Technology | October 26, 2016
Customer Communication Management (CCM) – What is It?
Although the acronym CCM (Customer Communication Management) is not as popular as CRM or ERP, organizations that have hundreds of thousands or millions of customers have for a long time now been managing external communication (and so all kinds of invoices, directories, policies, and so on) in an automated manner, not necessarily even classifying the technology used as a CCM class system. In the mass production of correspondence the main difficulties had until recently been efficiency, the costs of handling data processing and control over a highly restrictive process. Indeed, it is not just basic personal data which is processed, but also sensitive customer details. Moreover, communication channels have changed, as have the expectations of customers, so traditional CCM systems are not enough – the developers of this type of software must therefore be open to new opportunities and challenges.
The image of CCM has changed in the modern era. Electronic channels of communication are now hugely important, as many companies have moved away from snail mail as the main channel of communication with customers. Depending on the organization, between 50% and 95% of documents nowadays are delivered electronically. The primary reason for this change was, of course, massive savings on postage. For many companies electronic communication means cheap communication. Apart from cost optimization, on the other side of the coin is the matter of increasing revenues, here marketing is playing an important role. Well, in terms of correspondence we talk about direct contact with the customer, and modern marketing must support this area, just as with other areas in which the client comes into contact with the brand. Traditional correspondence may be of great importance in such cases.
All contact with clients is part of the marketing campaign
The marketing paradigm has changed. The existing perception of the customer through the sales funnel (AIDA) is a thing of the past. We have to recognize the importance of customer loyalty and the needs and potential of the client as a prosumer. This means that contact with the customer must be carefully planned so as to support its involvement at every stage of its relationship with the brand. But this is easy to say, harder to do. Customers are inundated with an avalanche of information and avoid ads, or are merely indifferent. It is increasingly difficult to get their attention. What tools we should use to build engagement?
Crossmedia, multichannel, omnichannel
Modern CCM no longer focuses only on the end result: an invoice, a statement, a policy, a ticket. Such a document, from a marketing point of view, is a very valuable communication channel, which can be used to present additional offers (cross-selling / up-selling). On the other hand, there is no reason that the customer should be deprived of all the benefits offered by modern data management systems, such as personalized messages, based on demographic data or the transaction history of a customer. In CCM systems such capabilities have been detected, that in reality have always been there, and so data, enabling deep customization and easy handling of multiple channels.
Use each piece of information
If we want to arouse the interest of the recipient, we should get the message across in a way that he will respond to, by adapting the content, phrases, and graphics. Messages should take into account factors such as the interest of the client, the previous activity, the value for the company, and the relationship with the customer. In its simplest form we apply customer segmentation. Such a process should not be strictly limited to rigid divisions of a base – each campaign can have a different target group. Immediately, it will recognize a segment and match the campaign, which leads to the creation of individualized and engaging documents. We can successfully use the data collected through CRM or ERP. But are systems used in the organization the only source of information? Of course not. We can also draw from public statistical data, we can even use the weather – it all depends on the creativity of marketers. For example, if in a particular city a billboard and in-store campaign is launched, we can standardize the rest of the communication addressed to clients in this area, which will bring about a synergy effect. CCM allows us to use the extensive logic of creating documents. Due to personalization we will gain a response rate anywhere from 2 to 10 times better, depending on the industry.
Be where your client is
CCM systems provide the ability to support multiple communication channels: SMS, email, post, social networking, and customer portals. Data is processed in packages, on-demand or interactively. We send messages in the way that the client prefers to receive them. If we base our actions on previous dealings with the client and have studied his reaction, it may even turn out to be unnecessary to send him a request to complete a survey regarding his preferences. Let’s learn about customer preferences ourselves. Let’s accumulate information which will allow us to adopt a more customer-friendly approach. Choosing the optimal communication channel not only increases the response rate, but at the same time increases the cost-effectiveness of communication.
A marketing campaign is a series of interactions
An engaging campaign should have several stages. A single display is not enough, but on the other hand you can not overdo the intensity. The campaign should be planned, its course carefully charted, adjusted during its period of operation, and with a mix of different channels of communication. Process automation supported by the CCM allows for the simultaneous operation and control of complex processes across multiple campaigns. In fact, CCM systems are primarily efficient systems of mass information processing.
CCM within the organisation
A CCM system is a tool that is best suited to a large, dynamic organization. Other systems in use within the company should be integrated to maximised the potential of the data which is processed. This approach lets you correlate information sent to the client, independently from various departments. The structuring of all channels facilitates a greater level of control over the content of communication and any changes to it.
We achieve another significant advantage with the implementation of CCM – namely, we get the opportunity to build a consistent brand image. A consistent form, the properly used label, the appropriate vocabulary. Even if we give business users the freedom to create content in documents, the key elements for us related to the visual identification of a firm remain uneditable.
The effects of CCM systems are not only found in letters sent by post, but also smartphones and interfaces of customer service portals. The connecting and the processing of data collected and presented in different places are growing in importance. Customers are no longer anonymous, as companies allow each one to feel special. So a valued customer, if he considers the product to be valuable, will pass on his recommendation and thus will be an ambassador for the brand.