Mar 18, 2015
On February 26, the European Business Document Associated (EBDA) organized a seminar to discuss the future of print and customer communications. This event took place as a parallel event to the Hunkeler Innovationdays 2015 in Lucerne, Switzerland. Such parallel events are a perfect opportunity for people to participate in as they easily can combine it with a visit to the Hunkeler Innovationdays. InfoTrends was invited as being one of the main speakers at this seminar together with three other industry experts. This blog highlights the key takeaways of the main discussions at the EBDA seminar.
Customer-Centric Business Alignment
Innovations in consumer technology are driving the empowering of the consumer and put forward the need of businesses to rethink their role in the customer conversation. In this type of conversation the customer takes a leading position, which forces businesses to become truly customer-centric. The concept of a customer journey allows businesses to be customer-centric by re-aligning their business processes around the key life-cycle stages of the customer. But this is easier said than done. One of the speakers brought it to the point: “Organizations want to be customer-centric but systems do not allow it”
Another point of discussion was about creating value with customer communication initiatives. Providing quantitative ROI is key but proves to be difficult for most businesses. Expressing ROI as customer lifetime values (CLV) is not a common practice although most businesses will argue they do. Whereas customer profitability deals with revenues and costs occurred in the past, CLV is about discounted revenues and costs happening in the future. Another way to prove ROI was demonstrated by a case study of an insurance company. A redesigning project of the company’s mailings and involved business processes yielded a 44% reduction in materials and 22% less call center activity related to these mailings.
From Multi-Channel to Omni-Channel
Electronic communication channels are enjoying popularity by most businesses. One reason for this is that it allows them to track their customers with less effort. Innovations in data capture and analysis technologies in combinations with consumers that are continuously connected to the internet nowadays are making this possible. But there is another reason too: it gives the consumer a choice in how to communicate with a business. Over time different channel strategies have emerge from single channel to multi-channel, to cross-channel, and finally to omni-channel. Key for modern customer communications is to pursue an omni-channel strategy where both the customer and the business are able to switch between channels in real-time during the course of their conversation and over the timespan of the customer’s journey.
Paper-based versus Paperless
The discussion around paper-based versus paperless customer communications revealed a broad consensus that paper-based communications will continue to play an important role, however, its role in the communication mix is changing. InfoTrends’ data in the field of transactional communications and payments clearly show that although paperless communications see strong growth over the next years, paper-based communications still holds the biggest share of output in the coming years.
EBDA act as a networking platform for European businesses engaged in transactional and promotional printing, both offset and digital, and document related services. Each year it organizes a site visit to one of its member companies and an annual meeting focusing on relevant topics and to provide a networking opportunity to its members.
The discussed changes in customer communications open opportunities for vendors and print service providers to offer dedicated solutions and services helping businesses in their change process related to customer communications. Technology is needed to: Enable businesses to take a participating role – instead of a leading role – in their customer conversations; Omni-channel implementations require more IT-integration to allow systems to better work together; And finally, technology should support businesses in determining quantitative ROI for their customer communications initiatives.
InfoTrends is closely tracking the field of customer communications with a variety of advisory services:
- Customer Engagement Technologies (CET) service
- Transactional Communications and Payments (TCP) service
- Enterprise Document Strategy Service for In-Plant Print Providers (EDSS)
- Online Ultimate Guide on CCM.
For more information on these advisory services, please contact Scott Phinney (+1 781 616 2100 ext.123).
More blogs from David Stabel