Is communication even a priority?
With limited time and resources, it’s important for a small business to prioritize things carefully. Communications expenses generally fall under “overhead cost”: a necessary investment, but one given only minimal energy and resources. Maybe you’re just looking for basic templates to move your formal business processes along.
But then why are so many small businesses treating customer communications like it’s something a bit more? Why does the customer communications management (CCM) industry exist?
Customer communications management (CCM) exists because your customers want it. Business today is more than just products and services with documents in between. With mobile technology, communication becomes a significant portion of your business.
Everyone you know is communicating through multiple channels, so your competitors are trying to not only serve the customer’s immediate needs, but also to befriend them and lay the groundwork for long-term relationships. Nurturing long-term customer relationships takes time and energy, and is something small businesses may struggle to do.
Maybe you thought your larger competition was investing more time and money into communication, not out necessity, but simply because they could afford to.
Sure, they can afford to install their own document rendering engine onto their own servers, hosting a number of communications solutions from different vendors, and pay the IT staff to manage it. But they also know the value that communications bring to their customer relationships.
Their complex systems, however, are not necessary for profit-maximizing communications. The time, energy, and funds put into these operations can all be reduced with a Customer Communications Management solution. This means bringing together all of the separate communication solutions – programming, data management, design, content writing – and combining them into one.
For smaller companies, there is a radically simple way to implement this: a cloud solution.
Easy template management
For all of the customer communications resources that small businesses lack, there is a solution in the cloud. In solutions like Ecrion Omni System, for example, customer communications do not necessarily require a panel of experts working their respective talents to get a batch of documents out to your customers.
No more outsourcing to designers, programmers, and marketing consultants: it just takes you and a user-friendly interface.
Most businesses have a customer relationship management (CRM) software in place to keep track of their customer data (Salesforce, Zoho, Leadmaster), and a separate tool for document production. customer communications management combines documents and data to achieve the greatest possible appeal with each individual customer. Your document templates can now be tailored to serve different ages, genders, names, locations, and more, then stored in a document repository - in the cloud - for re-use.
The options for designing documents are endless: you can choose from a variety of pre-made templates or begin from scratch. And the elements you can include go farther than your logo and a few paragraphs.
With an excellent Customer Communications Management solution, you will have the ability to deliver customer data in new, interesting ways. Provide customers with interactive documents containing graphics and tables, even deliver promotional content for other services relevant to their needs. All of these elements would be based on customer demographics or on what customers have made clear to you in their preferences. The longer your relationship with the customer lasts, the more data you will obtain, the more precise your communications with them have the potential to be.
The support you need
While customer communications solutions make document production easy and intuitive, the prospect of delivering hundreds or thousands of communications can still overwhelm a small staff with limited resources.
Lucky for businesses employing a CCM solution, support is quickly and easily accessed. No matter what aspect of communication causes you trouble, all of it is contained in one solution, designed by the same knowledgeable people.
It is also consistently updated with additional capabilities, always future-ready. For example, many of these systems currently support omni-channel communication – delivery by text, email, print, and more.
This could even put small businesses ahead of the game, as many older, larger firms continue to manage legacy systems, housing a set of modular solutions, for any of which support might no longer be available.
The goal is to last the years, allowing for stable, constantly evolving relationships with your customers.
Not just saving…but earning
Every step in document generation and delivery can be managed from one place with a customer communications management solution, granting small businesses the ability to communicate just as effectively as their larger counterparts.
This is not the bare minimum of communication, but a step forward in creating more personal correspondence down the road. Customer retention has proven a valuable generator of revenue, and CCM has shown to increase that.
Additional revenue streams can also be created by the promotional capabilities provided by CCM.
Whether your staff consists of one or two people, communications operations are no longer a matter of keeping your head above water. Your small business can be a competitive force for acquiring and retaining more customers, a promise of greater profit and superior brand recognition.