Sep 30, 2013
InfoTrends has recently completed a major study looking at overcoming Customer Communications Management (CCM) implementation challenges at enterprises. Between January and August 2013 InfoTrends conducted several in-depth focus group sessions with CCM stakeholders of large U.S. enterprises and governmental agencies. Those large organizations send out a staggering amount of customer communications (e.g. bill, statements, policies, notifications, welcome kits, direct mail, e-mails), and managing them in a way where they all work together to improve the customer experience and optimize the lifetime value; which is not an easy thing to do. Based on the research we have developed three sets of recommendations (for enterprises, outsourcers, and vendors) that I will briefly outline below.
Figure: Customer Communications Management (CCM) Overview
Enterprises: Centralize CCM
The large size of a typical enterprise makes customer communications difficult to manage and control since there are many IT systems, stakeholders, and procedures involved. Additionally, many enterprises manage CCM at the Line of Business (LOB) level, meaning that there is little to no coordination between the various divisions. Implementing CCM as a centralized communications hub is very beneficial from a tracking, overview, customer channel preference, and channel synchronization perspective. Having a centralized system also helps enterprises rationalize redundancy in systems and provide better cost insights. Besides centralizing the technology, implementing a CCM Team of Excellence to govern CCM centrally would help to improve cross-functional coordination, speed up CCM funding processes, and enable more consistency in branding, style, and messaging across channels and organizational divisions.
Outsourcers: Become more Strategically Involved
In our conversations with enterprises it was surprising to see how little value was placed on the role of outsourcers in strategic discussions around CCM. The communications landscape is dramatically changing and this is providing opportunities for outsourcers to broaden their portfolio with things like mobile technology, interactive presentment, tracking and tracing, template-based messaging, and more. Outsourcers are also ideally placed to help enterprises better understand the overall cost of communications. Having a wider set of capabilities in place would help outsourcers transition to a more strategic adviser role vs. a pure cost reduction role.
Vendors: Innovate and Automate
There is a strong desire at enterprises to buy software from a vendor rather than developing it in-house. Enterprises are keen on investing in mobile, interactive, data analytics, templates/business enablement, and channel preference management solutions; while also cloud computing is beginning to make way in this area despite the very strict data protection concerns and requirements. Since CCM is not well-defined and often overlapping with other IT systems such as archiving systems, Enterprise Content Management (ECM), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Business Process Automation (BPA) and data analytics/business intelligence (BI), ensuring integration of these solutions through APIs and automation throughout remains important. While it is the wish of every CCM vendor to see enterprises adopt a single system, it is more likely that CCM will operate alongside other communications systems. Having strong integration and automation capabilities is key; as well as a clear focus that customers understand and help them easily position the vendor.
While there is much more insight to draw from our CCM research, the overview here provides a succinct summary of some of the key recommendations for enterprises, outsourcers, and technology vendors. The CCM market is set for good growth as enterprises are migrating from print to electronic communications and are investing in technology to optimize the customer experience, in hopes to improve the lifetime value of the customer. This is done through data-driven communications that strengthen customer relationships, minimize attrition, and influence customer behavior to drive more cross-sell and up-sell.
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