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Merriam-Webster adds thousands of new words and phrases to the dictionary each year. Some recent additions include FOMO (fear of missing out), athleisure, and meet-cute. While it’s not yet officially found in the dictionary, omni-channel is becoming a common term, defined as a combination of channels delivered in person and virtually to create a unified, seamless customer experience.

As a result, it’s more important than ever for companies to understand their customers’ preferences and effectively manage communications across all touchpoints. This also means that companies should consider adopting a technology platform, such as a customer communications management (CCM) solution, to meet the demands of personalized customer communications today and into the future. Here, I outline a few ways a CCM solution will benefit your organization and your customers.

Improving Customer Communications

Some research analysts estimate that as much as 70% of customer communications will be digital, contextualized, and consumed on-demand via multiple channels, including the web, mobile devices, and social media this year. Whatever the percentage, the shift to digital and omni-channel is real and not a projection.

Optimizing the customer experience is at the heart of an effective CCM initiative. Too often, communications are disjointed and don’t engage your customers in a meaningful way. A solid CCM solution will help you consistently speak to your customers as individuals—in a single voice.

As content continues to originate from multiple sources within your organization, it’s important to leverage branded templates to make communicating with your customers easier, more reliable, and consistent.

Readily Customize Communications

Responding quickly to market developments and proactively alerting your customers to important information is essential to helping them feel appreciated and in-the-know, which translates to increased customer loyalty. Using a CCM solution can help you customize content and tailor messages to specific audiences so you can reach them with the right information at the right time.

To make the process most efficient, it’s important to approach customer communications as a business process that can be owned and administered by managers who understand customer expectations most readily. A strong CCM solution includes features such as account access through role-based authorization and the ability to create custom communication rules that make sense for your business.

Enable Full Control of Customer Communications

Driving all customer communications through a centralized communication platform will streamline processes, helping your employees become more efficient and accurate. Giving your employees a framework to manage customer communications with appropriate templates and standard text block libraries saves time and provides a foundation for employees to handle correspondence using approved disclaimers, copy blocks, and correct logos. These efforts save time and energy and allow you to give customers quick and accurate correspondence, which goes a long way to making them feel valued and appreciated.

Support Passive and Active Multi-Channeling

The best way to keep a customer engaged is to show that you listen and understand their needs. A CCM platform supports a variety of output possibilities to ensure content can be delivered the way your customers want to receive it, whether it be through print, fax, email, SMS, portal publication, or any combination thereof. A client’s preferences should dictate how information from your organization is delivered to that individual.

In addition, your CCM solution should support both passive and active multi-channeling. With passive multi-channeling, your users can repurpose a document for different delivery channels without causing any variations in output. Active multi-channeling generates alternative content and formats based on different delivery channels. For example, active multi-channeling allows you to send an email that includes a personalized link to a portal and requires the recipient to log into the portal for the printable version.

Support Compliance with Communication Profiles

As rules and regulations continue to tighten across many industries, CCM empowers your business to enable consistent and secure business-critical documents with greater accuracy while remaining compliant.

CCM gives you the ability to strengthen document compliance controls while enabling you to authorize users to edit specific parts of documents. This ensures required elements of critical documents are included, accurate, and reviewed by appropriate staff members. It also facilitates consistent, straightforward, and secure customer content.

Empower Personalized Communication

Not all customers are alike, and nothing makes a customer feel like just a number more than receiving a canned communication that ignores elements of a recent conversation. The right CCM platform empowers you to deliver meaningful and engaging content to your customers based on a variety of options, including client profile data, to help drive personalized communications.

Yet, beyond this, a CCM solution should be flexible enough to allow authorized users to add personal information that is not available in a system of record. For example, a distinctive CCM solution will allow your staff member to include a reference to verbal exchanges that have been part of the customer conversation but may not have been tracked in a system. Allowing this degree of personalization within a controlled framework means your organization is seen as responsive to individual customer needs. The power to make a personal connection at key touchpoints along the customer journey can be the critical differentiator that builds a lasting relationship with your client.

A Single, Integrated Platform for All Document Processes

For the utmost in efficiency, your CCM solution should use a single engine and content repository for your document process. The primary advantage of a single repository is that any change to content and/or templates needs to be done only once rather than multiple times in multiple repositories (e.g., changing a logo just once instead of in multiple places). This allows you to track and log all steps, creating a process to provide your organization with full information management, traceability, and control of your customer communications.

A strong CCM platform will integrate with your systems of record, including customer relationship management (CRM) systems and SAP, to provide dashboards for analytics so you can track and manage workflows and templates.

Minimal Effort, Maximum Engagement

By placing the needs of your customers at the center, CCM equips your organization with the tools to drive customer acquisition and retention with minimal information technology (IT) effort. Customers are savvy and have come to expect a unified, seamless, omni-channel experience. Implementing a CCM solution enables your organization to more effectively create, personalize, and deliver communications to any output medium and throughout the entire customer life cycle. A CCM solution is one of the best ways to empower your employees to connect with your customers on a personal level.

For more information on improving your communications, don't miss this special session, "Designing a Communication Platform for Superior Customer Engagement," at DSF ’17, May 1-3, 2017 in Downtown Chicago.

Daniel Schmidt is Senior Product Marketing Manager at Kofax. He has 18 years of experience in the enterprise software industry and demonstrated success in large and mid-sized enterprises. Follow him on Twitter @Schmidt_D.
 

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