In October, I wrote about preparing to switch to digital-first communications. If you are considering digital first, you may be thinking about the implications that it has for both your internal organization and for your customers. Let’s explore a few. We can split them into two categories: internal and customer implications.

Internal considerations
Many digital initiatives are driven by a desire to improve the overall customer experience that is being delivered. Yet, one of the issues often faced is that there is a lack of clarity within the organization over who is truly responsible for the customer experience. Perhaps there’s a chief customer officer, or the chief marketing officer has ownership, or maybe it's ownership by committee. Regardless, you must develop a common vision of your desired customer experience and ensure your communications are aligned with that vision.

Firms are wrestling through their mobile strategies and are at different levels of maturity and implementation. Mobile communications and delivery of content to mobile platforms will drive, perhaps, the biggest change within your digital communications plan. Using responsive design techniques can help address form factor differences, but you should also think through how you’ll deliver content through “apps.” The traditional document container is no longer the only, or even primary, method of communicating with your customers.

An additional consideration you’ll have to address is to simplify your template inventory. Ask yourself if you can deliver the experience you want for your customer across all the channels they desire using an old, bloated and inefficient set of document templates.

Customer implications
More important than the internal, preparatory considerations is ensuring your digital messages are effective in your customer’s eyes. Consider these five keys for ensuring that your digital messages serve your customers the way they want.

Simple: Speak in plain language, minimize the legalese and don’t try to do too much within a single message or document.

Concise: Be brief but comprehensive. Attention spans and patience in the digital world is far different than in the print space. Long-winded digital messaging will frustrate and turn away customers.

Timely: Customers expect their data at their fingertips when they want it. Multiple days for delivery doesn’t cut it anymore. It starts upstream in your admin systems, but the pace of communication in the digital space is much quicker.

Accurate: You can’t reach your objectives if you're delivering the wrong data or message, even if it is concise and timely. Your message, your data and your offers need to be accurate. Nothing will lose you credibility faster than delivering the incorrect data.

Consistent: Finally, you’ve got to be consistent across messages and channels. Coordinate messaging across lines of business or geography, but ensure that customers are getting a consistent experience regardless of channel.

Tom Roberts has more than 20 years of experience in business technology. He serves as a principal consultant at Doculabs, where he develops strategic plans to help organizations use ECM technologies to achieve their business goals. Follow him on Twitter @tomroberts72 or email This content originally appeared on the Doculabs blog. For more information, visit

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