Why You Should Outsource Your Corporate Mail

A lot of organizations these days are trying to find ways to do less in the office. In a post-pandemic world, many companies have switched over to remote working styles, allowing their employees to work from home full-time. Without a collective office space, getting regular business mail out to your clients has become a challenge.

Fortunately, there are ways to minimize the amount of people coming into the office to perform outbound mailing operations at your company and let print and mailing companies do all the work instead. LetterStream has developed virtual mailroom services that allow you to outsource your printing and mailing all online.

You’ll be surprised to learn that our process is actually less complicated than sending an email and a lot easier than trying to communicate your needs to a traditional mailing company. LetterStream is here to make sure your corporate mailings are prepared correctly and that all your mail will be sent out to your clients on time.

What Is Outsourcing?

Companies may outsource services for a lot of different reasons. Instead of obtaining a product or service from an internal source, businesses hire someone outside of the company to do it instead. These third-party sources typically help perform operational tasks or other essential services or products that companies need help with.

Many companies choose to outsource certain tasks to lower their business costs and improve production efficiency. Third parties may also be independent contractors or experts in the field that can provide valuable advice and methods for performing operational tasks properly or more efficiently.

5 Reasons to Outsource Your Corporate Mail

Here are some reasons why you should consider outsourcing your corporate mail to LetterStream.

1. Reduce Business Expenses

Automated solutions for critical mail can help to lower business costs and expenses by offering competitive pricing that saves you money in the long run. Operating a mailroom internally can become very costly, especially considering the high price associated with equipment costs, paper, ink, toner, supplies, and maintenance. You should also consider the downtime and money associated with equipment problems that need to be fixed.

Performing mail operations can also take up a lot of your team’s time internally, as well as use up office space—or home space, if you’re working remotely. Outsourcing your corporate mail to a virtual mailroom can help maximize internal efficiency and ensure that necessary mail is sent in a timely manner.

Third-party online mail services are also trained and have specialized expertise in mail management. Any mail-related business functions can be handled by someone else, so your employees don’t have to worry about it on their to-do list. Your business will save money in the long run by allowing a high-tech mailing service to use an automated and cost-efficient system.

Instead of allowing mailing operations to detract from your overall business objectives, you can reinvest the money you save in the long run back into your business. Fortunately, LetterStream has no upfront costs, and we guarantee that you will save money right away, even by sending just one letter.

2. Improve Customer Service

There’s no doubt that your customers are important to you. Your business is more likely to be remembered when it can provide excellent customer service, making your customers more likely to come back.

When you utilize a virtual mailroom, you can maintain a critical business flow while still providing professionalism and top-notch service to your clients. By outsourcing your corporate mail, you have the freedom to focus on what’s most important—your customers. You can enhance the customer experience and ensure your employees are giving them first-rate customer service.

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3. Reduce Mishandled Mail

A virtual mailroom can help maintain mail security and reduce any error that could potentially occur in traditional mailing operations. Many third-party mailing services typically have access to high-level security systems that your business wouldn’t be able to afford if your mailing system was done internally.

When sending mail to your clients, security and safety are huge concerns. You must uphold and protect any confidential information in order to keep your customers and stay out of legal trouble. If you outsource your corporate mail, it will be delivered to an off-site, secure facility that can more thoroughly protect against mail threats or information breaches.

Fewer hands on your corporate mail also means avoiding any of it getting lost or stolen. Outsourcing your mailing services creates a risk-free environment for your business, saving you time and money.

4. Software As a Service

Outsourcing your mail gives you full insight into the mailing process, including incoming and outgoing mail. You can improve and accelerate the mailing process, resulting in happier customers and more money for your business.

LetterStream offers both first-class mailing and bulk or standard mailing. With our multi-level user portal, you can track your letter and see where it’s at in the process until it reaches its designated mail carrier.

At the USPS, all important documents must be sent as first-class mail. Unfortunately, the Post Office does not track first-class mail, but you can see in your LetterStream portal if your letter has reached the Post Office yet or not.

5. Scalable for Your Business Needs

LetterStream works with the USPS and FedEx to help reduce postage fees. No matter how large or small your business is, we can easily mail any items to fit your needs.

Third-party mailing services can also provide reporting on all mailed items and mailing processes to help reduce areas of unnecessary waste in materials or time. With more effective and streamlined processes, you will save more money in the long run.

Using LetterStream to Outsource Your Corporate Mail

LetterStream has developed a very modern portal that allows you to upload your mailings in just a few minutes; after that, we take care of the rest! We can operate based on your specifications in a timely and helpful manner.

