There’s plenty of buzz and plenty of buzzwords around the idea of improving your company’s customer experience. Although the dimensions and focus on “customer experience” vary greatly from firm to firm, there’s one universal constant: the basic premise of communicating effectively with both your existing and prospective customers.
Today, this communication occurs across a wider variety of devices, platforms, and media than ever before. Compounding this diversity of delivery channels is the increased pace or speed with which the communications are or should be executed – at least in the minds of your customers.
So if, like many of Doculabs’ clients, you’ve got 10,000 to 40,000 different documents and messages in your inventory, you’re probably trying to figure out how to deal with that inventory and fundamentally improve your customer experience at the same time. To get your strategy aligned with your execution plan, consider these five ways in which your customer communications management (CCM) program can be used to drive improvements in customer experience:
- Voice of the Customer: Refresh the content of your documents and messages by developing a set of communication standards that puts the customer experience first. Develop the tone, the voice, the language, and the look and feel for your entire inventory. Yes, that includes your regulated documents, too. Although in some cases you’ve got less flexibility, you certainly can be compliant and customer-centric at the same time. Align your writers and your compliance and legal groups around a shared vision for the customer voice. Experience has shown that after a few early battles, the group can align on a set of standards that not only your customers will appreciate, but that will also keep you out of the regulators’ doghouse.
- Personalization and Relevance: Winners in business today cannot survive on great product alone. They must able to communicate with prospects and customers alike, using pertinent information delivered in a personalized way. Generic mass communications are much more likely to turn people off or to simply be ignored. Today’s publishing platforms make it easier than ever to integrate your customer data to enable the improved experience. Combine that with effective business user tools to create and control the rules of engagement and personalization, and you’re well on your way toward creating the experience that you aspire to provide.
- Multi-Channel Delivery: No conversation about customer experience today is worth having without including the impacts driven by the web and mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. With recent history as their guide, many firms address the emergence of new channels or devices by creating entirely new delivery teams and infrastructures to address the specific requirements imposed by those new channels or devices. While this redundancy may initially seem more agile and get you a footprint in the market, eventually the cost and speed equations turn negative, and the resulting fragmented messaging from all these independent silos can have an even more disastrous effect. Plan to consolidate your communications silos on a modern platform that’s designed for effective management of your content across many delivery channels. A word to the wise: Your competition has been investing here; don’t get left behind.
- Speed to Market: Customers and prospects expect their information “when they want it” – i.e. it must be timely from their perspective, not yours. Maintaining hundreds, if not thousands, of redundant documents will not help you meet expected timelines. Two keys to improving your speed to communications creation and maintenance are to reduce your total inventory through refactoring and through the development of common high-level processes across your business units.
- Consistent Branding: Should your image or persona be different at every touch point? While there certainly are expected differences in how you present materials across different channels, your identity and image help to define your company in the eyes of your customers. Many firms that have grown through acquisition struggle with the problem of how to drive a level of consistency in their communications, including the brand that is presented. Although branding isn’t an afterthought, many firms have their hands so full just with integrating the products and the operations of the acquired entity, that branding takes a back seat. Years later, they find they’ve got a mix of brands, images, logos, catch phrases, and monikers across all their different products and business lines. The synergies of CCM and customer experience initiatives present the perfect opportunity to address branding issues. Content refactoring and rewrites for voice of the customer should definitely include standards and implementation of consistently applied, channel-specific branding.
These are just five of the ways in which an enterprise CCM program can help you improve the customer experience you deliver and the relationship you build with prospects and customers. With the bar set higher than ever before, it’s time to turn your vision and strategy for customer communications and experience into an actionable plan.