This week my college-age daughters are busy renting text books on-line to be received through the mail before their classes start next week at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Their rush to gear up for school always makes me ask myself, "Where did the summer go?" In these last fleeting days of summer, I enjoy a habitual review of a "to-do" list I've titled my "Little Things" list.
Typically, my summer is filled with several personal big ticket "to do" items that might include taking a vacation to a special place; helping my husband repair farm fencing, put up hay or add on to an existing barn; and reaching a certain training point with my horses and herding dogs. But, equally important are the "Little Things" that I hope make someone feel good, make something last longer or promote safety. My personal list of the "Little Things" might include: attending a wedding of a former employee, writing a thank-you note to a person that organized a conference I attended; inviting a neighbor over for dinner; cleaning the cushions and frames of my patio chairs; checking and oiling my horse's bridle parts; and vacuuming my car's floor mats.
We have a "Little Things To Do" list at Direct Impaqt also. And, I believe these little, but very important tasks help set us apart from the competition. This list includes several items, such as:
- After we address update your mailing list through the National Change of Address (NCOA) process, we ask if you'd like the updated list back: We know that sending out advertising, or direct mail, is not the only time you'll use a client's address. When we use the NCOA process to update your clients' mailing addresses and meet the United States Postal Service's (USPS) Move Update requirement, we obtain the most current address for these clients. Our account managers ask our customers if they'd like this updated list back. There is a small charge for the NCOA process, but there is no charge to send customers their updated client data. We can even provide a report that shows both the new and old addresses.
- Returning extra mailing materials promptly: Often, our customers will make flyers or postcards we've mailed out available in their office or store to hand out to their clientele. After a mailing project is complete, we let our customers know when it is mailing and when to expect one of our drivers to return their extra envelopes, flyers, postcards, or other mailing materials. In advance of the "extras" delivery, one of our account managers requests information from a customer regarding where these extras should be dropped off—perhaps it is an offsite location, a mailroom, a reception desk or a specific office.
- Process Mapping: For projects that are more complex because they involve multiple processes, departments and staff; and customer input and resources, we prepare process maps that show the workflow. We share this information during onsite visits at our distribution facility, meetings at a customer's site or during a teleconference. Process mapping helps all parties involved better understand the different steps needed as a project moves forward and who impacts these steps. Preparing the process map can be viewed as a "large" task, but it very effectively shows all the "little" tasks that come together to make something happen.
If there is a task, little or big, that we're not currently doing to help your projects move more smoothly, please let us know!