Implications of the Continuously Evolving CX Focus
Traditionally, businesses have approached customer communications management (CCM) technologies with an agenda stacked high with internal improvement goals: to cut costs, maximize operational efficiency and reduce strain on staff resources, among others.
Meanwhile, CCM’s potential affects on the customer experience (CX) garnered little attention. Until recently.
CCM now encompasses so much more than just ensuring central location of documents and accurate, timely materials. Channels have multiplied; the digital experience now figures prominently in nearly all aspects of communications; customer expectations have evolved.
In short, the customer is now in the driver’s seat. If they have a negative experience somewhere along the customer journey, chances are good that they’ll re-route their business to a competitor.
How CCM Can Transform the Customer Experience
CCM technology gives businesses the opportunity to provide consistent, positive interactions at multiple points in the customer journey.
When considering the goals of CCM technology, the focus must shift from “How do we improve internally?” to “How can we improve from a customer experience perspective?”
If your organization, like many, has yet to fully embed this thinking into its DNA, this discussion of the implications related to CCM’s role in the CX can help start an internal dialogue supportive of a change in perspective.
#1: Customer Expectations Regarding Communications Have Changed.
CCM technology arose from the need to simplify print-centric processes surrounding mass-mailed communications.
However, it’s no longer satisfactory to deliver information only in print – although print does remain a central piece of the development and implementation of CCM technology.
Indeed, many consumers still want printed communications, or a combination of both digital and print, and there remain some requirements for organizations in highly regulated industries (e.g., healthcare, utilities, financial services, insurance) to generate and track printed communications.
But customers now expect that any printed information they receive will be available online as well. Furthermore, they expect to interact with companies via the channel they prefer, at their convenience: online chat, email, call centers, text, social media. Increasingly, they’re growing accustomed to receiving alerts that documents are available (and easily accessible).
#2: Therefore, Seamless Omnichannel Communications Are Central to the CX.
With customer support and communications now taking place across multiple channels, companies are tasked with ensuring a cohesive experience at every interaction. In fact, research from Aberdeen Group bears out that companies with strong omnichannel customer engagement strategies have an 89% customer retention rate compared with 33% for companies with weak omnichannel strategies.
According to a 2018 Target Marketing report on omnichannel marketing and the CX, organizations will need to embody a set of key capabilities to deliver the kind of omnichannel customer journey consumers will expect in the very near future.
Among these identified capabilities are several that CCM technology can support, including:
- Consistent customer experience across all channels
- Interaction with customers on many channels, online and offline
- Ability to access data from your core customer records in any channel they visit
- Ability to reference actions taken in the past on any channel in live interactions happening in the present on any channel
For example, a customer who contacts a call center with an issue and then sends a follow-up email should (and will expect to) encounter a continuous, personalized dialogue. Enabling a seamless experience depends on data for that customer being collected at every point of interaction and available via a centralized portal so that it can be shared across various channels.
What holds organizations back from delivering a seamless omnichannel customer experience? The usual suspects: siloed content and channels, disparate systems, multiple points of data entry.
But a well-designed CCM solution that fits an organization’s specific environment and existing systems can combat these restrictions. By integrating with existing databases and core web-based systems, businesses can more seamlessly generate data-driven communications. With on-demand access from a single platform to customer information that previously was dispersed across business units, organizations gain the ability to deliver consistent, cross-channel communications from one interface.
#3: The Right CCM Technology Positions Companies to Better Manage the CX.
Staying competitive depends not just on attracting new customers but also on maximizing business from the ones you already have. Positive consumer response to relevant, personalized content is yet another piece of the CX puzzle that CCM technology better positions companies to deliver. CCM systems designed with the capability to integrate customer data can drive more relevant communications.
And if businesses that provide high-quality, consistent and personalized customer communications can significantly improve their CX scores – as reported in a 2016 study by Forrester – then CCM’s importance as an enabler of a better CX becomes clear.
CCM inherently involves interactions with existing customers. Modern, end-to-end platforms can serve to nurture customer loyalty (and therefore grow revenue). The technology can enable consistent communications that are:
- Trustworthy, timely and error-free
- Optimized for messaging and cross-offers based on previous interactions
- Delivered via the customer’s preferred channels
#4: Internal Users Need a Good CX, Too.
While it’s past time for organizations to put the customer at the center of CCM initiatives, it’s also critical that solutions provide an optimal CX for internal users as well.
Analyze the departments responsible for customer service and retention. Are they more process-focused than customer-focused? Are they marked by a lack of awareness of existing customer-enrichment resources? Or misalignment with top-level strategy? Do employees spend a disproportionate amount of time searching for content and then shepherding it through manual processes, only to get it in customers’ hands well after the right time has passed?
A welcome side effect of implementing a customer-friendly CCM platform – i.e., one that’s user-friendly for your own people – is a natural shift in aligning customer-facing roles to end goals that support an outstanding CX.
The Next Step: Strengthen the CX with Custom-Designed CCM Technology
Strata Company, a Plymouth Meeting, PA-based marketing and technology firm, specializes in building custom, cloud-based CCM systems. Our powerful CCM solutions boost accuracy and efficiency, ensure regulatory compliance – and drive the customer experience forward. Contact us to learn more.