Customer Communication Management
Learn about customer communication management and how it can enhance customer experience with personalized communications across channels.
What is CCM?
Customer communication management (CCM), also known as omnichannel customer engagement, refers to a convergent set of information technology solutions that enable organizations to manage every aspect of customer communication, including content creation, personalization, multi-channel distribution, and archival, with a single integrated system.
CCM provides a centralized platform that connects an organization’s enterprise and core applications, web modules, portals, customer relationship management systems, etc. and automates the delivery of communications across multiple engagement channels, including email, print, SMS, WhatsApp, and other social media platforms.
It helps organizations to personalize communications, based on the customer’s profile, interests, and behavioral patterns, and to share targeted communications on their preferred channels. Furthermore, business users can track each communication sent to customers across multiple channels. Users can analyze their customers’ actions by monitoring open rates, click-through rates, and bounce rates. This helps businesses gain a 360-degree view of all the communications sent from different departments and their customers’ respective responses.
History of CCM
Traditionally, CCM enabled data-rich organizations, including banking and financial institutions, government agencies, shared services centers, etc. to share high volumes of paper-based transactional documents via emails. These transactional documents comprised of account statements, policy letters, utility bills, and any other documents that feature transactional information with mass promotional details (if any).
In the next wave, business leaders began looking out for options to cut down on the usage of paper and go the digital way. This led to the adoption of emails, e-statements, e-bills, and more. This new trend became the norm and organizations started leveraging the CCM system and reaching out to customers with customized promotional offers.
With the emergence of new digital channels, such as social media and WhatsApp, the role of CCM has evolved. Organizations started realizing the importance of keeping their customers happily engaged and began embracing a customer-centric approach.
Now, CCM is viewed as a medium to reach out to customers digitally on different devices, with ultra-personalized documents, letters, and other correspondences. The focus is on delivering the right message at the right time and the right place, with a touch of personalization. And, gaining insights into the delivery status of these communications for informed decision-making.
What’s new in CCM?
- Sending timely, relevant, and personalized communications through the customer’s preferred channels as they consider buying a product or service.
- For instance: When buying a new policy, communications shared with a customer include quotations, OTPs, payment links, welcome notifications, policy letters, etc. Similarly, when applying for a new credit card, banks share the product’s features, welcome letters, and statements to interact with customers and keep them happily engaged at every stage
- Capturing inbound requests from customers and sending them personalized communications
- Gaining clear insights into “what,” “where,” “when,” and “how” of the communication landscape
- For instance: What communication was sent? Where was it sent? When was it sent? And, how was it received – read, unread, clicked, or bounced? With answers to all these questions, it becomes easy for business leaders to create a robust communication strategy
- Sending communications with dynamic passwords or embedded QR codes that can be further encrypted, ensuring security. Scanning QR codes by authorized business users helps ensure the authenticity of documents
- Enabling the end-customer to search, sort, and filter information, play videos, receive information in graphical formats, and much more
- Rolling out responsive communications that can be viewed and accessed over smartphones and tablets
What type of organizations use CCM?
Type 1: Organizations that are often required to interact with customers via various channels and send:
- Scheduled communications – monthly statements, bills, financial statements, credit card statements, etc.
- Interactive communications – negotiated documents, such as group insurance policies or derivatives, welcome kits, etc.
- On-demand communications – premium receipts, interest certificates, order and transaction confirmations, etc.
CCM helps in delivering all these communication types in a convenient manner
Type 2: Organizations that often inflate costs related to printing and mailing and hurt their profit margins while engaging customers in different forms, including policies, statements, bills, and welcome kits
CCM automates and streamlines the communication generation process and reduces the costs of each communication
Type 3: Organizations that are “customer-centric,” and not “product-centric”
CCM makes it easier for customer-centric organizations to reach to their customers with effective and personalized communications through the right channel at the right time
Type 4: Organizations that operate in highly regulated environments, including banks and insurance firms, and strive to avoid compliance and audit risks related to customer communications
CCM helps generate secure (i.e. password protected, digital signature verified) documents with masked confidential data, ensuring compliances like PCI-DSS and HIPAA, along with other security features
When do organizations need CCM?
An organization needs CCM when:
- Printing and mailing costs are high for releasing customer-facing communications
- Generating and sending communication is a time-consuming task
- Targeted communications carry confidential data and require masking for 100% data security
- Tracing the communication delivery status is challenging
- Generating and sharing correspondences is an ad-hoc exercise, based on the requests received from customers
- Consolidating information from multiple systems to generate required communications is a lengthy process
- Sharing communications in multiple languages is required
- Adhering to compliance mandates and branding guidelines in the shared communications is an absolute must
- Archiving customer communications for future reference is imperative
Where and how do organizations utilize CCM?
