As it is rightly said, ‘Communication is the key to success’. Have you ever noticed that you had a prospect who would have purchased your product/service but had second thoughts because the salesperson or the communication received was not up to their expectation? That is what the power of communication is and how it can impact the relationship between consumers and organizations. It has the power to influence the entire decision-making process. Communication plays a vital role in the process of building relationships with customers, enhancing customer experience, and taking them through the entire sales funnel.
There was a time when the first communication, at the time of customer acquisition, was considered the topmost priority. Now, communication has to be managed at every point and throughout the customer lifecycle. First impressions and first contact are the foundation of any relation, but other communications are also equally crucial.
From the outside, communicating with customers may look like an easy task but the increasing customer base and channels intensify its complexity. Communication is not just about delivering the right content to the right people at right time. A lot of backend work such as data management, creation of channel-friendly content, delivering the content, and analyzing the data for future reference goes into ensuring effective communication.
The entire process of handling all the front-end and back-end tasks related to customer communication is known as Customer Communication Management.
Customer communication management (CCM) has come a long way from manually managing the process to automating processes, but still, it has untapped potential and can grow. In the wake of digital transformation, CCM emerged as an opportunity for automation – CCM platforms came into existence, and communication went digital and automated.
However, CCM vendors are struggling to stay relevant in the increasingly complex and competitive market and meet organizational standards at the same time. Apart from the sheer difficulty of coping up with rapid advancement and scaling, there is an added challenge of miscommunication ruining customer relations. Communication can backfire in various circumstances such as:
Over the past couple of years, we have seen a rising inclination of organizations towards a more digital space. The shift from legacy platforms to digital space has been the result of consumers wanting the ease and the comfort to read and articulate messages at their own pace and time.
Earlier, consumers were flooded with telecalls, letters, fax, SMS, and other traditional methods of messaging. The unlimited communication from varied sources has created consumers being confused and communication losing its essence. Hence, organizations look for opportunities to shift to digital space. Digital messaging creates value in the eyes of the consumer and gives them their own time to read and comprehend the communication. This in return leads to enhancing both customer experience and organizational ROI.
Digital transformation may have emerged long back, but COVID-19 has led to increased acceptance when it comes to digital space. And with increasing acceptance, the digital touchpoints are also increasing, leading to more traffic and generation of hefty amount of data.
Customers want seamless experience and unified experience throughout the touchpoints even if they switch from one platform to another. Even while filling up forms or working on some task, they expect to start from the point where they left off in some other channel. This is mainly so that they can avoid redoing work. To provide customer with the same, CCM vendors are using machine learning and artificial intelligence allowing them to track activity and provide experience accordingly.
Data management and overlapping of documents
Organizations receive communication from varied sources and each source has its own format. The data can be structured or unstructured in form. Data collected from multiple sources goes through the process of Extracting, Transforming, & Loading (ETL) and then is stored in data warehouse for future purposes and reference. Additionally, as organizations are moving to digital space the traditional documents or communication also must be digitalized and stored in the data warehouse. During the process of ETL, digitalizing the documents, or moving from legacy platform, there is a possibility of document overlap or multiple folders and sub-folders being created for the same customer.
So, what next? CCM vendors, apart from automating processes, are implementing various emerging technologies such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, blockchain, and robotic process automation. These technologies help to identify patterns, reduce data redundancy, format data into a machine-readable format, and secure data.
Level of personalisation and interaction
Digitalization and automation are the key trend in the CCM space, but we cannot deny the fact that digital platforms lack the human touch. With fast moving and busy lifestyle, customers do not want to be flooded with unnecessary information. They prefer being entertained with relevant communication.
Here, personalization is the steppingstone. If a consumer sees that the communication received is specially designed for them and is not a mass mailer, there are chances that they might show interest. Consumers usually spam mass mailers and it can harm organizations efforts and customer acquisition costs.
CCM vendors are, therefore, using machine learning and artificial intelligence to track patterns, understand the consumers, and articulate their future behavior and personalize accordingly. Additionally, vendors are coming up with innovative interactive communication such as video communication, behavioral survey communication, interactive charts, and so on. These help an organization create a brand image and also engage consumers.
Adherence to legal compliance
Digital communication is all about various types of data. With rapidly changing data policies and complex regulatory bodies, organizations cannot neglect even a small discrepancy. It has been witnessed that even a minute leak of data has affected the brand value, trust and also caused heavy losses to organisations.
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) are regulatory bodies when it comes to European and Californian countries and companies. Similarly, every country has their own regulatory bodies and legal compliance. Organizations dealing with multiple countries face the difficulty of standardizing the communication as well as legal adherence. Manually managing legal compliance for multiple countries is difficult and hence CCM vendors are automating the process using various emerging technologies that track and identify any discrepancy and alerts the users allowing them to act accordingly.
In order to prevent such miscommunication from taking place, organizations are becoming more reliant on automated solutions like CCM platforms. These platforms not only reduce the stress of managing everything manually, but also have predictive and corrective measures in-built.