I received a bit of information about Click&Mail through the post the other day and for once this junk mail actually looked like it might be useful; sending post directly from my computer without having to deal with all the regular and time consuming steps of posting a typical letter. So I thought I would trial it and one of it’s competitors out to see who provides the better service, and this is what I found…
Initial Sign Up and Download of Drivers
ViaPost and Click&Mail both have equally simple websites to register and download the necessary drivers. I did notice however that the Click&Mail website does make it quite clear that you will be able to trial posting a letter whereas the ViaPost website does not, in fact I didn’t even realise I would get some free credit from ViaPost until I had finished registering and installing the driver, more than some people would have done if they weren’t sure they were going to get to try it out before committing some funds to it.
Driver install onto Windows, no Mac alternative so I’ve installed it onto my Windows VM. Easy, quick and puts itself in the list of printers so you just have to select it like you would a regular printing device. Once you’ve chosen it as your printing option for a document, it loads up a view of where the address needs to be. There is no option to move it about if it’s in the wrong spot or doesn’t fit within it’s red indication box though so if you’ve got the alignment wrong you’ve got to open your document to adjust and attempt to print again.
Driver install option onto Windows. There is also a Mac online version which you can upload your documents to and manage / send them to print that way. I tried both. The uploading process to the online management area was as expected when uploading a document, you can then preview and send when ready. There is the red address box on both the online and driver versions, their address positioning had more potential than Click&Mail’s but it soon turned sour. If you enter an address on your document that runs outside of ViaPost’s desired space for the address it will let you change it within the printing view so that you do not have to go back and do it within the document. I found this a nice experience and I was glad for the ease of ensuring my address fit where they wanted it. However, once I and the program seemed happy with the address fitting within the space allowed, I hit print, only to see that as it processed my document to print it removed quite a bit of the address, including the line with the company name, as if it decided halfway through that the address actually wasn’t acceptable and it will just take out bits as it sees necessary, random lines within the address I might add, leaving me sitting here with a now processed document that debited my account for a letter that might not even reach the recipient. Had they just gone one step further and asked me to approve the automated reduction in the address then I would have been quite pleased with the overall printing procedure from ViaPost.
It would have been an easy win for ViaPost had it not scared me into worrying what will happen to my address when I hit print in the future. I’d rather be secure in knowing and use Click&Mail.
Click&Mail are currently charging £0.42 and goes up as you add pages to the document. A very reasonable cost considering that includes the consumables, postage and time you’d otherwise have to incur, with a minimum top-up value of £10
ViaPost prices start at a very cost effective £0.27 and increase as you change it to a colour document or add further pages, with a lower £5 top-up starting point.
I have to say that I expected Click&Mail’s letter to arrive about a day before ViaPost’s as on their website’s Click&Mail offer a 2 day service whereas ViaPost is stating that they are currently on a 3 day process although do mention that they are looking to reduce this in the future.
I sent both letters on the evening of 07/07 and didn’t receive the letters (posted to my own address) until 13/07, the fourth business day after sending them. I don’t feel that this is acceptable enough to use for the sending of business post, especially such things as invoices and contracts, which you want to get to the client in a typical 1st class post method.
For this point I am giving ViaPost the win as they at least state on their website that they will take 3 days whereas Click&Mail were 2 business days off their estimate.
I really WANT to like ViaPost. It demonstrates an attempt at making the experience more organised, dynamic and it IS the less expensive of the two… however where it tries to surpass Click&Mail’s features is where it lets itself down. In the areas where it tries to be clever it breaks down and does various unexpected things as a result of the cleverness being unable to handle its task, resulting in a miserable and angry user who simply wants it to just WORK and not try to just assume what it is I want.
So although it is a handy service they are both providing, I will still be waiting a bit longer until the posting process is sped up to a dependable 2 day service.