Image by: freemixer, ©2019 Getty Images

    Just how valuable is the customer experience (CX) to the bottom line? Will it help you retain customers and outpace your competition? The answer, of course, is a resounding, “Yes.” For every type of organization, exceptional CX pays off immediately and over the long term with satisfied customers and loyal advocates.

    According to a recent Forrester report, “Even a single point in CX improvement can yield hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue growth.”

    Communications can make or break a customer relationship—including what you say, how you say it, and where you say it. If you’re not connecting with your customers and aligned with their preferences, you’re at risk of losing them. It behooves enterprises to place a strong emphasis on all communications—from letters, emails, marketing materials, welcome kits, policy packages, and statements—across all channels.

    In fact, thousands of communications flow from organizations to customers every year across different channels, products, and touchpoints. Yet, message consistency, branding, readability, sentiment, and personalization often fall short—adversely affecting the overall impression of the organization, customer satisfaction, and, ultimately, revenue.

    Leading the Charge—and Change

    Change is undoubtedly in order, but as a document professional, where do you begin? Processes and systems (commonly, legacy customer communications management platforms) are in place to manage these critical customer communications, and inertia often exists when the subject of modernization is raised. Too often, it isn’t until something major happens, like a fine for a regulatory compliance issue that rears its ugly head, for people to seriously examine those existing systems.

    Yet, these legacy systems often severely limit the ability for organizations to be agile and responsive to customers, to drive consistency across the customer experience, and to optimize this content and, therefore, their communications. So, how do you persuade the risk-averse to re-examine your customer communications strategy and possibly your customer communications management (CCM) platform?

    Build a Cross-Functional Team to Assess the Quality of Your Communications

    One key step that helps many enterprises initiate change is to gather a team to review how you’re communicating with your customers and how you can do it better. You should ask yourself:
    • Are content, tone, or graphical elements on the mark?
    • Are they too complicated to understand?
    • Is there consistency across channels, products, and communications?
    Seek out an executive sponsor with a keen interest in improving the customer experience—whether they own a part of or the entire portfolio of communications. In addition, to streamline the process, look for tools to help automate the assessment. Today, there are artificial intelligence (AI)-powered tools out there that can automate the process and provide a consistent, objective view of your content a lot faster and with more accuracy than humans can.

    Find Ways to Leverage What You’ve Got

    When making the case for migrating everything off your legacy CCM to a modern environment seems politically charged or challenging for an organization that resists change, seek out solutions that enable you to maintain that investment while modernizing. Digital distribution channels, content optimization solutions, and even modern content hubs that sit on top of a legacy CCM composition system may enable you to avoid a full-scale migration while improving the customer experience.

    Look for Tools That Make Modernization Easier

    The process of migrating content and communications off legacy systems can be daunting, especially for organizations with hundreds to thousands of communications and documents. Often, teams take the approach of locking a group of individuals in a room and taking weeks, months, even years to wade through the content. Today, this approach is completely unnecessary.

    While human intervention is required to support any clean-up process, AI and machine learning can accelerate platform migration at a fraction of the time or cost. Look for tools that can ingest required document formats, automate metadata tagging, and offer content optimization, including duplicate, similarity, and inconsistency detection, as well as reading level evaluation, sentiment, and brand alignment as part of the process.

    AI capabilities in modern customer communications solutions can also act as an intelligent assistant that makes it easy to create consistent, personalized, and relevant customer experiences across all channels and platforms—without the need to call information technology (IT) or cumbersome manual processes. This allows organizations to not only clean up their content but to keep it that way. These systems establish guardrails to keep teams inline.

    Change with the Times and Demand

    Here's the bottom line: While legacy CCM platforms have worked for years for enterprises, a more savvy, demanding customer and ever-competitive service environment merit the need to challenge the status quo. Moving the CX needle can happen when you work internally to leverage current investments and delivery infrastructure along with introducing the benefits of adopting new technologies and approaches in an omni-channel world.

    Patrick Kehoe is Executive Vice President of Product Management for Messagepoint, Inc. Patrick has more than 25 years of experience delivering business solutions for document processing, customer communications, and content management. For more information, visit