Document imaging applications are often talked about in terms of ROI—return on investment. In other words, by spending X amount of dollars on document imaging, an end user saves X-plus amount of dollars. This is what is conventionally known as a hard ROI. But it’s worth noting that many document imaging implementations also include a softer, harder-to-quantify ROI. Many times, this soft ROI can be realized through improved customer service.
What if an investment advisory firm could reduce its new account opening process from 3 to 10 days to 30 minutes? What if an insurance firm could realize a 300 percent improvement in the time it takes to process policy change requests? What if a college could reduce its application processing time by 40 percent while at the same time eliminating long lines in its administration office? Or a customer service rep could find a caller’s records within minutes instead of having to put the caller on hold?
Don’t you think the customers in the above examples would be more inclined to continue doing business with the vendor and maybe even expand their purchasing? An even more tangible gain might be had by a bank that can process mortgage loan applications faster. This leaves its potential customers less time to shop for loans elsewhere.
The bottom line is that a document imaging implementation, if done correctly, will typically improve efficiency. These efficiency gains can offer internal, as well as external, benefits. Internal benefits might include being able to process more transactions with the same amount of, or fewer, people. External gains can be improved levels of customer service.
Indexing and integration
There are two key areas within an imaging implementation to focus on when addressing customer service:
Indexing: Quality indexing is important, because it ensures you will be able to find a particular document. Full-text search is one way to index documents, but can be inefficient when attempting to surface documents related to a specific need. Indexing by metadata, such as the customer name or account number, as well as other important characteristics, like date and document type, is typically more efficient.
Integration with third-party systems: Metadata can also be linked to fields in a line-of-business system like a CRM or call-center application. A CRM system, for example, might include a list of correspondence with a particular customer. If a piece of correspondence is a document, the list item can be linked directly to an object in the document imaging system. This means that the sales rep can reap the benefits of imaging without having to leave his or her comfort zone.
Redaction is another technology to consider for government applications. In many cases, government organizations are turning to self-service portals in order to make information available to fulfill Freedom of Information Act requirements. However, many of these documents contain sensitive information that has to be removed before the documents can be released for public consumption. Historically, when paper documents were being distributed, this was accomplished through a marker. Imaging technology can be used in order to implement digital redaction and even automate the process.
Self-service is also growing in prominence in accounts payable applications, where many businesses have implemented vendor portals that enable their partners to check on the status of their invoices, the images of which can be accessed there. Some more advanced A/P departments also take advantage of the improved turnaround times that automated invoice processing enables. They offer their vendors varying discounts depending on when they want to be paid. This can be a win-win for both sides.
As you can see, there are multiple ways that document imaging can improve your clients’ relationships with their customers. And we haven’t even touched on the potential benefits of image-enabling mobile apps. This soft ROI can be a real driver to more imaging sales, especially when combined with the hard ROI that you will often be leading with.
If you work with enterprise customers, contact your Ingram Micro Sales Rep by calling 1 (800) 456-8000 and ask about IBM Software’s ECM (enterprise content management) software, FileNet and DataCap are key components to drive the soft ROI that can prove great value to a company as mentioned above.