3 Ways to Streamline Customer Communications and Reduce Operating Costs
Effective customer communication involves more than screaming messages at your audience.
A good customer communication strategy involves multiple media working together to deliver a consistent message for a positive customer experience (CX). Multiple touchpoints can be difficult to coordinate, but the overall effect of a well-executed strategy benefits the bottom line.
Current technology can streamline what customer service personnel once did in the past . Many companies are focusing their efforts on improving the operational efficiency of their customer communication processes. Companies are finding tech solutions can help reduce the human-hours spent on customer interaction while maintaining a positive customer experience.
Communication with customers is nuanced. Shouting at them is not recommended.
You can begin streamlining your CX today by leveraging these three communications trends to help lower your operating costs without reducing your effectiveness.
- Document Automation
The first and easiest way to cut down on time: implement document automation.
Companies without customer communications management (CCM) software often rely on local shared hard drives for storing templates. They sift through disorganized filing systems to find the proper document for each situation. With no an easy way to personalize documents, the staff wastes time and energy reinventing the wheel for each interaction. Yes, automated, personalized customer communications may still require a human to review some pieces before they go out. However, a CCM solution can automate these reviews, saving hours or even days while speeding up case resolution times.
Document automation platforms such as CLIENT LETTER or INTOUCH, companies can find the appropriate templates easily via dynamic search. These solutions can complete the personalization of the document in just a few minutes. With templates housed in a central location, the marketing team can focus on branding without constant reviews; make changes that get to market quickly; reduce the lag time on interactions; automatically generate heavily-regulated customer service-related correspondence; and reduce errors across the board. Programs like these also send print-ready PDF files for batch printing and mailing, reducing expensive in-house jobs printed on local or workgroup laser or inkjet printers.
- Business Logic Integrations
By integrating business logic with data sources (systems of record) and touchpoints (systems of engagement) you can reduce customer communication costs. Business logic organizes the symphony of disparate content variations (e.g., state-specific regulatory text) into a consistent and positive experience for your customers. It allows a customer to be recognized by identifying information and addressed contextually using a customer’s time zone, geographic region, and past activity.
Business logic has the same effect as when a barista at a coffee shop remembers a regular customer’s order. They understand this as an effective strategy for delivering a positive customer experience. The customer perceives the interaction as special and personal. When technology is capable of similarly recognizing such preferences, the customer leaves the interaction with a perceived sense of consistency that encourages repeat visits.
- Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
Another level of cost-reduction strategy for customer communication is robotic process automation (RPA). Somthing of a buzzword in 2018, RPA has become the go-to way of reducing operating costs.
RPA goes one step beyond document automation to zero in on improved business outcomes. RPA employs a type of artificial intelligence called software robots or bots to do automated work by following given company procedures. Using templates, RPA gives a CCM the ability to:
- Automatically respond to customers
- Send requested resources
- Receive, store, and organize customer input
- Send alerts for further action
While robotic process automation is all the rage, it’s important to note that RPA only automates on top of existing (legacy) software systems. In order to implement RPA as part of the customer communication strategy, a company needs to have a CCM platform at their disposal. In fact, most CCM software has automation capabilities built in. RPA may not be necessary if your CCM solution already uses data integration, business logic and other automation technologies. Make sure you are fully utilizing these capabilities before investigating using RPA for generating customer communications.
Automate Your Customer Communications
Thanks to the digital-first approach of modern customer communication management, document automation is easier than ever. CCM software can fully automate customer communications by integrating customer data sources with business logic.
Handling processes by machine instead of humans reduces employee human-hours. Robotic process automation takes that data and makes it exponentially more actionable without human input. This further improves the function of business operations and reduces the strategic guesswork that costs a company time and money. By streamlining these three areas of customer communication, the overall efficiency of the company improves. Each company must decide their streamlining strategy, but the multiple opportunities to reduce costs in these areas are impossible to ignore.
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About John Zimmerer
John Zimmerer is the senior director of marketing at Topdown, where he leads market research and outreach efforts for the company's customer communications and customer experience products. Most recently, John has been researching and writing about the future direction of the technologies that power customer experience, and is regarded as a thought leader in this area. John has nearly 20 years of software product marketing experience. His areas of expertise include market research, analyst relations, public relations and digital marketing.