When integrating with a customer communications management (CCM) solution, IT departments are asked to deliver the value and ROI envisioned by their organization's strategic move to CCM.
There are many aspects of a CCM solution roll-out that are difficult to overcome unless the solution was designed with these challenges in mind. Inadequate attention to these can result in fractured and decentralized CCM, where each user group within the organization will shape their own approach to implementing the vision.
Ironically, this is self-defeating: the promise of CCM is to provide a 360º projection of the company, where each touch point with the customer will engage on behalf of all the organization, not just a specific group.
At the core, a Customer Communications Management (CCM) solution must provide a flexible collaboration platform as well as an advanced document production infrastructure.
What are some of these challenges faced by the IT staff?
- They are asked to cost-effectively empower their organization to engage customers with communication materials delivered via multiple channels (web, email, print), in multiple languages, and on multiple devices (PC, MAC, iPad, Android, etc.), according to the preferences of each customer, but always in compliance with policies.
This is the CCM "omni-channel" tactic: to communicate with customers on the channel that is most appropriate to the content of the message.
- They are asked to pull their organization’s vision of the future into the present, as projects that leverage new capabilities such as interactive documents, data visualization, embedded multi-media, and 2-way communication become the norm.
This is another of the CCM tactics: to provide rich media experiences that will draw the customer's attention.
- They are asked to give those responsible for managing "the brand" oversight on document quality and layout. Brand managers have the responsibility to incorporate brand specific details in a consistent manner, and assure the organization is delivering communication materials (statements, invoices, presentations, letters, brochures, catalogs, etc.) consistent with the corporate image.
This is the CCM "brand management" tactic: to project the corporate persona in all outbound communications.
- They are asked to remove latency between message-inception and delivery while still offering personalization, customization, and quality controls. In a dialog, late responses are awkward, and far from engaging. They are asked to make standard outbound documents dynamic, as they are seen as opportunities to engage with customers.
This is another tactic within CCM: to engage with customers at every opportunity.
- They are asked to empower non-technical groups to produce content, with minimal dependence on the IT staff. Content professionals expect to communicate with customers without working through the IT department. While not providing content themselves, they are asked to support collaboration within the community of content professionals, and the operations managers. They are asked to protect existing transactional business processes from risk, while at the same time, to open the document production portions of these same processes to content professionals and absorb frequent changes.
CCM tactics include relevant content: to deliver high-quality content that engages on multiple levels.
- They are asked to compartmentalize and secure sensitive data, while at the same time, break down data silos that hinder a unified approach towards “customer intelligence” so that all data can be brought into the personalization and customization of outbound messages.
This is a key tactic within CCM: to target messages and personalize messages so they speak to each specific customer.
- They are asked to keep costs at a minimum, but still provide rich capabilities for diverse needs, such as interactive document production for the customer service center, on-demand document production for the website, and batch document generation for accounts receivable.
This is, in fact, the whole point of the CCM strategy: high ROI, and measurable improvement to the bottom line.
Will your IT staff have the right tools for the job?
The IT executive overseeing an organization’s customer communications has the heavy responsibility of deploying a solution that achieves the organization's CCM goal within an org chart that is not designed to support these goals.
Corporate org charts represent functional isolation, but CCM asks for these isolated groups to collaborate. No one group has the "responsibility" for communicating, but rather, the end goal of a quality CCM solution is to empower these isolated groups to work together, and assure the quality and relevance of every outbound message.