On the surface, Customer Communication Management (CCM) appears to be a very simple concept. It is the process of managing how a business communicates with its customers. However, take into account the wide range of mediums, channels, languages and target sectors, and this simple concept begins to look progressively more complex.
It also serves us to remember that customer communication is in no way limited to customer service. ‘Communication’ refers to any sort of message one party sends to another. This exchange of information may be in the form of verbal, written, visual or auditory forms. It can also be done subliminally.
For example, the brand logo or emblem that a company chooses says a lot about the company and its goals. It is important for the brand to ensure their emblem relates with their audiences in a positive way. This is simply because, over time, customers begin identifying the brand through its logo. Hence, if the audience doesn’t appreciate or understand the visual messaging present in it, they are less likely to form a connection with the brand.
Similarly, every interaction that a customer has with the company, their brands or products and their customer service representatives gradually forms an image in the customers’ mind. Customer-centric businesses prioritize the formation of a positive image, as they believe that is what makes or breaks the growth of their organization.
Apart from the subtler forms of communication, such as design, name and emblem, there are many upfront forms of communication – Video advertisements, printed flyers, newspaper advertisements hoardings, e-mails, newsletters, website content, social media posts, SMS prompts, promotions, product announcements, product descriptions and in-app notifications.
Other kinds of communication may also include invoices, employment contracts, legal documentation, transactional documentation, appointment reminders letters of recommendation, and even letters of apology (In case of Insurance/Financial/Legal Organizations).
Customer Communication Management Technology comprises of an assembly of software programs that help compose, format and deliver targeted, highly personalized, relevant messaging to customers. Integration with artificial intelligence, machine learning, natural language processing enhances communication, promising higher customer engagement in the long run.
CCM software can deliver messages and compose documents in a wide range of styles, formats and languages, and deliver them to large audiences over multiple channels. It can be utilized to create almost anything from marketing communication to highly technical legal documents.
What CCM Technology can do –
- Automated delivery of content triggered by manual commands or preset algorithms.
- Segmentation based on customer profile and preferences in regard to mode, channel and language of communication.
- Generation of variable and non-variable content – such as sales proposals, employment contracts, legal documents, and personalized messaging across various channels
- Collect customer data – their preferences towards types and frequency of communication, available modes of communication, languages spoken, time zone, location etc.
- Collect data regarding delivery and response, analyze problem areas, and modify content and content strategy.
- Store collected data in a centralized location, in integrable, accessible formats.
- Interact with other customer experience management technology like personalization engines and customer journey maps to identify the most suitable situations to communicate with a specific customer or target audience.
How does the management really take place?
- Most CCM software begins by creating a visual layout of existing communication channels, formats, usable content, and customer feedback.
- Based on this layout, a skeleton structure of communication is then built. This structure is based on analysis and predictions and mostly represents the most impactful manner in which customer communication can be enhanced.
- This structure is then concretized and forwarded onto a production engine. This production engine then begins identifying re-usable content/ variable data, rule-based content and constant content to generate new messaging. Once the generation of new content begins, the skeleton structure is skeleton no more. It becomes populated with appropriate messaging for every instance.
- In collaboration with other CEM technology, this structure is put to use to deliver the perfect content to the customer in any given situation. CCM technology comes with capabilities such as omnichannel management, template formation, asset management, content authoring, co-authoring and editing, and data migration which make branding, marketing, sales and communications streamlined.
- In addition to automated delivery, CCM software also extracts data from the threads of communication to incorporate in future analyses.
From the times of Variable Data Printing – where the number of channels were limited to television, newspaper and magazine – to Customer Communication Management – where keeping a track of all the modes and channels is not humanly possible – branding, advertising and customer relations have come a long way. Business Management and Customer Experience Management have seen a drastic shift in policy and technology, and tools like CCM are helping organizations keep up with all the new trends.