Guest post by Chris Wood, Global Offer Manager, Customer Communications Management
Part of the challenge companies face in building loyalty and engagement is getting customer communication right. In a recent post, I wrote about the impact of loyalty and emotional engagement on customer retention and the bottom line. In this blog, I explore how building effective, engaging customer communication in the post-purchase part of the customer lifecycle can nurture the experience and the relationship.
In the world of paid, owned and earned media, companies overlook the major channel they have in their owned media, like account statements, loyalty offers or claim forms. Done right, transactional communications with customers support improved customer satisfaction (Csat) and net promoter scores (NPS) via reduced customer effort and improved engagement. And at a fraction of the cost of buying ad impressions!
To be competitive, companies must both attract and retain customers through excellent customer experience. Compelling marketing materials may draw new customers, but generating loyalty requires positive post-purchase experiences. What are those post-purchase touch points in your organization?
When Documents Are Part of Post-Purchase Experience
A critical part of the post-purchase experience is the variety of communications and documents companies send in printed and electronic formats. Think of welcome packs, quotes, monthly statements, annual statements, renewal letters and information packs. Think of claims forms and documentation, and the variety of letters generated by business systems operated by the organization or their document partners. Documents are a big part of ongoing customer experience.
The quality of documents – their clarity, helpfulness, relevance and call to action – is a fundamental part of actively shaping the customer’s experience. But without thinking, many organizations take a polarized view of their customer communications. Organizations inadvertently create a negative customer experience with their post-sale communications. They invest heavily in marketing in the pre-sale phase, but almost none in the post-sale phase.
Customer loyalty, revenue growth and market share erode when recurring communications fail to present the organization’s value proposition. Flawed post-sale communications cause negative business results and increase customer care costs due to unnecessary support calls. Many post-sale calls are purely remedial, because in some way, some communication failed to meet the client’s need.
Trends in Customer Communications Management
In the Forrester report, The Future of CCM: Communications-As-A-Service, Vice President and Principal Analyst Craig LeClair sheds light on key trends in CCM:
- Emphasis on shorter and real-time communications
- Customers gain communication control with self-serve “pull” models
- Chatbots give the company a voice in real time
- Converging service and marketing communications require a more consistent approach throughout the customer lifecycle and brand engagement
- Diminished role for traditional documents – with a move toward mobile and shorter, real-time communications
- Growing emphasis on casual mid-journey conversations, often linked to “nudging” customer into some activity via messenger apps and social channels
Traditional siloed, print-document-centric customer communications management (CCM) solutions can constrain customer experience. LeClair cites a retail bank that found upward of 20 systems across marketing, service and sales functions that involved customer interaction. That’s not uncommon.
Customer Communications Need Agile Firepower
Enterprises need agile CCM platforms with the firepower to create, distribute and track customer communications across multiple channels and business functions. The CCM platforms must orchestrate output from other outbound communication tools, including marketing email automation tools, customer-facing web sites and CRM systems.
Xerox Customer Communications Management addresses these challenges and provides:
- Consistent brand experience by ensuring clear communications that use the right tone of voice and provide information customers seek
- Lower costs through efficient management of document templates across for customer engagement channels
- Communications in the channels of the customer’s choice
- Linking of outbound customer communications to business systems for automated processing
- Rich, actionable customer insight by leveraging click stream analytics
To learn more about customer communications management for today’s customer, download this practical ebook, “Customer Communications Transformation.” You’ll find practical ideas and innovative thinking to get you to the next step.