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  August 14th, 2016 | Written by

Going Paperless for Better Customer Service

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  • Most organizations are still buried under mountains of paper.
  • Paper has a negative impact on customer service.
  • Tech companies risk losing customers if they offer average customer service.

A decade or even two decades ago predictions were rife that businesses would be enjoying the benefits of paperless offices. That hasn’t happened yet.

In fact, according to a recent white paper released by Intellichief, most organizations are still buried under mountains of paper and this fact has a significant negative impact on customer service.

According to recent research from Accenture, poor customer service caused nearly half of all U.S. consumers to switch at least one service provider in the preceding year. Consumer technology companies risked losing three-quarters of their customers to competitors if they offered average customer service.

The white paper discusses how companies can improve their customer service processes with paperless process management (PPM).

Paper-based processes come with many costs, as discussed in the paper. As one example, research from Price Waterhouse Coopers suggests that the average cost to search for a misfiled document is $120. There are also considerations of storage space and costs and the difficulty in backing up or recreating paper documents.

Paperless process management is not the first attempt at reducing paper. Other technologies that go by names such as enterprise document management, enterprise content management, electronic records management, electronic document distribution, and information lifecycle management are also being used by businesses.

“But these models suffer from a common weakness,” the Intellichief paper noted. “Their focus is on the document or unit of information, when it should be on the business process.”

PPM focuses on relieving business processes of paper, instead of considering documents in isolation. “By taking a business process perspective,” the paper explained, “PPM avoids the frequent problem of incompatible technologies that hinder processes rather than streamlining them. Instead, using a PPM approach, the selected document management technologies integrate seamlessly with the organization’s

business applications.”

Properly implementing PPM requires analysis of processes, education of personnel, as well as consideration of technologies. The ability to integrate with existing business applications should be one of the top priorities when considering PPM technologies.

“Once digital documents are properly indexed, they can never be misfiled,” the document noted. “And, unlike their paper counterparts, digital documents can be backed up offsite as part of the regular data center backup processes.”

Expected benefits from implementing PPM include faster responses to customers, better protection for customer information, elimination of human errors, and better resolutions of customer problems and inquires. All this, the paper concludes, should also yield lower costs and more streamlined business processes.