by Ken Bechard
For a long time, when considering customer communications, the enterprise was calling the shots. But whether it was the impeccable customer service of giant companies like Amazon, or a more general democratization of information, consumers are more in the driver’s seat than ever before, shaping the increased demand for impeccable customer experience. If customers are unsatisfied with the service they’re receiving, it’s never been easier to check online for an alternate provider.
Communications are a prominent part of the customer experience. When communications are accurate, on-time, delivered across the customer’s preferred channel, personalized, and contain relevant offers for additional services, they help to create a positive experience. When your communications fail to deliver on the above, they can have the opposite effect.
While increased focus on customer experience is a widely recognized trend, many enterprises still have trouble delivering communications in a way that aids those efforts.
The question then becomes, “why?” And, “What can the enterprise do about it?”
What’s the Issue?
When an enterprise has difficulty getting personalized, multichannel, and otherwise effective communications out the door, it usually can be attributed to one of two issues: workflow or technology.
In terms of technology, siloed production approaches leveraging outdated legacy systems make it challenging to produce multichannel communications. Consider this example: If the marketing department is responsible for digital communications like emails, but the print department is responsible for physically mailed communications, two separate business units are operating independent of each other and likely across disparate, legacy systems that do not integrate with one another. This fragmented approach can have a negative effect on customer experience because recipients would be receiving communications from two (or more) departments – potentially affecting messaging, sending cadences and limiting any integrated, multichannel campaigns.
The problems with workflow are related to the technology issues. When communications are being created by different departments, there can be a lack of interdepartmental communication, further compounded by no centralized data source. This lack of a coordinated, interdepartmental workflow can create any number of issues. One data system could contain updated customer information while the other doesn't. Or, customer preferences can slip through the cracks if one department fails to alert the other about a customer-requested update. Such issues can be frustrating to customers.
What’s Really Needed
For companies seeking to create the best-possible customer experience, an integrated, end-to-end customer communication management (CCM) platform is ideal. One that links document design, multichannel production and distribution all within one, centralized program that is accessible across departments, and integrates with existing databases.
This type of end-to-end communication management solution allows enterprises to address issues like database integration, operational inefficiencies, multichannel coordination and even enhanced content presentation.
Additional Benefits of an Integrated CCM Platform
CCM solutions with built-in safeguards such as lockable content zones prevent unauthorized editing, while keeping other sections unlocked to provide space for personalization and upselling. By specifying and locking certain content zones for compliant communications, CCM solutions can reduce opportunities for human error.
Integrating and even automating aspects of the communication creation workflow can help with compliance when it comes to including or excluding certain content based on effective dates for regulatory filings or evolving regulations. Automating aspects of communication creation, such as the inclusion of business-specific rules for repeatable processes, can also reduce total time-to-market, helping enterprises hit tight deadlines more consistently.
Modern CCM solutions will integrate with your databases, providing on-demand access to information, and avoiding the database issues described in the "What’s the Issue?" section of this article. This also represents an effective approach to create and deliver targeted promotions, accurate print and electronic communications, and reduce your dependency on IT to patch and update legacy systems which ultimately should be replaced entirely.
Lastly, CCM helps you engage with your customers with the right messaging, at the right time. This means communicating with your customers per their defined preferences, and optimizing messaging, and offers through historical account behavior and anticipated needs.
Companies require solutions that seamlessly produce personalized, cost-effective communications on-demand, in high-volume batches for delivery through print and mail, web, and/or mobile. An integrated CCM solution can help you get there.
Ken Bechard is the Vice President and General Manager of Off-site Operations at Novitex Enterprise Solutions. He is responsible for the development and implementation of all customer communication engagements. Ken has a track record of designing Six Sigma solutions that improve both operational performance and financial value.