Image by: Bet_Noire, ©2017 Getty Images

Only the most fervent cord-cutters would be unaware of the many important political changes in 2016 and 2017. There were many, but some of the most important include the pro-Brexit vote in the UK, the election of Rodrigo Duterte as President of the Philippines, major presidential impeachments in South Korea and Brazil, and uncertainty as several member nations left the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Additionally, Austria and Italy changed directions. In 2017, our year started with the inauguration of Donald Trump and will see several important political events on the horizon, including interesting contests in Germany, France, and Hong Kong.

These things don’t begin and end on the TV screen, Twitter feed, or in newspapers. These types of changes will absolutely have an impact on how you create and manage your customer communication projects. As we settle into 2017, I think about other historical events that have had an impact on customer communications.

The Regulatory Landscape

One of the most important was the increased requirement of compliance speed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), speeding resolution to 60 days for certain customer interactions. Another vast change occurred in Japan, where the “My Number” national identification system went into effect in 2016, requiring modifications to nearly every data storage system and a rewrite/redesign of many communications. Additionally, India’s banknote demonetization will likely drive increased volume of customer statements, as one of the intents of the law is to get money out of cash and into digital accounts. In Europe, we have the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) moving into implementation in 2018 to deliver data protection to European Union (EU) residents.

The trend in some countries is toward less regulation, while other countries may move toward more stringent regulations. In many cases, local regulations may be at odds with national or regional ones. This means a lot of communication design (and redesign) work for communication experts like you. It’s a New Year with a host of opportunities.

Rethink Your Customer Experience Strategy

If sweeping regulatory changes are looming for you in 2017, this is the perfect chance to consolidate your channel-based silos. Software products and services have invested millions into the repurposing of content across many channels to save you time in situations exactly like this. With the right focus, you can be prepared to get the maximum amount of multi-channel, cross-channel, and omni-channel reusability. This time of change is a time for you to rethink your entire customer experience strategy. The bulk of the work that has to be done will be in the infrastructure, so now is the perfect time for you to get better designed documents across all of the touchpoints you use.

If you see financial regulatory burdens lessening, you will have to rewrite many of the underlying rules and reporting logic in your systems. While you are doing this, you should consider writing the mobile versions first and using those assets to serve as the basis of all other channels. With today’s tools, you can configure applications that flexibly use the content, text, images, rules, and data sources from your systems to create communications that span your delivery channels.

If you are in the business process outsourcing (BPO) service provider industry, you have a chance to create new designs that can deliver communications across print, web, mobile, email, and social channels to save your clients money while increasing the wallet share from your key clients. This is a chance to be an omni-channel leader while leveraging redesign work you are likely going to undertake anyway.

If you see insurance regulations changing to update data security, you can modify how you serve customers in real time by updating your interactive solution to preview and deliver to many channels.

As long as you are paying attention to the regulations, trends, and ideas that are happening around your business, you can improve the quality of what you deliver. If you prepare for these changes, you will be doing more than what you have to do for the sake of compliance. You will be doing something that will make a positive impact on your entire customer experience.

For more information on the skills an organization will need in the next few years, don't miss our special session, "Internal Business Transformation for The Digital Age," presented by my colleague, Arianna Valentini, Product Marketing Manager, GMC Software, at DSF ’17, May 1-3, 2017 in Downtown Chicago.

Scott Draeger is Vice President of Product Management at GMC Software Technology, a provider of multi-channel and highly personalized document outputs for customer communications management. For more information, visit www.gmc.net or follow him on Twitter @scottdraeger.