Customer Communications Management (CCM) has changed forever
At a high level, customer communication management (CCM) refers to how an organization manages the communications it sends to customers. But there’s no doubt that CCM means different things to different people.
To an organization, CCM is a critical part of customer experience management (CXM). But various teams within a company have different agendas and objectives when it comes to customer communication. Some teams see CCM as a means to drive cost savings, for example, by migrating customers from high-cost channels to lower-cost channels. Other teams are more intent on improving the customer experience in order to drive customer engagement, build loyalty and increase retention.
Customers experience the result of CCM and CXM (or lack thereof) each time they receive a communication from an organization. Today’s customers expect relevant and timely communication, customized to their personal circumstances, needs and life stage. They also expect to be able to choose which communication channels they prefer, and to switch channels when they want to, without fracturing their experience.
It's easy to feel daunted by the layers and complexities of CCM
CCM really is as simple as sending relevant, personalized communication that helps to build a great customer experience. But, when you drill down, there are many layers and components. CCM encompasses consumer preferences management, data, document templates, regulations, physical and digital channels, omnichannel orchestration, integrations with data systems, security, process automation, and much more.
Once you reach the ‘technology level’, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the scope and complexity of customer communication management.
So, how can one be successful in driving the required changes within an organization without feeling daunted by the complexity that is inherent in the CCM space?
Four tips to avoid CCM-overload
Having thought about this a lot, I suggest following these four tips to develop a paced and methodical approach to CCM initiatives and avoid the overload one feels when working on an insurmountable project.
1. Acknowledge that print is declining as a channel
Print is no longer the only viable option to communicate reliably, nor it is the most desirable option for many consumers who want real-time digital options. Print volumes will continue decreasing as more consumers opt for digital alternatives, and organizations realize associated cost savings.
Print communications won’t go away completely, but it’s important to acknowledge that consumers are choosing digital, so organizations can only benefit from providing digital and doing it well.
Keep this in mind when determining your approach and prioritizing projects. Ask and answer the following questions:
- Can your initiative help save on paper costs for your regulated communications? Check.
- Can your suggestion on a process improvement eliminate a paper-based process? Check.
- If you simply change a subject line or an incentive in your digital enrollment campaign, will this alone be enough to encourage more customers to switch to digital documents? Check!
2. Focus on key challenges first and remember – small changes matter
No matter where you turn, there will be an opportunity to improve CCM and CXM. The trick is to focus. Start with what’s causing the worst experiences for your customers and tackle that area first. Then, move on to the biggest cost item for CCM/CXM, and plan to find ways to eliminate some costs, for example by consolidating vendors, renegotiating pricing levels or models, and reducing paper usage.
Whatever your role and influence is within the organization, remember that small improvements will have a ripple effect. Small tweaks to your e-adoption program are a good example, and there are many more ways to introduce incremental improvements.
Because CCM is so complex, large-scale projects take years, and you need the quick wins to stay motivated and continue moving forward.
3. Pick the right partner for the journey
When building the tech stack to support your strategy, pay attention to the future plans of potential technology vendors. Change is happening so quickly that companies cannot afford to entrust an important initiative to an outsourced partner that doesn't have a vision of what CCM will look like in one, two or three years from now. Make sure to ask your vendors the harder questions, like:
- What is your 5-year vision and roadmap for CCM and CXM?
- What have you invested into research and development for CCM this year and what is your plan for the next year?
It also helps to read the vendors’ published thought-leadership articles to understand their approach to CCM/CXM and talk to current customers to find out if the vendor has acted on their product promises in the past.
Implementing great technology does not automatically result in digitization or great customer experience. Your organization will need support around best practices and change management, so look for partners that give you both the ‘what’ (technology) and the ‘how’ (digital transformation consulting)!
4. Simplify at every opportunity
Being a CCM/CXM champion is a very challenging (yet inspiring) job. No matter the size of your organization, the complexity of CCM doesn’t need to be overwhelming. If there is any opportunity to simplify projects and processes as you work on CCM initiatives – do it!
Some examples might be adopting proven implementation methodology from your vendor to cut time to market; outsourcing integration work; or choosing a fully managed, hosted, SaaS solution to limit the need for internal IT support.
Also pay attention to the vendor’s contracting process, pricing structure and invoicing, to make sure that their internal processes are not adding complexity to yours.
CCM has changed forever and while it will continue evolving, it is unlikely to become less complex. The great news is that technology exists to enable organizations to offer a fully omnichannel communication experience. Perhaps more importantly, the right partner will bring practices and processes that can help you navigate through the complexity to achieve your target outcomes.
We can help simplify your CCM journey
Vice President, CCM Product Management & Product Marketing at Doxim.
Olga focuses on delivering business value to Doxim’s clients through world-class SaaS CCM solutions. She has a strong background in CCM technology for the regulated industries, product management and project management.
Olga joined Doxim in 2017 as the head of Product Marketing, Demand Generation, and Communications, and prior to Doxim, held product, marketing and strategy leadership positions at companies of all sizes, from startups to Fortune 500, including Telmetrics, OpenText, and JVL.
Olga holds an MBA from the Paul Merage School of Business at the University of California, an Honors Master's degree in Finance, and an Honors Bachelor's degree in Economics and International Management. Olga is a regular contributor to industry media, covering topics in marketing, financial services, productivity, and work management.