Customer communications management

The unsung hero of customer experience?

Do you remember Financial Services before the world of digital marketing and omnichannel customer experiences? Customer Communications Management (CCM) was our first step into highly targeted, highly personalized communications. Individual messages on account statements really did drive customer loyalty.

Technology evolves along with customer expectations and behavior. Today, any successful Customer Experience program has to include a solid CCM platform. So, what should you look for?

We’ve known for a long time that an effective Customer Communications Management program helps grow revenues by increasing customer loyalty and reducing churn. Ongoing, proactive and personalized customer engagement can drive some impressive results.

You may have seen some of the statistics. It costs 5 times more to acquire a new customer than retain an existing one. As much as 70% of buying experiences are based on how customers feel after becoming a customer. Finally, reduce customer churn by 5% and you can experience a 95% boost to your profits.

That’s enough to grab anyone’s attention. But, if you think it isn’t enough to take CCM to the center of your digital marketing strategy, I’ve one last statistic for you. Bain & Co suggests that between 60-80% of customers who describe themselves as satisfied do not go back to do more business with the company that initially satisfied them. The simple answer for this is that the company failed to form a connection between itself and the customer. That reciprocal and sustainable customer relationship was not established.

The evolution of CCM

Of course CCM has come a long way since the days of sending printed documents to stay in touch with customers. We live in a digital world and customers want to engage using their favorite channels. They demand a consistent service across channels that’s there for them when they want it. In all aspects of their lives the customer expects to feel special.

I’d say that there isn’t one person within a Financial Services firm who doesn’t know what their customer communications should ideally be like. It should be branded and consistent, delivered across multiple channels with content that adapts for each customer and individual conversation. CCM allows for this personalized, customer-centric, omni-channel customer experience built around automatically generated outgoing touch points.

To be effective, CCM has to be a single, centralized platform – and that’s where it starts to get tricky for many Financial Services companies. Most banking and insurance companies have built businesses around product lines. Their view of the customer is split along product lines. It’s likely that each product line has its own CCM solution delivering a message that’s slightly different in tone and branding. The customer data is siloed and difficult to share or collaborate on.

Forrester Research provides an anecdote of a credit card company where three teams took spent 162 days to make a single change to a business letter. Not a real-time customer experience, is it?

Top 8 components of a modern CCM platform

While CCM is hardly a new concept within the Financial Services sector, the need for a high performance and scalable CCM platform is relatively new. Here’s what you should look for when considering your options:

  1.  Compelling experiences – CCM has gone beyond the delivery of simple messaging within printed documents to provide a richer, context driven experience for every customer. The experience is delivered at the correct time across the entire range of marketing and transactional documents.
  2. Personalization at scale – from one individual SMS notification to millions of targeted, personalized marketing communications pieces, your CCM platform must enable automated personalization that will scale seamlessly. This will include the ability to handle local languages and comply with local regulations.
  3. Multi-channel engagement – your business relies on executing excellent omnichannel interactions. This is more than enabling communications on all preferred channels. It requires that the experience remain consistent across channels and that the communication can be accessed by the customer using any and all channels they want. Remember that paper is a long way from dead and it will remain an important element of your CCM strategy. It’s also worth noting that in Asia careful thought is still given to the quality of the paper stock used to communicate with high value customers.
  4. Centralized control – you need to manage your information at an enterprise level to gain a 360 degree view of the customers across the product-based siloes. Access to, and control of, your content and assets held within CCM are managed centrally – essential for any multi-national company, especially working with marketing and customer relationship partners around the globe.
  5. Real-time analytics – a major benefit from a modern CCM platform is access to a layer of analytics that was never available before. You can capture and analyze the way your customers access your communications, what they respond to, and how they respond. This not only helps to improve your future communications but can be used to identify trends and preferences that feed into new product development.
  6. Regulatory compliance – customer communications within Financial Services are heavily regulated, down to the use of font and layout. Keeping up with the pace of regulatory change can be challenging. After the banking crisis in 2008 there was a huge growth in regulation and by 2013 there were 110 global regulatory changes every day. The forthcoming GDPR legislation will require all companies to change their terms and be consistent in communicating these changes. Fragmented CCM systems open the possibility of error that could lead to substantial fines.
  7.  Legacy integration – most companies have customer data held in a range of legacy systems. For Financial Services legacy integration is a challenge across the bank. You need to select a CCM system that will enable data to be identified and extracted from your back-end legacy systems as required.
  8.  Application ecosystem – CCM should form the core of your digital marketing strategy, so it needs to be able to integrate with a full range of design, media and asset management, CRM and enterprise applications. For example, OpenText CCM solutions – such Exstream and Exstream for the Insurance Industry  – provide seamless integration with solutions such as Customer Experience ManagementWeb Experience Management  and Digital Asset Management, as well as Customer Relationship Management – through integration with SAP Hybris CRM, Salesforce and Analytics.

Better, more personal relationships with your customers are essential for the future of your business. CCM is a key element in achieving the omnichannel, interactive experience that customers demand today. Who knew that individual printed messages could come such a long way? That’s why you should ensure this unsung hero is working for you.

If you’d like to know more about the complete Customer Experience solution from OpenText, I recommend you download and read this paper – “To keep the customer, keep the customer connected”.

Gerry Gibney

Gerry is Senior Industry Strategist for the financial services industry, with over 25 years’ experience in banking and investment management. Before OpenText, he worked at Fiserv Investment Services Group and Microsoft.
He is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP).

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