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White Papers

Turning customer interaction into profitable relationships
Reaping the benefits of unified customer communication management (CCM)
By: Quocirca
Published: September 2009
Logo for Quocirca

Effective customer communication boosts customer loyalty, ensures brand and regulatory compliance, reduces environmental impact and helps control a range of costs such as reductions in IT maintenance, printing, call centre operations and postage. However, most organisations take a fragmented approach to managing enterprise customer communications using outdated technologies which are not consistent across the range of media channels that people use today. Quocirca's report examines how a CCM strategy can transform the impact of customer communications at every customer touch point, controlling cost, driving operational efficiencies and building customer loyalty.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Clear, effective and relevant communication is critical to building trusted and long-term customer relationships, yet many organisations-both private and public sector-struggle to manage and deliver consistent and cost-effective communications across today's multitude of media channels. This leads to poor branding, compliance issues, higher customer care costs and, ultimately, customer attrition. An effective CCM strategy overcomes these challenges through a unified approach to the creation, management and delivery of multichannel, interactive customer communications.

  • Today's "connected" consumer-centric world is putting pressure on businesses to deliver timely, personal and compelling communications across diverse channels. Businesses are communicating with better informed and increasingly demanding consumers via a multitude of channels, including email, web sites and/or portals, SMS, and social media networks along with traditional mail and telephony via call centres. Well connected customers are less tolerant of fragmented and inferior service and are more willing to readily move to a competitor as a result of a poor customer experience.
  • An uncoordinated approach to customer communications has serious implications for any business. Businesses are facing phenomenal growth in the types of communication that an organisation has to manage-both inbound and outbound. Inconsistent and inaccurate communications not only leads to brand inconsistency but can expose an organisation to litigation or financial penalties and negative publicity. The consequential damage can be lasting, particularly in the connected world that all businesses now operate in where reputations can be quickly sullied.
  • Many companies use multiple products to create and manage customer communications, leading to inefficiencies and increased costs of management and maintenance. Most businesses generate huge volumes of customer communications, such as statements, bills, direct mail and general correspondence. These communications are often based on a multitude of different templates, which are stored in different environments making them impossible to update, version and track. This decentralised approach is costly and time consuming and makes it not only hard to ensure consistent and accurate communications but also to maintain brand integrity.
  • Lack of customer knowledge is the root of communications challenges. Organisations seeking to improve customer communications should look beyond customer relationship management (CRM) systems, as these often fail to capture and analyse all inbound and outbound communications. Data quality is the foundation for CCM, and CRM is but one feed. By leveraging existing CRM and transaction data, CCM provides a 360 degree view of the customer, ensuring that on-going communications are highly personalised and relevant.
  • The benefits of CCM are tangible, reducing costs and improving operational efficiency while enhancing the customer experience. An effective CCM platform provides a unified approach to managing all enterprise communications, regardless of format or delivery channel. CCM tools empower business users to create and manage customer communications, reducing the reliance on costly IT resources. Personalised cross-channel communications can be created through sophisticated data quality and integration tools, while advanced storage and retrieval capabilities ensure all communications, including email and SMS, can be centrally stored and accessed.

Conclusion The negative impact of irrelevant and unclear communications cannot be underestimated. As customer interactions across media channels continue to grow, a disjointed approach to communications will have profound consequences for any business in the form of higher costs, customer loss and brand damage. Those businesses that stay ahead of the competition will be those that develop a good CCM strategy that coordinates multichannel communications, empowers business users and provides a rapid return on investment. Businesses that do will reap the benefits of lower costs, improved efficiency and greater customer loyalty.

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