Guest post by Hervé Lesage, Xerox Worldwide Commercial Industry Marketing.
In the age of the customer, companies must create communications that lead to better customer experiences, but it’s not just marketing’s job anymore. Customer experience (CX) is also the responsibility of onboarding, finance, service, AP/invoicing and any group or department that becomes a touch point. Customer experience has become a competitive differentiator across the board. No matter what your business or role, you’re probably paying attention to this and looking for ways to improve, or at least not lose ground.
The age of the customer creates new complexities. Marketers are told to go omnichannel, but don’t forget print and personalized content. A single-touch, monthly mailed invoice paints you as old school. Today’s business communicators must understand customization and navigate a wealth of channels, both physical and digital. This creates stress when organizations operate as silos, and customer communications lack cohesive strategy, talent and technology.
Outsourcing Communications Gains Traction
It’s understandable that customer touch points and business communications get disjointed. Bringing them all together is hard — but not impossible. One approach gaining traction is outsourcing some communications and marketing processes to free up internal resources for strategy, collaboration and customer care. This change targets the steps and processes that require investments in marketing technology, production equipment and communications expertise.
“Instead of investing in the costly upgrades that are needed to modernize their internal operations, enterprises are increasingly turning to outsourcing providers to produce their print and manage the complexities of data-driven communications,” said Matt Swain, Group Director at Keypoint Intelligence InfoTrends. He was writing in WhatTheyThink.com about the InfoTrends report: Enterprise Customer Communications—Trends & Strategies from Around the Globe.
Success Factors in Complex Communications
Digital communication has forever changed the customer experience, and marketers should take advantage of the trend, not recoil from it. Look for digital technologies that improve interactions and process efficiency, while addressing data privacy and security concerns. Integration skills are essential to bring together a collective of departments and touch points. It’s a big task with little margin for error, and technical talent is at a premium.
Given this environment and conditions, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. To avoid uncertainty and paralysis, focus on the most critical success factors:
- Consistent, personalized messaging across all channels
- Effective touch points that clearly lead to the next step
- Friction-free customer journey that’s quick and easy every time
- Mobile first because small format digital messaging is not an option
- Smart data, including continual data enrichment
- Data analytics and campaign performance measurement leading to action
- Budget allocated to all stages of the customer journey. Invest to keep the ones you have
What a Good Communications Partner Brings
When it comes to delivering customized communications and positive CX, assembling the appropriate technology, time and resources pose a challenge. That’s where a communications services partner adds value. A good provider has expertise in assembling and maintaining a variety of ongoing communications streams. A skilled partner understands what cross-functional integration looks like and can confidently align your communications.
The right partner supports marketers and business communicators in both the digital and analog or print dimensions. In fact, it takes knowledge of both areas to create great CX through holistic communications and drive efficiencies into processes. A good partner brings digital color printing, cited by analysts as an enabling communications technology. Add analytics chops, and the picture gets better and better.
With communications software, service providers can improve both customer acquisition and retention by coordinated engagement across all channels: print, online and mobile. Many large enterprises already use marketing automation like Marketo, Adobe and Salesforce, and your communications partner should complement this technology, not compete with it.
Download Guide to Leaner Communications Operations
Would the skill and resources of a communications services provider benefit your customer experience results? Learn more about this outsourcing model by downloading this practical guide to building a leaner communications operation – and winning at customer experience.