Accessible Utility Statements: What’s InvolvedPublished on
Your customers have spoken and you’re ready to listen. You and your organization understand the importance of giving your customers utility statements they can read on their own. Maintaining independence is important to your customers and providing them with quality, accessible statements is important to you.
Now it’s time to decide how you’re going to get accessible statements to your customers. It’s often a new process for companies and can seem overwhelming. Not to worry; the process is easier than you think. We’re here to help you learn the steps to take and questions to ask so you can find the best document accessibility partner for your company.
Related: New to accessibility? Start here.
First Things First
First, look for companies that provide accessible documents like braille, large print, and accessible PDFs. There are a lot out there so do your research and find reputable document accessibility companies.
Next, compile the documents that need to be converted to accessible formats. Along with statements, these documents could include marketing material, late notices, general letters or other documents that your company sends out to your customers. You’ll need these documents in order to get the most accurate quote from document accessibility companies.
Important: Only send your statements and other documents with private information through a secure channel. Emailing personally identifiable information (PII) isn’t recommended. Make sure you find an accessibility company that can provide the security your files require.
Finally, send your files out for a quote. And, while you’re at it, get quotes for other accessible formats, too. Find out what the document accessibility company’s capability for recurring statements is and their capacity to take on new statements. Being proactive in your search will help you be more prepared next time you receive a request for an accessible statement.
Tip: Not ready to release secure information? Send a template of your statement with placeholder information so you can get an idea of the cost.
Consider Your Options
Now that you have a few quotes, you’re able to choose the best candidate for your company. Be sure to take a few aspects other than just the bottom line into consideration.
- Quality – Will they provide statements your customers can easily read? Or will navigating their statements be almost as difficult as reading regular print? Accessible statements are a reflection of your organization even though you’re not producing them.
- Security – Do they provide the necessary security measures to ensure your customer’s sensitive information remains uncompromised?
- Turnaround – Are they able to get your accessible statements out in a timely manner? It wouldn’t be fair for your customers to acquire late fees because your document accessibility company wasn’t able to get their statement out in a timely manner.
- Recovery – Do they have sufficient equipment, technology, and a plan in place to maintain production even when something unexpected goes wrong? It’s important to avoid any disruption in the production of your accessible utility statements.
- Experience – Do they have a proven track record of providing quality documents in accessible formats? Look for a company that’s consistently provided great products and services for several years.
Decision making can be tough, especially when you’re in new territory. If you’re having difficulty narrowing your choices down, take your consideration process a step further and tour your candidates’ facilities. Make sure you feel confident in their abilities to provide your customers with the best accessible documents.
Related: Learn why accessibility is not a DIY project.
The More You Know
Each document accessibility company will have its own method for converting your utility statements. And, once you choose one, you’ll figure out the logistics based on their procedures. However, there will be a few things you can expect and questions you’ll want to ask.
- File submission – How will the files get to the document accessibility company? Do they have an existing procedure in place or will they rely on you to come up with the submission process?
- Accessible format – How will the document accessibility company know which format your client requested? Once again, do they have a process in place or will they rely on you to figure it out?
- Delivery – How will the document accessibility company get the final accessible file to your client? If they mail it directly, will it reflect your brand or theirs? Will the shipping trace back to you or them? Or, will you be solely responsible for getting the final files to the client?
Taking time to iron out these details will help everything run more smoothly once production begins.
You’re ready to go forth and find the best document accessibility partner for you and your customers. Because of your hard work, every one of your customers will have the opportunity to receive a utility statement they can easily read. Take a moment to be proud of yourself for creating a more inclusive, accessible place of business. You’ve earned it.
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