A survey shows 97 percent of executives and employees believe the levels of collaboration directly impact their projects. So then why is the production and delivery of customer-facing documents traditionally restricted to IT departments?
Is it because
1. This practice yields more effective communications?
2. IT staff has long been the only personnel capable of accessing these tasks?
If I were an outsider, and you asked me whether it was normal for high-level executives to have direct influence over a company’s outgoing communications, I would say, “Of course. Why wouldn’t they?” For many companies, this is not the case. And it’s because it hasn’t been easy.
Accessibility in Oversight, Review & Approve – accessibility to non-technical executives
All businesses require special facility to bridge the gaps between minds in the office. This is why “business solutions” exist at all.
We find this especially true in customer communications where, due to some language barrier, non-technical professionals haven’t been able to link with IT staff, and IT staff have sometimes been forced to delegate customer communication goals internally, even cross-train as content marketers to deliver company messaging.
Not only does this structure force IT to speak on behalf of the entire company (spreading the department thin), it also costs the company valuable time and energy.
The main focus of IT professionals, ideally, would be the management of conditional logic behind templates, and the assets within those. Designers would design, and copywriters would write. Instead of IT being the primary content provider, it would act as the facilitator of content, deliver a foundation for other work environments.
Those environments would operate by a drag-and-drop, WYSIWYG interface, in a straightforward, natural language for anyone in an organization to easily interpret.
For customer communications to be a high-level initiative, they need to be comprehensible from the top, down. A non-technical business executive should have the ability to oversee the process, implementing business rules and delegating tasks to produce air-tight, error-free correspondence.
Collaboration – accessibility to non-technical, non-executive staff
On the flip side, 86 percent of employees cite lack of collaboration for workplace failures. The phrase "workplace failure" only starts with "failure to complete a project", but eventually translates to real, substantial monetary loss to the company. Did you know that it costs nearly half as much to hire a copywriter as it does to hire another IT professional? If nothing else, this should provoke steps toward making a company’s customer communication tools more accessible, improving collaboration with everyone on board.
This is not just a money-saving move. Though cross-training may have its place somewhere, specialization has proven most efficient in this area. Here, everyone gets to be the expert. They do their jobs well, and they accomplish the most anyone else would in the given timeframe.
Up to now, your company may have some degree of delegation and accountability in place. IT departments could, in some measure, coordinate with marketing to produce the desired content. When this doesn’t happen – and there are actually many cases out there – IT is left to its own devices.
But even in cases where some collaborative workflow exits, it’s still limited by the complexities of template management & design; a lack of natural language and simple user interface are largely why customer-facing documents have been confined to the IT realm.
Where customer communications processes begin and end with IT, they might greatly benefit from moving outside of that realm.
Internal accessibility translates to external
Higher expectations yielded by new technologies have made Customer Lifetime Value a bedrock strategy for business success. The level of presence required to please a customer who utilizes all of today’s modern communication channels is unprecedented. They want you in their emails, in their direct mailboxes, in their mobile phones and tablets. They’re not just looking instant communication, but really for the appropriate communications.
For this reason, the prevalent solution is actually a combination of solutions. Companies everywhere are seeking customer communications management strategies hoping to unify the company voice, streamlining processes, and establishing an Omni-channel presence with every individual customer – all of this while continuing to gather data on preferences, demographics, and behavior.
Specialization through isolated work environments – divided, but working together – in a process that is readable to any high-level executive, is key to helping customers understand you and wanting to work with you further.