Most of our corporate clients can upload their documents exactly as they were exported from their accounting or corporate software. Exporting to a PDF will allow you to load your files directly into our system without talking to our Sales or Customer Service teams—although, they’re here to help if you need them!

LetterStream can extract addresses right out of your PDF, creating an online address book that’s personalized just for you. Along with PDF files, we also accept mailing and address lists via Excel spreadsheet.

We want our mailing process to be easy and work well with you and your business, so we are flexible and will try to help in any way possible. We have countless administrative and power-user features that allow you to set up different user roles, define departments, run reports, and automatically notify others when a mailing has gone out.

Instead of going to the post office, send a letter by outsourcing your corporate mailing processes. LetterStream can help eliminate the frustrations of mailing internally in your company. Our Customer Service team is also stellar in assisting users who need a little extra guidance along the way.

If you’re looking for a company to outsource your corporate mailing through, or you want to learn more information about our mailing processes, LetterStream is here for you. Contact us today at 1-888-501-5288.

USPS Proposed Postage Rates for 2020

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The time has come, and the rates are in.

On October 9th the United States Postal Service (USPS) filed their proposed price changes with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC). These proposed rates are set to take place at midnight on January 26, 2020.

The best news is that First-Class rates are staying pretty much the same. A First-Class stamp will continue to be only 55 cents.

Like clockwork, extra services are increasing in the Certified Mail fees area, with Certified Mail base fees going up a nickel.

And with each proposed rate increase, there is always a twist of some sort. This year, USPS is separating out extra ounces of flats from extra ounces of letters. These two have historically been tied at the hip with “extra ounces” simply being the same rate for any type of First-Class letter regardless of size. Now, any First-Class letter with physical dimensions larger than 11 ½ inches by 6 1/8  inches (11.5” X 6.125”), known as a Large Envelope, or Flat will see a $0.20 per additional ounce.

Here’s the list of items unchanged by the 2020 rates:

  • First-Class stamps staying at $0.55
  • First-Class Postcard Rate staying at $0.35
  • Extra Ounces staying at $0.15 (for letters, not flats)
  • Flat base rate staying at $1.00

And some items that are experiencing an increase, such as:

  • International Rates going up from $1.15 to $1.20
  • Certified Mail going up from $3.40 to $3.55
  • Return Receipt going up from $2.80 to $2.85
  • Electronic Return Receipt going up from $1.60 to $1.70
  • Registered Mail going up from $12.40 to $12.60
  • Flats Extra Ounces going up from $0.15 to $0.20

Sorry, this year we didn’t find any fees that went down for the products that we offer.

Click here to review the USPS 2020 postage rate press release.

Click here to download the complete list of 2020 USPS postage rate changes. Keep in mind, the Notice 123 for 2020 is still in review by the RPC and subject to change, but the USPS generally gets the rates they ask for.

We should remind you that LetterStream seldom ever raises our base rates, instead, we just increase prices by the amount of the USPS rate increase so you can expect the same this year as well. LetterStream will be implementing these changes on January 24th, 2020 by 5 PM, so plan ahead and get your jobs in our system before the 24th to get the past prices.

20% off Orange Paper and Postcards!

October Promotion

No tricks here, we are giving you a treat this Halloween season.
For the month of October, we will be offering 20% off all Orange 8 ½ X 11 paper and Orange Express Postcards.
You have a business to run and customers to keep happy, so we want to help you! For your festive holiday letters and notes look no further than LetterStream. For your fast mailing and printing needs, we’ll get the job done. Don’t wait until it’s too late and all the candy is gone, let us help you this Halloween season.

Las Vegas Debt Connection Symposium and Expo 2019

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LetterStream takes on Vegas!

Come say Hi, and meet some of our LetterStream team. There are many ways that you can meet us, but in this case, all you have to do is stop by our booth. Were talking about the Las Vegas Debt Connection Symposium and Expo being hosted at the Red Rock Hotel, September 10th-12th, 2019. Our booth at this Expo will be stocked with our fantastic and passionate staff.

This Expo will be “focusing on networking and connection with clients, service providers, product suppliers, agencies, and attorneys- at a whole new level… This symposium and Expo’s concept is to have an opportunity to meet peers and other industry professionals, as well as finding new products and services that might make your job easier, better, more efficient, more productive, etc.”  (DCSE)

LetterStream is going to have staff on hand to explain why outsourcing print and mail projects makes the most sense, as well as showing how mail managers can get their important mailings out the door in as little as two minutes. We’re sure there will be many questions about how Certified Mail can be sent and tracked online without ever going to the post office, and will be more than happy to answer every last one of them.

