The art of automating business communication extends to resurrecting handwritten letters to customers and maximizing the appearance with a robot labor force to produce the correspondence.
The Handwrytten app is part of an automated CRM tool that lets businesses — and individuals with an entrepreneurial passion — integrate computerized automation with personalized handwritten notes to customers. The result is a novel approach to updating one of marketing’s best-known strategies — the personal letter.
Retailers today have all but destroyed the effectiveness of thank you notes and personalized business letters. Delivered electronically in plain vanilla typed emails and SMS messages, people have learned to reach for the delete button or send-to-spam response for most of the retail-related correspondence arriving in inboxes.
The Handwrytten web-based service uses robots to finesses marketing messages into handwritten polished prose. It helps marketing teams reintroduce and automate what was once a fine art of letter writing. The Handwrytten app and computer interface let you create professionally designed handwritten notes that are delivered to customers and clients’ postal mailboxes.
Consumers expect to get emails, text messages, and bulk mailers from companies. They rarely read or pay attention to them on a regular basis. Handwrytten is an effective way for businesses to help their sales and marketing teams to better engage potential and existing customers.
“People understand the power of the personal note, but nobody has the time to sit down and actually pick up a pen and write one. This is why we built a platform to automate the process from end to end,” said David Wachs, founder and CEO of Handwrytten.
Leveraging cutting-edge robotic technology automates what is seemingly impossible to automate. These notes have been proven to drive incredible and lasting results for our clients, he added.
Fine Art Revisited
Founded in 2014, Wachs had a vision of bringing back handwritten communication to business. He wanted to fill an unmet need: making handwritten notes as easy to send as an email.
To solve this problem, he invested heavily in robotics to build a machine unmatched in handwriting quality and scalability. His 175+ patented Handwrytten robots each autonomously writes nearly 500 notes a day.
Image Credit: Handwrytten
The company now builds its own handwriting robots to produce more realistic penmanship. Each robot machine monitors its ink levels and communicates with tenders via Slack if it jams or runs out of ink.
To scale, the company continues to build more machines to meet demand. Wachs plans to double machine capacity this year.
This 2016 video shows how the company first used off-the-shelf, third-party machines to fulfill orders.
Machine Maintains Humanlike Mannerism
The handwriting is indistinguishable from real human handwriting. The robotic hands can produce 23 handwriting styles.
Alternatively, users can upload their own handwriting and signature for a truly personalized style. That option comes with a one-time fee.
Either way, users can select from more than 100 card designs or design their own online. Deliveries can include business cards or gift cards to over 20 popular brands, including Starbucks, Home Depot, Amazon, and Visa can further foster relationships with customers.
For bulk letter orders, each copy is originally copied, not photocopied from the robot-printed initial letter. (Image Credit: Handwrytten)
“Handwrytten is the largest and longest running service of its kind. We allow people to go to our website, or use our app integration, and choose a card or design their own. They also choose a handwriting style and type a message. We then convert the message into the handwriting style,” Wachs told CRM Buyer.
Keeping It Real
The company is tweaking several improvements into the robot hands to make the writing look even more real. A new version of the web app will deliver better usability and more features.
Some of the “tricks” built into the robot mechanism to defy creation by mechanical hands include:
- Using up to 10 copies of each letter in both upper and lowercase form randomly put in the note to ensure enough variation;
- Capturing the unique ligature combinations of a handwriting style (or font), such as two O’s next to each other, two T’s, or connecting T and H or O and F;
- Varying the spacing between lines and randomizing this interline spacing subtly, along with varying the left margin and ensuring that each line starts at a different spot, creates more organic-looking writing.
The company is working on fixing its main remaining complaint: straightness by bending words. Its updated handwriting engine now bends each line of text to create an even more organic effect.
Behind the Scenes
When I first discovered the Handwrytten service, I planned to check it out further as a possible business product review. That approach gave way to a more detailed discussion with the company’s driving force, David Wachs.
The product reviewer part of me wanted to know more about how the robotic handwriting process transforms the customer’s initial typed correspondence into an “Is it real?” finished product.
Wachs declined to reveal specifics about the transformation process. He confided that they build, program, and maintain their robotic machinery in a large facility in Phoenix to write out notes and mail them.
Primarily a tool for businesses, Handwrytten’s client base ranges from Fortune 500 corporations to small retailers and consumers. It currently has over 85,000 customers using the platform, according to Wachs.
The company has options for any budget. Pricing starts at $3.25 to send one Handwrytten note, with discounts for bulk orders and subscriptions.
All of its cards are available without a contract. The company also offers subscription plans, bulk discounts, and prepay options.
Wachs also disclosed that some limitations exist with the Handwrytten app (available for Android and iOS). The apps do not allow the user to bulk upload lists of contacts. Nor do they currently support signatures. But those features are forthcoming.
“The apps also do not allow the new prospecting tool, which allows the user to target a demographic or geographic area and blanket the area with Handwrytten notes,” he said. “The rest of the functionality is the same, however.”
Orders are stamped with First Class postage and mailed from the factory. The U.S. Postal Service delivers all mail to the continental U.S. in three-to-four days. The company also delivers to Canada, the U.K., and 190 other countries.
Marketing Tool Advantages
As a marketing tool, Handwrytten notes offer benefits over using in-office CRM software and in-house or commercial printing services. Perhaps the most significant is Handwritten notes have a 300% higher open rate than print pieces, according to Wachs.
Additionally, Handwritten notes have a very high likelihood of being considered surprising while having a low risk of being regarded as annoying, he noted.
When consumers do not feel appreciated by a brand, Handwritten notes have a statistically significant ability to improve brand perception and get consumers to come back and buy more, Wachs concluded.