Before we explore what customer communication management (CCM) is all about, think about this question. Do we live in an age of instant gratification? Some would argue “yes.” As concentration falters and attention spans become shorter, consumers often appreciate the satisfaction of living in the moment. Social media consumption is a great example of this, as is fast food. But instant gratification–which often results from simple transaction-oriented selling–isn’t always the end goal for all customers. Many are looking for memorable and personalized customer experiences (CX) from the brands they interact with. They’re also willing to invest time and effort into developing ongoing relationships with these brands. These experiences and relationships are asynchronous with instant gratification.
In a recent Salesforce survey, 84% of customers said that CX is as important to them as products and services.
More and more organizations are realizing that if they want to get the edge over their competitors, they must think of great customer experience (CX) as the primary goalpost. Furthermore, they understand that one of the most powerful ways of delivering CX and building meaningful relationships with their customers is through customer communications. Great customer communications can enable organizations to do more than address customers’ challenges quickly. It also empowers them to maintain their brand image, improve their conversions, develop meaningful customer relationships, and even convert customers into loyal, long-term supporters and advocates. For all these reasons, it’s critical for organizations to make customer communication the cornerstone of their CX strategy.
However, presenting a robust CX is just half the battle. Making this a working reality requires identifying current gaps, setting future goals, formalizing the communications processes, workflows, and best practices, and implementing automated tracking, analyses, encompass, and response. This is where customer communications management software can be a real game-changer.
But what are the benefits of a great customer communication management system? And how do organizations choose the right solution for their needs?
More commonly than smaller organizations, it’s medium-sized firms and large enterprises–in both B2C and B2B spaces–that really benefit from customer communication management platforms. This is because they frequently have hundreds, if not thousands of customers, with whom communications must be managed and maintained at a certain level. These communications should be personalized, created on-demand, and quickly disseminated. They must also be tracked and analyzed to maintain engaging conversations and determine the best actions at each touchpoint for every customer.
This guide has been created for such firms.
Welcome to CCM – The ultimate guide (for enterprise).
What Is Customer Communications Management?
Customer communications management encompasses much more than one-off examples of marketing collateral, occasional emails, or a telephone-based contact center. Every channel and touchpoint where the enterprise encounters the customer–regardless of where they are in their journey–involves customer communications.
According to a global research company, Gartner, customer communication management or CCM is a “strategy to improve the creation, delivery, storage, and retrieval of outbound communications… with their distributors, partners, regulatory bodies and customers.” These communications are initiated and managed through tools and channels used for marketing, product introductions, policies, contracts, bill and payment notifications, customer support, social media, website content, and more. A CCM strategy helps formalize and centralize outbound communications processes, workflows, and best practices that enable enterprises to attract, engage and delight their customers.
The average consumer mentions brands on social media 90 times per week.
A customer communication management software or platform helps streamline customer communications to ensure that they’re personalized, interactive, and capable of driving profitable customer conversations. A robust CCM platform can support organizations with every element of their customer communications strategy, including:
- Bills and invoices
- Contracts and agreements
- Social media
- Subscription or payment reminders
As the enterprise grows, so does the complexity of customer communications. That’s why CCM software is so crucial for smart enterprises that focus on what really matters–the customer.
CCM vs. CRM: What’s the Difference?
While Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Customer Communications Management (CCM) are similar concepts, they each serve a specific role in an organization.
CRM has been around for several decades. However, it’s really only taken its place in the spotlight in recent years, largely due to the growing volume and complexity of modern digital customer outreach and the proliferation of channels.
CRM is a discipline of approaches and a combination of technologies that work together to develop, manage, and optimize an organization’s outreach and interactions with its customers – existing and prospective. It’s not a point-in-time effort; the objective is to create ongoing and mutual value for both parties throughout the lifecycle of the relationship. For the business, the desired outcomes include better customer experience, satisfaction, loyalty, and retention, which in turn drive increased sales and revenues and bottom-line growth. For customers, the benefits of effective CRM include more timely and relevant communications and better product and service support when engaging with a brand.
Modern CRM is a highly digitalized endeavor and centers on the gathering and analysis of different types of customer data to drive informed decision-making. The sources of this data include channels such as email, telephone calls, website interactions, and social media. When correctly analyzed, this data can deliver deep insights into a customer’s personal preferences and buying behaviors.
Customer communication management software allows businesses to automate this process of information-gathering and analysis.
CRM and CCM are interrelated because they both address how a business communicates with its existing and prospective customers.