Please stop in and see us about your first-class mailing, statement mailing, payment coupon booklet printing, FedEx letters, annual meeting notice, postcards, certified mail, and any other mailing projects that you might need for a better solution.

Be sure to stop by booth #202, and say hello. We will be awaiting your arrival. See you soon!

Welcome Ashlee, our New Customer Service Manager

Ashlee

Hold on, hold on, before you panic at this headline, Mike hasn’t left the LetterStream team.  He is now our Director of Customer Experience.  We figured that Mike could get a promotion if he could find someone just as awesome in customer service as he is.  That said, we didn’t think Mike would ever get a promotion.  Enter Ashlee.  We aren’t sure how Mike did it, but he actually found someone who can bring help and joy to customers as well as he can.  Ashlee has been with us a few months now, so some of you have already experienced her good nature, knowledge of our systems and overwhelming desire to help people out.

Ashlee has some 5-star training from Marriott hotels and resorts and has supported many different clients in an earlier payroll processing career.  These experiences are quite helpful to her on the job, but nothing can compare to the enthusiasm that she has to be a part of our team and her tremendous desire to support all of our customers.

Next time you call in, be sure and say “Hello and Welcome” to Ashlee.

Complaints of Missing Mail: Can you prove it mailed?

Where's my mail?
Hey! Where’s my mail?

We always hate to hear about letters not making it to their desired destination, after all, we are a communication company.  And yes, we do get to blame some missing letters on the USPS, but sometimes the blame works its way back to us.  And that’s fine, its a role that we play, but I’d like to share a response that we’ve been able to offer to our clients to help them out.

Before I jump right into the details, I think it important that you know that we have processed over 1 million mailing jobs for clients.  And if each job had 1,000 recipients, then we’ve processed over 1 billion pieces of mail.  I say this not to gloat, but to let you know that the information we provide is from the viewpoint of an expert of experts.

The question is often presented to us as; “My customer thinks we didn’t get the mailing out properly.  Can you prove that it really went out?”

Here is the response we like to use.

So sorry to be the barer of bad news, but technically, no proof of mailing exists after-the-fact for First-Class Mail. We offer various forms of mailing proofs for purchase before a mailing is sent out. These include: certificate of mailing, certificate of bulk mailing, certified mail and affidavit of mailing. Since these items were not purchased in advance, there really is no “proof” that the mail happened.

However, we can offer an Affidavit of Prior Mailing, which is a legal document where we attest that we did everything correctly. Unfortunately the fees for this service are $50; mainly because we tear the building apart and attempt to recreate exactly what happened on the day in question. We really find out exactly what happened to every piece of mail.

All that said, I think you are really wanting to know if the mailing went out on time, to all the recipients listed in the address file. The easy answer to this is; certainly. We track every completed piece of mail with a high speed camera.  The camera looks at the unique mail piece ID and compares it to the database of pieces that need to be mailed.  If these items don’t match up exactly we jump in and find out what went wrong.  Ultimately all jobs “reconcile”. Are we 100% positive that every single piece made it to the postal service? No, but we are 99.9999% positive that your mailing went out exactly as specified.

“But why are the board members saying the mailing didn’t go out?” We hear this concern fairly often, but each time we research it, we find that we’ve done everything correctly. And ultimately the board members all receive their mail. The concerns are often brought up by homeowners and often in response to an HOA Board member asking them as they communicate casually in the neighborhood. 

There are a few things that can be done when board members express concern about missing mail. First, ask if they received their letter, and if not, ask if they would check their mail carefully. Second, ask the Board member who reported someone else’s lost mail to check back in with the homeowner and see if they received it.

A slightly different way to approach this topic is to review the use of the LetterStream tools that we make available to help mail get noticed. As I reviewed the outer envelope of the mailing in question, I noticed that you could have taken advantage of our free Endorsement printing. We allow our customers to put big bold text on the outer envelope to draw attention to the envelope. We offer this to prevent concerns exactly like this. By offering and encouraging the free use of an Endorsement, the amount of lost mail complaints has gone down. You can add things like “Important Neighborhood News” or “Urgent Community Meeting” or similar wording.

Another thing we encourage communities to do is make sure and use the community name in the return address area of the envelope. While community management companies would like to think that every homeowner knows who they are, this simply isn’t true. And if someone can’t identify the personal relevancy of a piece of mail to them, they generally cannot recall getting it. If you add the community name to the return address and add the endorsement printing I think you’ll find far fewer concerns about lost mail.

