Is Customer Engagement the new CCM professional’s challenge?

Customer Communication Management (CCM) has long been about sending wads of documents to customers (i.e. also called output management). These documents are statements, invoices, contracts, direct mailings, etc. New technologies like mobile services, social networks, big data or cloud services have changed today’s customer expectations. People, I mean existing customers as opposed to prospects, are now looking to engage in real-time with enterprise and brands. They want a continuous dialogue, access to personalised advice, peer reviews and immediate answers from experts. CCM is therefore no longer about complying with regulations or “telling” customers but actively engaging with them, in an open and bold way instead.

The CCM Maturity Model proposed by GMC Software outlines how enterprises manage to move from “Print” to “Customer Engagement” in 4 key stages. This journey is as follows:

2. CCM platforms consolidation

In most enterprises, the first 2 stages are often managed by IT departments as they are in control of core systems and data storage. They design documents while managing and operating output management solutions. Marketing or line of business departments such as claims or retail banking departments send hundreds of document change requests to IT.

They may ask to update a line in a paragraph if a regulation has changed, a signature if a supervisor has been newly appointed or a logo if branding requires. This process tends to be time-consuming as IT needs to prioritise these requests while maintaining legacy systems at the same time.

IT is, therefore, looking for solutions that are easy to use in order to increase productivity. They are consolidating systems to centralise and to share work to reduce CCM management costs. There are four lines of improvements to reduce costs: data extraction, data transformation, digital assets management and layouts.

Marketing or line of business departments drives work in the last 2 stages as they see a surge in customer demand. Online presentment & customer engagement drive traffic to digital assets like websites, mobile websites or mobile applications.

Customers have instant access to personal details through using online services. They can perform actions such as payments, money transfers, order new products, subscribe to services, etc. These capabilities define a new kind of customer experience that differentiates enterprises from traditional competition and “neo-competition” like Fintechs or Insurtechs.

One of the reasons marketing or line of business departments are driving these stages is that they want to drive new revenue through delivering and optimising customer experience.

This is the first stage when tier 1 enterprises want to cut customer communication costs as they spend millions of dollars annually to send documents to their customers. A recent discussion with several large print service providers in North America suggested this cost be between $600 to $800 dollars per 1000 posted mail pieces. It would, therefore, cost between $72M to $96M annually to an enterprise posting one monthly statement to its 10 million customers. Migrating from Print to e-delivery reducing this expense by a huge amount. Learn more about how GMC Software helped BMO (Bank of Montreal) to cut costs.

Is it, therefore, a no-brainer to switch from print to e-delivery?

If figures suggest massive financial gains to make that switch, it remains important to manage change and to equally explain the benefits it will bring. As an example, I met with a large insurance firm in the UK that took more than 18 months to send life insurance contracts as PDF attachments in emails. They explained that it took time to reach internal consensus as some people argued that the life insurance product was the actual physical document itself. They said that not sending this document would diminish the value of the service, affect brand recognition and damage sales in the medium to long term. Then, once agreement to move from sending a printed version to e-delivery was reached, it took months to implement the solution as IT was busy with other important requests that led to impact 3 legacy systems.

Another GMC Software client explained that they only achieved to migrate 50% of their customers based on posted physical mail to PDF delivery. They explained that the remaining 50% had either refused to receive PDFs or did not provide the bank with a digital address (i.e. email address or a website personal account)

CCM platforms consolidation

As enterprises develop and/or acquire other companies, they often have several CCM platforms to manage. Operating and maintaining several CCM platforms come at a high price for several reasons:

● Support of different technologies

● Maintain people skills to support different platforms

● Pay maintenance for each solution

● Maintain different customer communication portfolio repositories with consistency risks

● Inconsistent customer experience on different channels

In this context, Enterprises are often struggling to maintain consistent and up-to-date customer communications. They explain the difficulties to keep up with several vendors upgrading their software version every 20 to 36 months on average (i.e. average vendor new solution General Availability -GA- lag in the CCM industry).

Each new release requires migration work and testing. It generally freezes change requests for months while IT departments are upgrading to the latest software version.

