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Effective Correspondence

Correspondence between case handlers and customers is an integral aspect of case management operations. Unfortunately, correspondence can also represent one of the most time-intensive activities for your personnel.

A deluge of regulations—backed up by stiff fines—require that enterprises take exceedingly special care in terms of the type of communications sent, their content, delivery timetable, security parameters and all associated recordkeeping. The effort required to maintain this standard of communications can be difficult at best and, without the proper technology, represents a high compliance risk to all enterprises, regardless of industry.

As we approach two decades of enterprise case management experience, we at iCasework realise the pivotal role that correspondence plays in effective communications. Given this, we have designed UsefulFeedback’s correspondence features to be aligned with modern regulatory requirements (e.g., GDPR) as well as empowering organisations to effectively meet SLA obligations.

We do this by focusing on four aspects of effective correspondence integrated into UsefulFeedback: centralisation, workflow communications, customised correspondence and security.

 

Centralisation

Although an organisation may mature and grow, not all solutions are designed to scale upwards in parallel with that growth. The unfortunate result has been large companies that still rely on outdated workflows and tools to handle their correspondence needs, such as spreadsheets, multiple e-mail clients and even paper-based documentation. This decentralised approach is unsecure, highly prone to human error and likely to result in misplaced content — none of which bode well in today’s highly regulated environment.

iCasework’s flagship complaint management solution, UsefulFeedback, avoids this pitfall by utilising a centralised content management methodology. At the heart of UsefulFeedback is the case — this is a unifying element from which all relevant content is associated.

The system automatically associates all content with a case, such as:

  • Audio files sent by a customer;
  • Documents sent by an ombudsman;
  • Images relating to a complaint;
  • Chat histories between caseworker colleagues;
  • All message threads and e-mails;
  • All actions taken by a UsefulFeedback user; and,
  • All actions taken by a customer using a self-service portal.

In essence, UsefulFeedback auto-correlates all content with the pertinent case. This empowers case handlers to easily manage their caseloads without searching for misplaced content. A centralised methodology also enables enterprises to more easily address regulatory issues.

Centralised correspondence in UsefulFeedback is facilitated by our integrated messaging system which includes full rich media and editing capabilities. Incoming external e-mails sent to UsefulFeedback are auto-assigned to their relevant case, all attached content is associated with the case and the appropriate caseworker is notified of the message. In addition, new cases can be created directly from incoming e-mails and even forwarded directly to a team.

 

Workflow Communications

Messaging functionality is a significant aspect of a caseworker’s daily activities, so we integrated our correspondence features directly within the case management workflow. Frontline staff are guided through the case management workflow via helpful “What’s next” and “What’s done” panels which include correspondence actions, such as generating a new response and viewing previous responses.

During the implementation phase, our clients are given the opportunity to configure UsefulFeedback to ensure that it fully aligns with business requirements. Part of the workflow configuration stage involves specifying how approval processes can be integrated into the flow of correspondence within UsefulFeedback.

For example, certain correspondence may require approval before transmission, such as approval of the content by management and approval of financial redress awards. When such an event occurs, an approval request is auto-generated and sent to the appropriate internal manager before being delivered to the customer.

Post-decision, the workflow can continue if the customer does not agree with the complaint decision. In these instances, customers can use a self-service portal to request the escalation of their issue. The escalation stage has its own configurable workflow based on how you want to process escalation requests. Examples include the automatic assignation of the case to a specialised complaints office, assignation to a legal team or transferring the case to an external adjudicator or ombudsman.

 

Customised Correspondence

Creating correspondence for customer complaints is typically a time-consuming process. The level of detail required to address case-specific queries, coupled with research efforts and ensuring content accuracy, can become a bottleneck for any enterprise. In addition, customer correspondence is time-sensitive — whether fulfilling an SLA condition or complying with GDPR regulations, the need to provide timely information that is free of error often requires significant resources and training.

UsefulFeedback seeks to balance accuracy and timeliness using tools that enable your enterprise to quickly provide meaningful customised correspondence. We do this via the use of correspondence templates and paragraphs.

