Choosing a Virtual Mail Solution? Start With These Questions.

By Zachary Rimlinger on July 25, 2018 

Organizations of all sizes and industries are increasingly using technology and outsourcing to modernize their offices. Today, mail and document management looks a lot different than having clerical staff in-house.

We witness this digital transformation every day and have helped thousands of businesses increase their efficiency by automating their office mail. If you haven’t already, think about the time your company spends on clerical work, manual scanning, and mail management. Or perform a quick exercise by asking yourself: would valuable information survive if your building flooded or a fire broke out? If you’re panicking, it means you need a system to move your files into the cloud. 

If you’re reevaluating your current approach (or lack thereof) here are the questions you should be asking to choose an appropriate virtual mail solution:

  1. What addresses do you have? One of your first considerations will likely be the locations where you are able to set up a virtual address. But it is equally important to consider your business goals to determine the type of address to use. If you’re looking for a virtual address to redirect business mail, a PO box can suffice. If you’re wanting to expand your business’s market share to a certain region or city, consider using a more professional real street address. Or if you’re looking for an address to register your company, chances are you’ll need a real street address. Be sure to ask if your state has any specific requirements.
  2. How do you handle different mail volume needs? For organizations that receive high mail volumes or those with mail seasonality like in the tax and accounting industry, you’ll need a vendor with the infrastructure to process documents quickly and reliably. Be sure to research how long their business has been operating and inquire into their technology and service operations.
  3. What actions can I take on my mail? To get the most value for your investment, demo their interface to understand the scope of functionalities available to you. If that’s not possible, be sure to ask: 
    • In what format will I be receiving my mail?
    • How do you treat packages and checks? 
    • Can I easily export my information to other applications?
    • What are my options for organizing my information? 
    • Can I have multiple users in an account?
    • How can I search for my documents within the app?
  4. What network and physical security measures do you take? It’s vital that you ask vendors if they rely on partners (such as local postal shops) for mail intake, or whether they have independent operations. While local partnerships might increase available the addresses available to you, service times and security measures will differ greatly. Also ask about the technology and back-end security measures they take to keep your data safe.
  5. How quickly can I access my information? One of the major benefits of using digital mail and document solutions is accessing information quickly and in a more useful format. Ask how long it takes to see your mail contents from the moment you request an item to be scanned, or if there are options for automatically scanning all content. What about timing for mail forwarding? Depending on your needs, speed could be the deciding factor for which service you select.
  6. What is included in the pricing? Inquiring into pricing details can almost go without saying, but it’s important to note that most mail management solutions will require that you pay to scan your correspondence. But do they charge for mail received? If you’re a high-volume user or if you’re using an address strictly for business use, inquire about options and pricing for automatically scanning your contents. 

When choosing another business tool, assess how it will interact with your team, existing processes, and other solutions. The more you’re able to do with one tool, the better. 

Ready to put us to the test? Learn more here

The Path To More Billable Hours

Professional services businesses represent a huge chunk of the U.S. economy. Legal services alone account for nearly $250 Billion in revenues and over one million employed.

Many of these firms rely heavily on billable hours for their primary revenue stream. The story is basically the same whether it’s a law firm, CPA practice, management consultancy, or similar business. 

The problem is that so much of the day-to-day work that goes into these businesses isn’t billable. This rings especially true if it’s a solo-practice or small firm. 

It’s not uncommon to spend up to two-thirds of your time in a solo-practice working on non-billable tasks such as billing, accounting, and marketing to new clients.

Obviously, all those things are valuable. However, it’s important to understand where your time is best spent. 

For example, a typical attorney may bill in the $200-400/hr range. Is that half-hour they spend each day sorting through mail worth the hundreds lost in billable hours each week?

There is a path to reduce the non-billable work…

Download the white paper, Four Steps to Cut Back on Your Admin Costs & Increase Billable Hours

Return. To. Sender.

By John Horton, Contributor @ Earth Class Mail

A package at your door doesn’t raise many eyebrows these days. Heck, the UPS guy in my neighborhood already knows where I leave my returns and where to drop off my wife’s HauteLook box – a rather frequent occurrence, might I add.

Lest we forget, that wasn’t always the case. Travel back to the 19th century and that package at your door is much less likely to contain a Three Wolf Moon shirt, and much more likely to feature a…kidney?

At least that was the case for George Lusk one evening in October, 1888, when he recieved a package on his London doorstep. Expertly wrapped, I presume, it included half of a human kidney. 

Umm… return to sender please.

Much like your Amazon Prime order, the box included a packing slip. This one was different though, bloodier. It was a letter from Jack the Ripper.

Lusk, a local builder, was the chairman of a group of volunteers known as the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee. 

They patrolled the streets equipped with a police whistle and a stick, leaving no bustle unruffled, searching for the person responsible for murdering London’s ladies of the night. 

The kidney, preserved in wine, was half eaten and apparently “very nise” (sic). The letter, sent “From Hell”, is riddled with spelling and grammatical errors like these.

Despite many pop culture representations, evidence suggests Mr. Ripper was neither highly educated nor a skilled surgeon. 

History and Hollywood don’t always align. Ahem, Alexander.

No, this is the writing of an uneducated lunatic! Or, wait…

Those misspellings seem a little too sophisticated. An uneducated writer probably wouldn’t have included the silent “k” in “knif” or the “h” in “whil,” an indication that perhaps the author was trying to misdirect authorities. 

Investigators had received many letters claiming to be from Mr. Ripper, though most were considered attempts at dark humor. 

What made this letter different, more convincing, was that Catherine Eddowes – London’s most recent victim – had been found down a kidney. Coincidence? 

Well, maybe. It could’ve been a journalist, trying to milk a sensational story – although the source of the Kidney is still disconcerting. 

It could have been medical students playing a prank. To them, yanking out a kidney is just in a day’s work.

Still, many believe this to be the only authentic letter sent by Mr. Ripper. And this isn’t a dead case, either. Amateur and professional sleuths worldwide have devoted countless hours studying and analyzing this case. 

As recently as 2014, DNA evidence had been studied by scientists tracking down historical leads. The world still wants to know.

Or do we? I don’t, really. 

I like the murkiness, the unfinished, trailing tendrils of if’s and therefore’s. It’s exciting to have a pantaloons clad, high tea’ing, kidney snatcher that evaded police and the best efforts of the public. 

I don’t want an actual face for Jack the Ripper. I prefer the face I’ve created myself, a tall, lanky dude with a long face. Kind of Lincolnesque, but with a dash of pig farmer, you know?

I couldn’t think of anything more disappointing than finding out Jack the Ripper was really a stout, pathetic little guy with orange hair and mommy issues.

Then again, truth can often be stranger than fiction. Scarier too, perhaps.