Digitising your comms

Published on the 08/04/2021 | Written by Cincom

Digital Customer service

Getting a win-win-win outcome…

For many organisations, the thought of delivering communications digitally can seem daunting. Driven by the increasing expectations of customers and distribution partners, the transition to digital is an unstoppable trend. Research shows that most organisations are still in the infant stages of their digital-communication initiatives.

While some of the larger and more innovative enterprises are further along, most organisations have limited options or even no options for digital communications at this point.

An example of the progress in delivering digital services in the insurance industry vertical is the introduction of artificial intelligence to work with chatbot agents to interactively provide information to callers who require information on services that are available to those who need timely assistance regarding their policies and to advise on what options are available. The outcome being the delivery of personalised communications through the preferred communication channel of the caller, all with no human intervention.

Plans must be integrated with plans for core systems, customer communication solutions and CRM.

The key questions facing most organisations are:

1) How can we begin?

2) What can be learned from the pioneers in this area?

Here are some obvious (and some not-so-obvious) steps to take in the planning for digital communications:

  1. Develop an overall plan that incorporates both digital and traditional (print-mail) delivery. Many of the early movers in digital communications are funding their efforts by reducing print and mail costs. Map out a multi-year strategy on how you will ramp up digital delivery and gradually decrease physical paper output and mailings. Consider the assets currently owned for print and mail or the terms of the outsourcing contracts you may have in this area.
  2. Investigate to determine what your customers (and distribution partners) value most regarding digital delivery. There are many types of customer communications and it is not necessary to digitise all of those right away. Not everyone is rushing to get all of their documents via e-mail or their mobile device. Understand which demographics are pushing for more digital communications and what specific kinds of documents will provide the highest value.
  3. Ensure that you are capturing contact information at the front end. Most legacy administration systems do not capture e-mail addresses or mobile phone numbers for SMS/texting. When independent distribution partners are in the customer-lifecycle loop, it may be even more difficult to secure this information. Consider building the capture of e-mail and mobile phone numbers into standard question sets at the beginning of the customer relationship.
  4. Develop a comprehensive plan (including an IT approach) for capturing and managing delivery preferences. Early adopters of digital communications built their own systems or extended legacy systems for this function, but now there are more software providers that are beginning to offer these capabilities within their offerings. It is important to understand customer (and distribution partner) preferences for the delivery of each individual type of document – it should not be just an overall ‘yes/no’ decision. Some customers may want to have certain communications delivered digitally and others printed and mailed, while other customers may opt for all printed and mailed. Bottom line: Each customer will have their own unique needs.
  5. Ensure that your customer communications system can generate and deliver documents in traditional print formats and also produce the same content for digital delivery. Ideally, your customer communications system will not only handle traditional and digital communications, it will also integrate directly with your core administration systems to leverage transactional data to help drive deeper personalisation of content as well as delivery preference for each communication.

Digital communications offer great promise for organisations of all sizes and verticals. Digital plays an important role in improving the overall customer experience and ultimately drives ‘win-win-win’ outcomes: lower costs, great response times and satisfied customers.

Plans for digitising communications must be integrated with plans for core systems, customer communication solutions and CRM, and should be considered part of a longer-term business strategy; not just standalone, point projects.

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