‘Hybrid mail service’ used to cut postage costs - Veterinary Practice
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‘Hybrid mail service’ used to cut postage costs

Figures released last month by a firm behind what is described as a new generation of mail service indicate that veterinary practices across the country could be saving a total of at least £35 million in mailing costs each year.

Docmail, which claims to specialise in “hybrid mail services”, estimated that “if all 5,000 [sic] vet practices in the UK made a switch from printing, stuffing, sealing, stamping and posting their written correspondence to clients, their collective mailing costs would be reduced by over £35 million – an average saving of £7,000 per clinic”.

With an average saving of 70 pence per printed letter over the traditional print and post method, says the firm, its service offers significant savings in administrative time and postage costs “as compared with the labour-intensive task of a manual postal mailing, whilst not compromising on service or quality”.

Dave Broadway, managing director of Docmail, says the efficiencies of hybrid mail have already been recognised in the healthcare sector, with EMIS, the patient information software, now integrating the rapidlygrowing Docmail solution into its software package for GP surgeries and medical centres.

“Hybrid mail is still a relatively new solution,” he says, “but with the proven time and cost savings that it brings, all veterinary practice managers should take note. We appreciate that business owners, managers and finance officers have a tricky balancing act to make budgets go further, become more efficient, and deliver the same level of service and care.

“When you consider the time and cost efficiencies of hybrid mail, and the continuing uncertainty at Royal Mail, Docmail offers a tangible, exciting alternative to traditional post, and all for less than the price of a first class stamp.”

Docmail is already used by a number of veterinary practices with, the firm says, many more clinics opting for this method to send out written communication to their clients and suppliers.

Case study

Emerson’s Green Veterinary Surgery in Bristol is a small independent practice, established nearly 15 years ago. Serving clients across east Bristol, practice made the switch to Docmail around four years ago.

Martin Brice, the practice founder, says that although the advancement of technology in the last 10 years has led to a lot more e-mail and SMS communication, the surgery still relies on traditional personalised letters to send out appointment reminders, newsletters and other important information to clients.

“Although we don’t send out quite as many letters as we once did, there is no doubt that the Docmail service is still incredibly valuable for us,” he says. “Before we discovered this type of service, mailing out letters was a huge administrative task – the printer would be running for hours, sometimes days, at a time, which meant we couldn’t really print anything else.”

The practice, which was voted Veterinary Practice of the Year in the Petplan Veterinary Awards two years ago, sends out up to 1,000 appointment reminders every month.

“The Docmail service is absolutely brilliant,” says Martin. “The system is very user-friendly and easy-to-use, and when we do have any issues the telephone support is fantastic – they have always been able to resolve any problems or answer questions straightaway, which is incredibly reassuring.

“Undoubtedly, we have cut our stationery and postage bill, but by far the biggest benefit for us as a practice is the time it saves – not only does it save us time printing and stuffing envelopes, but being able to select different databases with a few clicks makes it easy for us to organise and categorise our mailings.

“This level of efficiency for us as a small independent business is significant. We have cut down staff time by 75% using Docmail, and that allows us to dedicate more time to clients and patients and maintaining our high standards of service.”

Docmail allows users to write, print and post personalised correspondence through its online portal.

Users compose the letter, select recipients from a personalised address database, and Docmail does the rest.

Prices for black-only letters are 35p (plus VAT) – a saving, says the firm, of 70p per letter.

  • For details and to arrange a free trial, see www.docmail.co.uk.

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