Hopefully this has provided a little extra insight into how people both mentally and physically process their mail.  In addition, maybe its given you some tools to ponder the next time you create a mailing in order to achieve maximum impact.

For more information, you might want to review this help article.

2017 USPS Price Changes

2017-usps-price-changes

At the start of each new year the USPS typically announces new pricing, and this year is no exception.  Effective January 22nd, new USPS prices will take effect.

You might recall our post from last year regarding the 2016 USPS price changes.  We talked a lot about the price of a First-Class stamp being decreased by $.02 (from $.49 to $.47).  This year it’s going back up two pennies.  Initially, this seems like a bit of a bummer.  But look at the bright side.  The decrease that happened last year was the first time the cost of postage went down since 1919.  So hypothetically, had it gone up a couple cents last year and this year again, we would be closer to $.53.  Let’s choose to be optimistic and still consider ourselves winners with the 4 cent swing.

You could also try and stave off the postal increase a little longer by purchasing a few extra forever stamps at your local post office before the new rates go into effect.

Below are some of this year’s notable changes (keep in mind, we are quoting the new USPS postage costs, not LetterStream prices. LetterStream typically increases prices only to the extent that the USPS fees increase, but for exact pricing review your LetterStream job invoice when creating mailings on our website):

2017 Postage Rates

– First Class Stamps up from $.47 to $.49
– First Class Postcard Rate staying at $.34
– Extra Ounces staying at $.21
– International Rates staying at $1.15
– Certified Mail up from $3.30 to $3.35
– Return Receipt up from $2.70 to $2.75
– Electronic Return Receipt up from $1.35 to $1.45
– Registered Mail staying at $11.70
– Flats (.0001 – .999 oz) postage up from $.95 to $.98
– Flats extra ounces up from $.20 to $.21

Standard Mail Now Marketing Mail

Another notable change moving forward is that Standard Mail will now be known as Marketing Mail. Not to add to the confusion, but Standard Mail is/was the name of what many of us know as Bulk Mail.  Standard Mail should not be confused with First-Class Mail which is what most of our customers send regularly.

 

Faster Mail through FedEx

 

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How Easy!

You already know that we are fast at printing and folding your documents and getting them in the mail, but some of you wish the United States Postal Service (USPS) could deliver mail as fast as we can prepare it.  Well, for those of you who never can get things as fast as you’d like or need, we just may have the answer.

You can now upload a PDF file of your letter or document within your LetterStream account and choose the FedEx Overnight Letter job type.  We’ll print your document, (not fold it), and put it in a FedEx overnight letter envelope.  And depending how early in the day you create and pay for your mailing, we might just be able to get your letter delivered the next business day.  Need your document mailed to many different addresses? Simply upload your mailing list (click here to learn how) and our sophisticated, yet simple, address mapping tool will help you pick the right fields for your mailing addresses.

How Fast!

Image this, you are in New York trying to get a proposal (or some other document with a deadline) delivered to Boston tomorrow.  Unfortunately it is already 5 pm in New York and its too late to get it in the mail.  But, if you load your document to the LetterStream website (where some months it will still be 2pm), we can print and mail your important documents and have them delivered to your recipient in Boston via FedEx by 3pm the next (business) day.  Between you and me, I call that extremely fast!

Currently we have an introductory flat rate price for anywhere in the US.  That makes for easy math and a simplified decision making process so you can focus on getting your job loaded instead of pondering all the different mailing and pricing options.

If you like fast, FedEx and LetterStream may be just what you are looking for to get your next mailing delivered quickly.

USPS Stamp Prices Going Down in 2016!

USPS Postage Rates 2016

USPS Cuts Price of First-Class Stamp!

The biggest news in the mailing business, in maybe forever, or since the forever stamp.  The United States Postal Service (USPS) is LOWERING the price of a first-class stamp.  The price DECREASE goes into effect on April 10, 2016, when your cost for a first class stamp will be reduced to 47 cents each.

The last time the USPS decreased the price of a first-class stamp was in 1919, when the price dropped a single cent from 3 cents each to 2 cents each.  Now, the greatest price decrease in the price of a first class stamp since 1885; the USPS is cutting the price of a first-class stamp by a whopping 2 cents!  For more information check out the wikipedia page on the History of United States postage rates.

Why are Stamp Prices Going to 47 Cents?

The federal regulatory body that governs USPS pricing is the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC)(http://www.prc.gov).  This organization decides whether the Postal Service can raise prices and by how much.  A year ago the USPS was given a special waiver by the PRC to increase prices by more than the maximum amount allowed (according to their rules), so now the PRC is making the USPS roll prices back.

