Three Questions to Ask When Modernizing Customer Communications

To keep up with modern consumers businesses need adaptable, cost-efficient, and easy-to-use platforms that allow them to move with the tide of evolution meet the expectations of a new generation of customers, and technologies.

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Tech is a part of modern life. We wake up to a smartphone, work with a PC, use a tablet on the commute home, and watch video on-demand after work. For businesses, the rise of omnichannel living has opened new doors for communication—creating a myriad of new ways to interact with customers. Yet this variety has also created a new breed of modern consumer, who demands real-time, interactive, personalized information, whenever and however they choose.

As businesses make the transition from the printed word to smart platforms and intelligent documentation, such as Correspondence as a Service (CaaS), this makes selecting the right tech vital to support customer-centric communications strategies.

So, faced with the limitations of mainframe legacy systems and increased customer expectations, what are the questions companies should be asking as they consider implementing innovative technologies to modernize customer communications?

  1. Are our communications relevant and consistent across all channels?

Customers do not lead static lives; their individual situations, needs and preferences are always changing, and omnichannel activity is the norm. This means that each new touchpoint ought to be viewed as an opportunity to interact with individuals in a way that suits their real-time requirements, via the channel of their choice.

Correspondence must not only comply with industry regulations, but also be delivered in a consistent, accurate, and timely way that connects every interaction, across multiple channels. Getting communications right can seem like a daunting task—especially when managing and producing large volumes of correspondence.

To address this issue, businesses need to consider technologies that allow them to use the same resources and templates across multiple channels to provide a consistent message, while meeting industry standards. By creating versatile communications materials, businesses can ensure they are able to quickly meet specific customer needs at minimum cost, keeping them one step ahead of less responsive competitors.

  1. Does our system allow us to deliver an effective communications strategy?

Going digital isn’t just about being able to send a letter electronically instead of through the mail. If the functionality and benefits of each channel are not maximized, the potential for customer irritation will be high. It is therefore vital for businesses to consider whether their current system is capable of producing effective communications that fully utilize each channel—and if not, how it can be improved.

For many businesses, the biggest barrier to achieving connected and efficient omnichannel communications is their reliance on siloed legacy systems. An international healthcare group that found its disparate systems and manual document creation were preventing it from providing high-quality services. The company decided to implement a communications platform that not only consolidated its core templates, but also integrated with existing tech.

This allowed the company to build and deliver bespoke communications using one system, with each interaction adjusted for unique customers and channels.

  1. How can we keep costs down while enhancing communication efficiency?

Accuracy and speed are paramount to maintain real-time context and customer satisfaction. Consequently, when choosing an intelligent communications platform there are two factors businesses should prioritise—adaptability and resource usage.

The majority of traditional systems offer little control when it comes to adjusting communications—research shows that 90% of the time, businesses have to wait 60 days for IT departments to make even small changes, such as amending an error in a paragraph, or changing personal information, which can damage brand reputation. They are also labour intensive—requiring significant and costly internal resources to store customer details, as well as construct and distribute communications.

As a result, businesses may wish to consider a modern cloud-based system that offers real-time adjustment. Operating within the cloud enables businesses to distribute services swiftly with minimal expense—allowing internal resources to allocated more efficiently. The ability to integrate communications systems across businesses also means that messages can be easily changed, ensuing they remain relevant, effective for individual customers, and in turn boosting ROI.

Businesses have always known that providing strong customer communications means delivering the best interaction, at the ideal time. But in the omnichannel landscape, pinpointing the perfect moment and environment is a difficult task. To keep up with modern consumers businesses need adaptable, cost-efficient, and easy-to-use platforms that allow them to move with the tide of evolution—bringing strategy and communication in line with a new generation of customers, and technologies.

George Wright // George Wright is Senior VP and General Manager of Smart Communications. With more than 30 years of sales and general management experience.  Wright has held senior VP and General Manager positions at Infor’s CRM Division and was VP of Worldwide Sales at VirtuOz Inc., a self-service support solutions provider. Wright has also been senior VP and General Manager of Worldwide Field Operations for Epiphany Inc., a leading provider of CRM solutions where his responsibilities included managing sales operations, renewals, professional services and education. During his time at Epiphany, Wright was instrumental in growing revenues from zero to a run-rate of $125 million in three years, prior to the company’s successful IPO. Wright also has held management positions with SAP America, Oracle Corporation and Netscape Communications Corporation.