Mailing Vendor Blamed for Errors!
Don't be "That Guy"...
Document integrity isn't something to take lightly. Imagine if one of these real-life disasters happened in your organization:
- 3,000 people received medical bills that included other patient's names, addresses, account numbers, billing amounts, and summaries of services. The mailing vendor inserted two patient statements in each envelope, but didn't notice the mistake until four days later.
- A service provider mailed duplicate property tax assessment documents to 15,000 county residents. One of the lists used to generate the documents was accidentally processed twice.
- A public school district sent hundreds of test results to the wrong students. The incident spurred parent outrage. No explanation was offered. Apology letters were sent and the mailing re-done.
These aren't isolated cases - just samples chosen from incidents reported in the news. We're guessing many other document handling mistakes make it into the mail, but go unreported. The mailing vendors eat the cost and quietly re-mail, send apology letters, or pay for credit monitoring services.
The causes for these types of errors are often expressed vaguely as "computer glitches" or "mailing errors". Computers and mailing equipment usually aren't the real culprits though. Humans generally play a big part because, well, they're human. People make mistakes, they fail to follow quality control procedures, or their companies just don't invest in adequate prevention.
We're not saying technology can't mess up a mailing. Lots of things can go wrong. We can't assume that printing and mailing systems will never contribute to missing, duplicate, or mismatched pages. Integrity systems that go beyond the basics, however, can keep those errors from making it into the final output. Recognizing duplicate batches, for example, requires a sophisticated integrity system. Simple sequence-checking or batch balancing won't do it.
The mailing organizations mentioned above might have had quality assurance processes, but their document integrity controls weren't good enough to save them. They might have elected for the cheapest solution - relying on manual processes or bare bones tracking methods incapable of catching the errors they made. We can see how that worked out. Costs skyrocketed, vendors lost their contracts, and they damaged their reputations.
Mail service providers can lose customers because of the negative publicity and they almost always assume the costs of correcting the errors and remailing. In at least one of these cases, mailers may have been guilty of a HIPAA violation which can result in fines, audits, and immediate corrective action to prevent further privacy breaches.
Catching Some Mistakes Not Good Enough
The thing about document integrity is one never knows how or when it may be compromised. This is why investing in a comprehensive solution that watches, tracks, and reports on any abnormality is so important. A single incident can have a devastating effect on a mail service provider's business - maybe even an unrecoverable one. Don't wait until disaster strikes. Find out today where your processes are vulnerable and evaluate your options to lower the risk.