes and returned back to a central operation that will be able to simply scan the bar codes and capture how many times the statement has returned, and to ultimately stop printing upon the third time. We will also be able to capture all the problematic accounts and attempt to contact the customer in different methods in order to update their information and encourage them to use e-statements.
I have highlighted one small operation that possibly was not be seen to have a dramatic impact on the banks performance but it is a growing problem and may have a huge impact in the future with our customer base growing everyday. As Head of Customer Resolution I am able to see a lot of the operational and process issues we are facing with at the bank through customer complaints, and by taking this class it has stressed the importance of how reducing operations cost is the best method to optimize in an organization. I am also looking forward to learn the importance of managing quality, and conducting process redesigns and how they ultimately lead to improved efficiency, profitability and operational excellence.
This after all is my view, so do you think our Bank is on the right track with their cost management initiatives?