A CCM expert in Australia, once reported that each communication (i.e. document composition) template’s true cost was between $5000 (USD) and $7000 (USD). He also explained that sharing resources, access to data and operating work from one single CCM platform instead of several could save up to 40% in operational expenses.

A tier 1 enterprise implementing a CCM project would typically have to manage from 250 to 500 templates or more. Having to migrate these templates is expensive and rationalising CCM vendors provides a quick return on investment.

At GMC Software, we target to deliver positive ROI after only a few months. To achieve this objective, enterprises would migrate their entire customer communication portfolio under GMC Inspire covering all their use cases with one solution only. GMC Software provides easy migration paths for supporting other CCM solutions migrating or upgrading GMC software version.

In most countries, enterprises run CCM RFPs to rationalise CCM costs. They often consider two aspects:

● CCM platforms consolidation

● Digital content enablement or in other terms “Online presentment” and “Customer Engagement”.

Online presentment is the next logical phase in the CCM maturity model. Enterprises are looking for developing personalised content directly accessible from websites or in mobile applications. In the same way, customers were receiving personalised documents by post, they are now accessing personal information from these digital channels.

Websites and mobile applications propose all sorts of personalised screens accessible to customers once they have logged into their personal account. These screens show prefilled forms, account statements, invoices, terms and conditions, policies, etc. To the exception of a few screens such as account balance checks or some forms, personalised content is not delivered in an optimised way. For instance, a website would link to PDF documents that are hardly readable on smartphones.

One of the common reasons for not being able to deliver the full scope of personalised content on websites and in mobile applications is the cost of developing and maintaining personalised content on digital channels. This content is often developed manually by web or mobile application developers. 90% of customer custom-made mobile applications are developed using iOS and Android SDK solutions, according to Gartner. It is, therefore, an expensive process. GMC Software considers the cost of personalised content management in websites and mobile applications represents up to 70% of the overall cost of running these channels. GMC Software brings solutions to ease personalised content management across all communication channels including digital channels. A recent GMC Software internal study demonstrated that tier 1 enterprises spend between 5 to 10 Million USD annually on internal staff or on external resources to manage personalised content across all communication channels including digital channels.

Customer engagement is the ultimate phase in customer communication management. This phase targets existing customers as opposed to prospects. Better customer engagement drives new revenue through upselling and cross-selling products and services. New revenue generation motivates marketing and line of business departments to take ownership of this space. They are looking for optimising customer experience across the entire customer journey. They want to implement consistent and easy interactions across all channels.

A few commonly agreed industry figures outline the challenge: whereas about 80% of customers will discover new products and services from a website, 70% of them will use their mobile phone during the engagement process and more than 60% will complete it after meeting or talking to a sale representative. This illustrates the importance of providing personalised, up-to-date and cross-channel content to customers. It also shows that each touch point is as much a business opportunity as a risk if not delivering the correct message.

There are new ways to engage with customers as technology enables new capabilities while lesser and lesser people are going to bricks-and-mortar branches and shops to interact with enterprises.

A new trend shows that enterprises are developing solutions to mobilise their field agents. Using mobile devices such as tablets working online and offline, they are mobilising their workforce while reducing operational costs associated with a large number of branches to manage. Mobilising workforce implies digitising business processes and developing mobile solutions. However, IT departments have large amounts of business requests to manage and they often have to manage mobile applications skills shortage. A few figures illustrate the issue:

● According to an Outsystems 2017 Research Report (IT is Overwhelmed), 37% of enterprises face mobile application development skills shortage

● Forrester states that the true two-year cost of building and maintaining a mobile application is 3 times the initial cost of building the application

● a VDC Research survey highlights how 80% of cross-selling take over 3 months to develop while 40% over 6 months

GMC Software provides solutions for redefining the customer experience through omnichannel communication. It includes designing print documents, emailing PDF, consolidating CCM platforms plus enabling true digital customer communications in mobile applications and websites. It also includes building mobile applications from scratch to mobilise the workforce.

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