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Customer Communications Management is defined as ‘a combined set of technology solutions that together provide marketing professionals the ability to enhance the way they communicate with their customers’.
In short, it enables producers of high-volume transactional documents to leverage ‘routine customer communications’ such as invoices, statements and other similar documents for marketing and customer satisfaction purposes.
Why is Customer Communications Management becoming so worthwhile and popular? The answer lies in the facts.
Transactional documents are opened almost all of the time. Studies and research from organizations such as InfoTrends and the Royal Mail show that invoices, statements and bills are opened more than 90% of the time and that the receiver looks at these documents for between three and five minutes. Moreover, these documents can be stored and revisited for up to seven years; a stark comparison to the very short lifetime of the average direct mail piece.
In a world where we are bombarded by advertising messages this level of attention cannot be ignored, which is why industry analysts such as Gartner Group, Forrester Research, InfoTrends and Madison Advisors advocate Customer Communications Management.
What elements make up a Customer Communications Management system?
Typically your solution will include some, of not all, of these elements:
While Customer Communications Management started out with a simple premise, it has now become a key source for driving additional revenue and increasing levels of customer satisfaction and loyalty. Many systems are now so integrated with the background information held in the CRM system that it is possible for every page of a statement run to have individual and customized messages applied to the output.
While it is possible to manage some of this customization early on in the output lifecycle, many proponents of a Customer Communications Management system have found that it is easier to make these changes using post processing solutions. Altering the print-stream with a document re-engineering solution is often cheaper, faster and less disruptive to the business, and allows for quicker reactions to market needs.
After the output has been produced, distributed and received by the client, a good Customer Communications Management system will continue to have an effect on that document. The physical version may have been delivered, but you need to consider how to provide archived documents, electronic copies and distribution of the output to call centers for support purposes. Being able to store and retrieve the output quickly and efficiently to the client or your own staff is a key element of any Customer Communications Management system.
Key to a successful Customer Communications Management solution is the ability to ensure all your messages are delivered in a timely manner with the highest levels of relevance. Promoting a relevant message at the wrong time, or promoting the wrong offer in the first place, can have a damaging effect on your brand and sales.
Regulatory compliance must also be taken into consideration. Ensuring that your communications are on the right side of any applicable laws and regulations is important. Informing customers of changes that affect them is as much a part of a good Customer Communications Management system as using it for advertising, cross-selling, promotional activity or marketing. Regulatory compliance often involves timeliness of the client delivery, and proof of that delivery.
Another aspect of an excellent Customer Communications Management solution is one that considers the delivery channel and format for each document for each client. Some clients are very happy to receive their documents on paper in the mail. A growing segment of the market wants documents delivered digitally, through portals or cloud-based Digital Postal Mail services. Another smaller, but important, segment requires documents in accessible formats such as Braille, Large Print, e-text and audio.
With a high level of variability, both in terms of the document content and the various software and hardware solutions that make up your system, you should make it your highest priority to choose a software partner that has open capabilities and understands how to interface with all of your installed components. If you choose a proprietary route, you’ll find your Customer Communications Management system will have difficulty showing the return on investment you require due to the high integration and maintenance costs.
To talk more about Customer Communications Management, contact us now:
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