Organizations place their dependency on CCM for:
- Eliminating business silos through a centralized CCM platform
- Maintaining a central template repository to ensure uniformity across communications and branding guidelines
- Automating periodic communications and ensuring their timely delivery
- Promoting personalized offers per the customer’s profile, interests, buying and spending patterns, etc.
- Ensuring compliances in communications by masking confidential data and creating secure documents
What benefits have organizations and their customers experienced with CCM?
- Minimized Operational Costs – Organizations spend a fortune on operational expense (OPEX) while communicating with customers. This significantly impacts their profit margins.
- CCM optimizes and reduces high full- time executive (FTE) costs for manually creating, printing, and mailing letters/documents
- Increased Share of Wallet – One of the biggest communication challenges for organizations is to unify and integrate information across products and services – even though the target customer base is the same. The ability to integrate targeted campaigns and relevant promotions with routine transactional communication is necessary
- CCM engages customers through their preferred channel and helps create up-sell and cross-sell opportunities, thereby increasing customers’ share of wallet
- Enhanced Customer Experience – CCM enables customers to receive device responsive documents anytime, anywhere, and through the channel of their choice. Customers can also generate and receive important documents per their requirements through the self-service portal by using the on-demand generation mode of CCM. This reduces the customer’s wait time and helps in delivering a delightful experience
- Accelerated Digital Transformation – CCM integrates with multiple legacy applications, core applications, websites, applications to consolidate information, residing in these applications, and acts as a single centralized system to design, deliver and track communications, thereby enabling business leaders to drive digital initiatives
- Minimized Compliance Risks – CCM enables organizations to ensure compliance with agility through rule-driven, highly customizable communications delivered across multiple channels
- Maximized Return on Investment – CCM enables organizations to maximize return on investment through seamless integration with legacy systems and core enterprise applications, overcoming the challenge of disjointed technologies
Using CCM the right way?
- Managing enterprise-wide customer communication needs
- Delivering the correct communication to customers at the right time through the right channel
- Meeting business service level agreements while ensuring compliance and other regulatory requirements for customer communications
- Connecting different departments that can leverage a platform-based functionality for consistent communications
- Improving business processes that involve multiple departments, such as customer onboarding, by removing departmental communication silos and broken communications
- Storing communications in the archival system that can be retrieved at a later stage to fulfil customer requests
Evaluating CCM software
Business leaders and decision-makers must look for flexible and agile CCM system that can integrate with an organization’s existing systems and make the communication process lean and agile.
Questions to ask while evaluating an ideal CCM solution:
- Does it align with the organization’s customer experience strategy?
- Does it allow to tap customers at every touchpoint?
- Will it provide a good return on investment and minimize the total cost of ownership?
- Will it improve the end users’ communication experience?
- Does it enable digital transformation and minimize business costs and risks?
- Does it allow to communicate with customers across various engagement channels?
- Does it empower business users and reduce IT dependency while sending customer communications?
- Does it have a unified UI/UX for easy designing of communications and ensuring uniformity in communications?
- Does it offer different modes of communication generation, including batch, on-demand, and interactive?
- Does it allow easy configuration for mobile, email, and other modern delivery options?
- Does it secure data and help in fulfilling compliance requirements?
How to deploy CCM?
Whether it is a large scale MNC conglomerate or a startup, the need for a robust CCM is undeniable. Large enterprises with more capital at their disposal are certainly more capable of taking an on-premises solution, whereas small and medium-sized organizations may search for the cloud-based solution, with pay-per-use and less IT system overheads mechanism. The only sure thing is to do a thorough analysis of business requirements and concerns before selecting the deployment option, be it on-premise, cloud-based, or hybrid.
On-premise Structure – On-premise deployment helps organizations gain reliability, privacy, and control while involving high maintenance costs. For the on-premise CCM solution deployment, the right configuration of system requirements, hardware sizing, and functionality play a significant role to fulfill the evolving business requirements, handle the high communication volume as well as growth in volume. The CCM system should integrate with the existing infrastructure, core systems, business applications, web-portals, databases, and downstream delivery channels to cater to the enterprise-wide communications needs.
Cloud-based Solutions – Businesses are proactively transiting to the cloud technology for its easier pay-per-use model. The shift has accelerated in the past few years as the use cases span across various industries and business workloads have moved to software as a service (SaaS) solutions. CCM seamlessly connects with cloud services and resources alike, enabling business users to make the most of the platform while using secure, user-friendly interfaces and APIs for communication services and pay as per the utilization.