Managed communications supporting Sycous

Sycous are an energy metering and billing company responsible for the set up and management of energy meters on behalf of local government, private housing associations and private companies. They support 51 clients across the UK, with a combined total of over 9,500 residents.

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9,500 residents
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51 clients
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155,000 hybrid documents
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Hybrid mail
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Litho Print
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Managed Comms
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Increased engagement

The Brief

Whilst they use a multi-channel approach to engage and inform their different end audiences, postal communications are an extremely important element in their communication mix. This is because of:

  1. Legislative compliance: certain letters need to be delivered by post

  2. Contractual compliance: certain contracts state that physical documents must be mailed out to residents.

This requires that Sycous to send out postal communications each month to their different audiences.

As a part of their printed communication offering, Sycous are required to send out ad-hoc utility payment cards to residents.

The utility payment cards are for pay as you go residents and are used to top-up utility accounts with monetary funds.

The existing process of producing this mailing was managed in-house. This included out sourcing the printing of the payment cards to a local organisation and manually enclosing these into an envelope with a letter downloaded from their internal CRM system. The letters were then taken to the post office for delivery. The process was time consuming and involved several members of staff to complete.

With the added pressure of supplying the cards to the end resident within 5-7 days due to legislative and contractual obligations, the process became unviable for the business as demand grew. This resulted in Sycous seeking a cost effective, efficient solution to manage the process.

Sycous already successfully work with CFH to manage their daily communications with the use of their hybrid mail software Docmail. The solution allows them to send printed documents, straight from their internal system to their end audience in a few quick steps. The process is time efficient and saves valuable money. To date Sycous have sent 155,000 documents through this solution.

Because of this relationship, Sycous knew who to talk to when sourcing a new way to create and deliver their payment card requirement.

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The Solution

After discussing their goals and requirements, CFH advised that their CFH Managed solution would benefit Sycous the most.

CFH Managed is an IT print process that enables businesses to send their documents to CFH using a secure connection. The solution is designed to improve communication efficiency with light touch, streamlined processes that are support by a dedicated account manager and extensive production capabilities. It brings together different printing processes from CFH including digital and lithographic, to create the required output.

Market Reach's Customer Mail research showed that implementing good practice on letters performed significantly better on:

  • The right amount of information
  • Clear what I'm being asked to do
  • Language is easy to understand
  • Looks easy to read
  • Looks appealing
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The Process

The process from start to finish is ‘light touch’ for Sycous, requiring minimal intervention.

It involved CFH developing a bespoke solution that enabled the payment cards to be processed automatically through a secure STFP connection that seamlessly integrated with Sycous’s internal systems. This bespoke solution took CFH just1 month to develop, with print proofs signed off before launch.

The process involves CFH preprinting 3 variations of the A4 letter, that includes an integrated peel out card in the top right corner. The card is laminated for longevity and is produced as base stationary through comprehensive lithographic capabilities.  In addition, 2 booklet variations are preprinted for the mailing, for further resident information.

Sycous simply supply a data file from their internal system to CFH through a secure STFP connection. The process is then automated, whereby the data file indicates which letter and booklet each recipient requires. The data files can vary from 300 records to 10 at any time.

The card is then personalised through a digital print process, that enables the card number, recipients name and address to be added to the front and the subsequent barcode on the back. The letter is also personalised with the recipient’s details. The C5 card pack is then sent for delivery, through CFH’s partner Royal Mail.

The whole process takes 48 hours from start to finish and involves multiple print processes from CFH. Sycous receive an automated email confirming the number of records received and processed. They are also notified by their account manager if there are any issues with the data supplied.

The solution is adaptable, working with Sycous’s changing requirements whilst allowing CFH to create and dispatch all mail packs within the agreed service level agreement.

The results

By partnering with CFH, Sycous have transformed their communication process for creating and delivering top-up utility account cards. The process is time efficient allowing resource to be redirected to higher value tasks.

The process is streamlined, reducing time to market for resident communication, without Sycous changing their internal processes. CFH create and dispatch the cards within 48 hours, allowing the cards to be delivered within the 5-7 period required by law. This has reduced incoming traffic to the call center as residents receive everything they need to know, when required. 

In addition, the packs have help strengthen relationships with residents through increased knowledge and timely mailings.

By utilising CFH’s lithographic and digital print capabilities, as well as leveraging savings from their postal partnership, Sycous now have one secure, trusted provider to manage this important communication process. Through regular communication with their account manager, every mailing is sent on time, to the right person, with minimal disruption when errors occur. In addition the organisation has reported impressive time savings.

Since February 2023, Sycous have sent over 1300 communications through CFH Managed and anticipates the partnership to continue to grow.

“We appreciate how relationship driven our partnership with CFH is. The dedicated support is excellent and any questions or queries are answered immediately. The teams are very pro-active, with CFH picking up on potential issues that could arise before they happen.

The fast implementation, combined with cost and time savings, has been invaluable.”

Charlotte Axe, Support Delivery Manager,

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