If you are asking, ‘What is Customer Communication Management?’ you are not alone. You may have often come across the term, without being fully clear on what it includes. Gartner defines Customer Communication Management as, “the strategy to improve the creation, delivery, storage and retrieval of outbound communications, including those for marketing, new product introductions, renewal notifications, claims correspondence and documentation, and bill and payment notifications.”
Kaspar Roos, Founder of analyst firm Aspire, defines CCM as the creation, management, and fulfillment of any personalized, omnichannel customer interaction at scale.
These customer communications are no longer confined only to printed documents and are increasingly happening across a wide range of digital formats such as email, SMS, websites, mobile apps, and social media.
Why is Customer Communication Management Important?
The world of customer communications and customer advocacy has undergone a rapid transformation with a burst of new customer communication channels. This has led to changed customer expectations based on service levels from companies like Amazon and Apple. Industries like healthcare and financial services have been particularly hard hit with changing regulations, competition from smaller, technology partners and customers who prioritize customer experience above all else.
Customer Communication Management is more important today than ever. Customers want an omnichannel experience that is seamless regardless of channels and takes their preferences into account. This often means a combination of both print and digital channels.
A relevant omnichannel experience throughout the customer journey leads to better customer engagement, increased retention, improved loyalty, higher cross-sell and upsell, and ultimately growth and profits.
Types of Customer Communications
Structured Batch Communications
Structured communications created in large batches are still the most common type of customer communications produced by companies. By employing reusable templates through customer communication management software, batch communications can be personalized and regularly scheduled and formatted without requiring too many changes.
These communications are typically high-volume, transactional communications that are complex in nature. Examples include credit card statements, enrollment kits, explanation of benefits documents, invoices, etc. Complex business rules and logic are required to create these communications and metadata is needed to ensure that the right content is matched with the right customer.
Interactive communications are essentially documents that can be edited by the user. They are highly personalized and designed to drive higher customer engagement. Examples of interactive communications include marketing offers, contracts, etc.
Ad-hoc (On-demand) Communications
Ad-hoc or on-demand communications, as the name suggests, are created when the need arises for one or a small batch of personalized communication. For instance, an insurance agent gets a call from a customer to change one element of their policy. Or in a batch communication, a personalized letter must be sent to 10-12 customers for an error in their bank statement.
On-demand communications integrate a variety of channels like phone, webchat, email, social media, customer call center ,etc.
A sophisticated customer communication management software should enable the creation of ad-hoc communications that let business users create these communications easily without impacting the normal operation flow.
Benefits of Customer Communication Management
- Creation and delivery of large volume of communications
CCM’s biggest benefit is to create large volumes of essential communications. This involves taking inputs from different sources, processing it efficiently and speedily, and transforming it to communications that are then delivered through multiple channels like postal mail, email, SMS, etc.
This end-to-end process must be done in a way that maximizes production resources, employs reusable templates so that version control can be maintained, access to information is secure and trackable, and there is visibility across the entire workflow.
- Automation of highly personalized communications
Customer communication management enables companies to generate and send communications that are not only complex but also highly personalized. This would not be possible without the automation that a customer communication management software provides.
- Improvement of customer experience throughout the customer journey
By centralizing customer communications and eliminating silos, CCM gives you visibility into your customers’ journey. It enables two-way communication and allows you to get timely, critical feedback from your customers. This helps your customer experience team predict and resolve customer issues before they turn into pain points and result in churn.
When done right, it can not only improve customer experience but also help in cross-selling and upselling.
- Archival and retrieval of omnichannel communications
The customer communication lifecycle is not complete until you securely archive all communication for future retrieval or analysis. A good customer communication management software should archive all forms of communications along with the related metadata.
The production data stored in a CCM software can be analyzed for production optimization leading to greater ROI. The customer data can be studied to understand customer behavior.
- Regulatory compliance management
CCM helps you manage regulatory compliance, particularly in industries like financial services and healthcare, where regulators demand a certain level of communications and require proof that companies have reached out to customers.
Other aspects of regulatory compliance include aspects like document accessibility which ensures that visually impaired readers can also avail of important information. Customer communication management software can provide document accessibility readers to comply with this regulation.
- Reduced dependence on I.T.
CCM helps reduce dependence on I.T., especially for minor changes. This, in turn, results in huge cost and time savings and increases efficiency.
Customer Communications Management is the creation, processing, delivery, storage and retrieval of omnichannel communications. The different types of customer communications are evolving and becoming more important and complex as customer experience becomes more relevant than ever.