It really makes no sense though, as the USPS is still operating at a loss.  Follow this link to read the USPS press release on the topic of lowing prices (http://about.usps.com/news/national-releases/2016/pr16_009.htm).

What Other Postage Prices are Changing in April?

In addition to the decreasing price of a first-class stamp, other stamp prices are going down as well.  In fact, nearly every increase that took effect in 2015 is being reversed.  Seems a bit odd that the Postal Regulatory Commission and the USPS couldn’t work out a meet-in-the-middle solution, but their loss turns out to be mailers’ gain. Here’s a sampling of new postage rates:

  • First-Class Postcards will decrease from $.35 to $.34 each (reversing last year’s increase)
  • Additional ounces for First-Class mail will decrease from $.22 to $.21 (reversing last year’s increase)
  • Certified Mail base fees will decrease from $3.45 to $3.30 (reversing last year’s increase)
  • Certified Mail Return Receipt Green Card fees will decrease from $2.80 to $2.70 (reversing last year’s increase)
  • Certified Mail Electronic Return Receipts will decrease from $1.40 to $1.35 (reversing last year’s increase)
  • International First-Class Letters will go down from $1.20 to $1.15 (reversing last year’s increase)
  • One ounce First-Class flats will decrease from $.98 to $.95, and 2 ounce pieces will fall from $1.20 to $1.15 (reversing last year’s increase)
  • Registered Mail letters will decrease from $12.20 to $11.70 (falling more than last year’s increase by another 25 cents)
  • The price of a First-Class Stamp will fall from $.49 to $.47 (there was no increase in the price of a first-class stamp last year)

We encourage everyone to take advantage of the cheaper postage prices in 2016 and send more mail.  If you need some help with that, give us a call, we are what you call experts.

 

Best Practice – Secret Ballot Envelope

 

Letterstream Secret Ballot Envelope

Ballot Mailing Best Practices

Improve voter turnout with our new and improved ballot envelope! We have researched and improved our Secret Ballot Envelope in such a way to create a Best Practice solution for secret ballots and your next election. We’ve had a secret ballot envelope for quite some time and have worked with our customers to create a new version that accomplishes nearly every requirement of a secret ballot mailing.

A Secret Ballot Envelope is important to protect the identity of the voter.  It is used in conjunction with a ballot and a #9 return envelope.  The completed ballot is placed in a Secret Ballot Envelope (which is large enough to hold a folded 8.5″ x 11″ sheet of paper, but small enough to fit in a standard size return envelope) and sealed.  Then the Secret Ballot Envelope gets placed in the #9 return envelope and gets mailed back to the management company.  The management company can then open all the #9 envelopes and take the sealed ballot envelopes to the meeting for counting.

For those who need to keep track of which homeowners have returned their ballot or proxy, we have a simple option to add the homeowners mailing address and/or lot number to the return address area of the #9 envelope.  This allows the HOA management companies to see who has voted, while not being able to see how they voted for the election.

There might be a few individuals who say “Ah, nobody cares how other people vote.”.  Well, we might argue that anyone who says something like that has probably not served of a Homeowner Board or talked with their neighbors who don’t vote out of fear that their vote might be held against them. We might also argue that the number of homeowners voting could improve when a secure and trustworthy process is followed.

New Features of our Ballot Envelope:

Instructions for Homeowner – The envelope more clearly explains to the homeowner/recipient/voter what their role is and how to best use the envelope in order to keep their ballot secret.

Instructions for Management Company – The envelope contains instructions for the management company, board member or whoever handles the secret ballot so they can process it while protecting the intentions of a secret ballot.

Save a Page – With good instructions built right into the envelope, you no longer need to try and wordsmith some good directions in your own document.  This might just free up some space in your letter or possibly save an entire sheet of paper.

Professionally Designed – This new envelope looks far more professional in its design which may lead to better utilization and compliance.

Best Practices – We’ve attempted to incorporate the appropriate instructions and simplistic design in an effort to create a “Best Practices” solution to proxy and Secret Ballot mailings.

Same Security Tint – Our Secret Ballot Envelope continues to have security tint on the inside of the envelope to keep prying eyes from trying to see through the envelope.

Same Great Price – While we believe this envelope is far superior to our earlier version we’ve decided to leave the price the same as its always been.

We believe this is the best way to solicit proxies and votes from your members; its secure, its fast and its easy.  Give it a try for your next election or proxy mailing and let us know how it worked for you.