Templates

Correspondence templates are customised frameworks that enable your organisation to fully configure how your caseworkers can engage with customers via UsefulFeedback’s messaging capabilities. Templates can be automatically generated as part of a standard workflow event or they can be made available to case handlers as an ad-hoc option.

Templates dramatically reduce resource-intensive activities and empower your caseworkers to rapidly create highly relevant correspondence.

Key features of correspondence templates include:

  • Versioning: Easily maintain different template versions based on case need, such as acknowledgements, final responses, follow ups, complaint forwarding to a third party, further responses and so on. Versioning can also be maintained in different languages;
  • Approval Processes: Specify whether or not the message needs to be approved by management prior to submission;
  • Intuitive Interface: WYSIWYG-editor facilitates the easy building of templates. Add new content or copy/paste text from another source (e.g., Word, PDF, etc.).
  • Merge Items: Powerful and flexible Merge Items enable you to create highly versatile correspondence based on your customisations. Examples include:
    • Multiple Sources: Retrieve data sources within the correspondence, such as recipient data, case contacts, location, tasks, documents, case team and user; and,
    • Specify Data Items from Sources: Display the exact information you need from data sources, such as name, email, address, photo, rejection reason, status, assigned team, URL links (e.g., Google Map, case e-mail link, escalation link, case details link, etc.), task details, salutations, case worker name and so on. The list of data items is comprehensive and enable you to access a wide range of specific case data to customise your correspondence.
  • Page Setup: Specify exactly how your e-mail or letter should be formatted, such as fonts, margins, header, footer and watermark images; and,
  • Versatile Target Timing: Specify how long caseworkers have to complete different types of correspondence. Multiple calculation options allow for flexible target timing, such as days calculated from the date when the case was received.

Paragraphs

Correspondence paragraphs are powerful text elements that enable your organisation to automate many aspects of correspondence in terms of both commonly-used text and conditional text. Paragraphs can be auto-entered based on case classification or formulas, and can also be included directly via ad-hoc input into templates.

The most common use of correspondence paragraphs are for elements that are ubiquitous in your organisation’s messages, such as opening/closing paragraphs, follow-up escalation advice, company logo placements, requests for information and referral advice. Like templates, Merge Items can be used in paragraphs to retrieve specific case-related data. In short, paragraphs are the building blocks of templates — they enable you to quickly build templates that can be applied in a wide variety of situations.

Like all aspects of UsefulFeedback, the display of correspondence paragraphs can be configured according to business need. Robust conditional formulas enable you to display paragraphs based on a wide variety of parameters, such as system data, user input on a form, the context of the correspondence (i.e., classification), a set of statements or another formula. Additionally, substitution formulas can replace a value with a specified paragraph based on which value is returned.

Conditional and substitution formulas enable enterprises to build highly meaningful correspondence for their customers based on relevant parameters. This degree of configurability supports the end-goal of creating sensitive case-specific customer messages while adhering to the time-sensitive constraints of complaint-oriented correspondence.

 

Security

No matter the origin of the threat, the protection of sensitive customer data is of paramount importance to all of us at iCasework. We kept this in mind when designing UsefulFeedback and have built a platform that empowers enterprises to focus on operations and revenue growth instead of patching security holes. Internally, we have taken strong measures to ensure that our Information Security Management System (ISMS) is fully aligned with the requirements of our ISO 27001 accreditation. With PCI DSS certification also in sight, you can be assured that UsefulFeedback is the product of intensive effort aimed at providing the most secure enterprise-level case management system on the market today.

Given the stringent regulatory environment coupled with the grim reality of malicious threats, it is critical for enterprises to focus on protecting the transmission of customer data. We have applied this principle to our correspondence feature set via our Send Securely tool.

The Send Securely tool enables caseworkers to securely transmit messages to customers without exposing the content to potential risk. This is possible because the message never leaves the safe confines of the UsefulFeedback environment.

When a secure message is sent, a unique password is sent to the customer by SMS coupled with a link to a secure page on the UsefulFeedback platform. After clicking on the link, the customer will be prompted to enter the password sent via SMS, at which point they can view their message. The benefit of this feature is twofold: the customer’s identity is validated and the content of the message stays within a secure environment.

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