Why Customer Communications Management is ‘hot’ again
Five reasons you need to bring CCM higher up the agenda in 2018, by Ryan Higginson, Vice President & UK/ROI Country Leader, Global SMB Solutions, Pitney Bowes.
Customer Communications Management (CCM) has never gone out of fashion, but for a time, it seemed to move down the agenda. Overwhelmed by the multitude of communications channels, CCM jostled for space within exciting new digital customer engagement strategies: let’s be honest, sending a bill isn’t going to get the adrenalin pumping, and CCM began to lose its sparkle. Now though, prompted by changing consumer behaviours, new regulations and advanced platforms, CCM is emerging from its chrysalis and is firmly securing its place back on the agenda in 2018.
As defined by Gartner, Customer Communications Management is ‘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’. These interactions, Gartner says, ‘can happen through a widespread range of media and output, including documents, email, Short Message Service (SMS) and Web pages. CCM solutions support these objectives, providing companies with an application to improve outbound communications with their distributors, partners, regulatory bodies and customers.’1.
Terry Frazier, research director of document solutions, IDC, summarises the resurgence of CCM2: “Obviously, the emphasis on, and advancement of, multi-channel output and mobile device support by vendors has had a big impact. There’s growing realization among enterprise buyers that modern CCM platforms have a lot of capabilities besides print. Vendors have also begun making the systems easier to use. Interfaces have improved, proofing has improved, and so have the sophistication of configuration and integration tools”.
Digital transformation has sparked a new CCM which takes printing and mailing to a new level, integrating it with advanced digital platforms to enhance the customer experience. In 2018, CCM is about smart, intelligent technology. It’s about the ability to capture, centralise and control omnichannel customer communications with a suite of digital and physical tools which transform it from mundane to marvellous, from ordinary to outstanding, from essential to exceptional.
You may be bound by regulation to send customers a physical bill including certain data, but you can also use the opportunity to create impact and drive engagement. If you have the right digital and physical tools in place you can make the most of every touchpoint across every channel, capture information, send personalised messages, educate clients on new services, reinforce brand values, generate loyalty and drive engagement. CCM transforms mail streams into business assets, and has the potential to converge with Customer Experience Management, as systems begin to integrate and streamline.
The new-look CCM brings with it many benefits to your business. Here are five of them:
- It improves the customer experience and drives engagement: communicating with clients using their preferred channels drives engagement and loyalty. Managing this in a cost-effective, productive way takes things up a gear.
- It turbocharges efficiencies and drives down costs: automation is at the heart of an effective CCM strategy. Here’s an example: on average, a person can manually fold, insert and seal 100 envelopes an hour. A machine can fold, insert and seal between 1000 and 4000. And by centralising print streams to a single hub, rather than leaving each person to manage mailstreams individually, you will optimise each mailing process.
- Physical mail generates results: CCM is about more than mail, but print has an enduring appeal which has held fast throughout times of digital disruption. It’s tangible, credible and authentic, and stands out in a crowded world. There is nothing like print for connecting the sender to the recipient and building a relationship. It generates trust; it informs and educates; it clarifies facts and provides a permanent record of a transaction or interaction.
- It helps you manage risk: with today’s increasing regulations and laws governing customer privacy, such as GDPR, doing it perfectly every time isn’t good enough. You need to be able to prove it. CCM gives you the technology beyond traditional OMR and barcodes, and reporting tools to guarantee integrity, eliminate errors and drive razor-sharp accuracy
- It is a centrifugal force for your data strategy: CCM has the power and capacity to act as your data hub – a single, safe haven for your individual silos of customer information, fusing them together to create a single, highly effective platform for relevant, personalised, even real-time intelligence which is greater than the sum of its parts.
CCM has found its way into board-level conversations on Customer Experience Management, and with good reason, as the two are not mutually exclusive. CCM is an enabler for delivering a highly personalised, relevant customer experience, and should be considered as a critical part of a Customer Experience Management Strategy in 2018 and beyond.
1 Source: Gartner IT Glossary
2 Source: Terry Frazier in Document Strategy