Recently, CrawfordTech in partnership with AIIM, the global community for information professionals, conducted a market survey into customer communications archiving practices. The survey had 226 respondents from North America and Western Europe and from a range of sectors including government, banking, insurance, telco/media/utilities (TMU) and healthcare. Essentially, the survey provides an insight into the trends affecting customer communication archiving.
AIIM summarized the results by saying that “Customer communications are fundamental to companies of all sizes…they provide a critical means of communicating money owed, account history, case updates, special offers and many other kinds of marketing and transactional detail to customers.” I couldn’t agree more and our experience is that companies continue to generate letters, statements and correspondence in massive quantities. These high volume transactional documents represent a large proportion of the nearly 100 billion postal items sent in North America and Western Europe each year.
But AIIM went on to say that “there is a seismic shift in the way companies communicate with customers. It is no surprise to learn that the web and electronic delivery are at the center of this change. Effective digital delivery of customer communications is essential in order to compete with those who already leverage digital channels extensively, but unfortunately in many cases these processes are still dealt with in an ad hoc way.” There is no doubt that we are experiencing a massive swing from physical to digital delivery with first-class mail volume plummeting by 30 percent since 2007 and expected to drop by another 40 percent over the next seven years.
The fact is that storing and presenting transactional customer communications may be a necessity, but effectiveness in doing so varies widely. The core technology of customer communications archiving has changed greatly over the last 20 years and for most companies is maintained by a complex web of systems that must accommodate the output from legacy systems as well as new ones. As a result the cost of customer correspondence services varies widely, and by no means are all companies getting all of the financial benefits of moving to digital communication that they should.
AIIM’s report is a great place to look at the trends associated with customer correspondence archiving and can be downloaded here.
And look out for our next blog in the “Trends in Customer Communications Archiving” series.