CRM is more about how a company organizes customer interactions by using data and analytics to improve the number of deals closed and ensure maximum customer retention levels. CCM supports and facilitates those customer interactions through the correct enabling processes and tools.
When you incorporate CCM and CRM technology as part of a customer-centric operating model, that’s when the magic happens!
Why Is Customer Communication Management Important?
The importance of structured and coherent customer communications often only becomes clear when it’s absent. Suboptimal CCM can manifest in poor customer satisfaction ratings, leading to increased complaints, customer churn, and damage to brand reputation, all of which will negatively impact your overall profitability.
How CCM Helps Organizations Grow
By streamlining and optimizing your CCM, you’ll be able to drive up your sales volumes and improve customer retention rates. Moreover, it can boost the frequency and quality of customer engagement with your brand, which ultimately translates into profitable revenue growth.
The best CCM tools offer advanced self-service and automation features that enhance operational efficiencies while removing costs. Your people can focus on more strategic, value-adding tasks rather than low-value, mundane ones.
7 Powerful Benefits of Customer Communication Management Software
Customer communication management solutions often include design tools, composition engines, workflow engines, and built-in omnichannel management–in short, everything an enterprise might need to revitalize their customer communication and consistently deliver enhanced customer experiences.
Here are some ways customer communication management software helps organizations streamline their customer communications.
1. Data-Driven Personalization
Modern organizations have access to vast amounts and sources of customer data. If properly handled and filtered, this data can yield very useful insights about their customers’ demographics, preferences, behaviors, purchase history, preferred communications channels, and more. A CCM platform provides the means to streamline and leverage these insights to create micro-segments, design personalized communications for each customer at every stage of their journey and deliver these via their preferred delivery channels.
2. Customizable for the Organization’s Unique Needs
The best CCM platforms offer both out-of-the-box integration flexibility and advanced customization. They can also seamlessly integrate with data and content from any application, including Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools like Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics 365. This provides the pliancy and agility required to utilize enterprise tools and create memorable customer communications.
3. Self-Service Capabilities
A feature-rich customer communication management platform should provide self-service capabilities that organizations can offer to their customers. Customers can use these data fields to update their contact details, request duplicate documents, open service tickets, etc. This gives them a quick and easy way to get information, resolve challenges, or take relevant decisions without having to wait for a support person to get back to them. Self-service features in CCM also enable organizations to increase their operational efficiencies, lower their costs, and boost their profits. A further advantage is that they can focus on more strategic tasks that add even greater value to their customer communications.
4. Compliant Communications
Many organizations–even large enterprises – can struggle to keep pace with regulatory requirements with respect to customer communications. Enterprises now face a greater burden to create customer communications that are compliant with the privacy and confidentiality requirements enshrined in laws like California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). With pre-built compliance functionalities, customer communications management software provides a holistic view of their entire communications package and enables them to avoid the risks of non-compliance such as financial fines, loss of customer trust, and reputational damage.
5. Streamlined Operations
Modern CCM software delivers time and cost savings, enhancing a business’s overall operational efficiency. For example, integrated and automated workflows reduce approval, response, and turnaround times. The result is better quality communication, fewer errors, and a lower administrative and management burden on your internal teams.
6. Improved Customer Experience
When your customers feel that the communication between them and your organization is reciprocal, transparent, relevant, constructive, and timely, they’re more likely to remain loyal, contributing to higher customer lifetime value.
7. Enhanced Employee Experience
CCM doesn’t only boost your customers’ experience; it can go a long way to making your employees happier and more productive. For example, CCM software automates many tasks that would previously take administrators and data capturers hours to perform, which boosts their level of job satisfaction. Additionally, good CCM will mean fewer customer complaints for your customer service team to field, which will further elevate their levels of happiness and reduce their on-the-job stress.
Multi-Channel vs. Omni-Channel: Which to Choose?
In 2019, a majority of customers used 3 to 5 channels to contact customer service.
This indicates that modern customers are looking for ongoing, two-way brand conversations that move seamlessly between multiple touchpoints. Moreover, they’re not impressed with generic, one-directional, and “cookie-cutter” communications that go out to thousands of people simultaneously. They want to engage with brands and be heard, and neither lectured nor spoken down to.
Successful and customer-centric organizations understand this and make every effort to meet these demands. They also understand that product, price, or brand aren’t necessarily the right differentiators to focus on – CX is. But to deliver great CX consistently, it’s essential for the organization to be present and available on their customers’ preferred communications channels, whether social or web, mobile or email, voice, or print. To do this effectively, their long-term customer communications strategy should be designed around omnichannel communications.
Why Not Multi-Channel Communications?
With a multi-channel approach, disparate communications elements such as voice, email, social, etc. fail to leverage customer information or history since they work in independent ‘silos.’ There’s little or no interaction between them, which leads to duplication, poor communications, and worse, frustrated customers.
An omnichannel CCM platform eliminates these issues. It removes inefficient silos, integrates all communications touchpoints, and leverages the power of intelligent automation. In doing so, it offers a unified view of customers across their entire journey and transforms communications into highly personalized, engaging CX. It also gives customers the freedom to seamlessly switch between different channels without providing their information multiple times. With fast solutions, convenience, and transparency, omnichannel CCM provides all these advantages to customers, which ultimately delivers valuable business outcomes for organizations.
How to Choose a CCM Platform: 6 Qualities To Look For and 4 Questions to Ask
With CCM software, organizations can easily compose, personalize, format, and deliver communications for different customers across different channels. Without CCM software, all these processes would be time-consuming, costly, error-prone, and inconsistent in terms of messaging quality, tone, or brand values.
Some of the key qualities that differentiate the best CCM platforms from the mediocre ones are:
- Capability to contextualize and personalize customer communications
- Dynamic design and content composition by using contextual data about customer demographics, behaviors, preferences, etc.
- Unified design, content authoring, interactive editing, and orchestration
- Engagement analytics for consolidated visibility into delivery, tracking, and response information
- On-premises and on-cloud setup for greater organizational flexibility and scalability
- Integration with third-party platforms such as ERP and CRM
To choose the best CCM platform, enterprises should start by asking these 4 key questions:
1. What Are Its Data Analytics Capabilities?
The platform should be able to process and access data from multiple sources to derive valuable insights and create a holistic picture of the customer. These analytical capabilities should incorporate robust business logic and enable dynamic adjustment around various factors, such as how much personalization to include, which delivery channel to choose, and what time to send the communications.
2. Can it Deliver Along the Entire Customer Journey?
A customer journey map visually represents the “story” of a customer’s experience as they progress through their journey along many channels. Each touchpoint can increase the customer’s awareness of and affinity for the brand. The map also exposes the importance of omnichannel communications for enhanced CX. A CCM solution should analyze customer journey maps and deliver personalized, on-demand communications, no matter where a customer is along their journey. It should also enable smoother, automated omnichannel communications while ensuring consistency of brand voice across this portfolio of touchpoints.
3. Does it Enable Collaboration Across Multiple Functional Departments?
A CCM platform must establish a strong foundation for enterprise-wide outbound communications that are compliant with regulatory requirements, which are consistent in terms of branding, messaging tone, and language. To achieve these aims, the software should enable enhanced collaboration between multiple teams like business strategy, marketing, legal, and compliance Cross-functional collaboration will streamline all communications workflows, and ensure that dynamic, high-quality communications are created for every customer, every time.
4. Does it Simplify Content Creation and Dissemination?
User-friendly content visualization, creation, editing, and design tools must be included so enterprise users can create responsive and highly targeted brand communications across digital and print channels. It should also streamline and automate the creation and publishing process so non-technical users don’t have to depend on IT support to quickly address customer demands.
OpenText Exstream: A Powerful CCM Platform for Medium and Large Enterprises
OpenText Exstream is an innovative omnichannel CCM solution for medium and large enterprises in any industry. Powerful yet user-friendly, OpenText Exstream enables organizations to create connected customer journeys and seamlessly manage their customer communications through customers’ preferred channels, including email, web, mobile, and chat.
Some of its key features and capabilities include:
- Easy to use content authoring and editing tools
- Browser-based communications designer with ready-made templates and layouts
- Mobile-optimized communications
- Document repository
- Customer engagement analytics
- Built-in, third-party integrations.
We hope you found CCM–The Ultimate Guide useful.
If you’d like to know more about CCM but don’t know where to start, we can help. As a leading CCM implementation and service partner for many north American enterprises, WayPath has garnered a reputation for quality work, timely delivery, and advanced CCM expertise. Our tailored solutions help unlock the full potential of omnichannel CCM to increase enterprise wallet share and boost customer loyalty and retention. To discuss your CCM project, please get in touch with us at +1-877-334-4266, or fill out the form here. We can help you with needs assessment, solution mobilization, implementation, migration, and support.