Implementing CCM Successfully
The most important person to a company or organization isn’t the CEO or any of the C-suite executives; it’s not even the chairman of the board of directors or even the majority stockholder. Nope. The most important person to any company or organization is the individual end-consumer.
Without the buyer, there would be no business to operate. This customer-centricity explains why companies are looking to optimize their customer experience (CX) and consumer journeys, and why they are implementing new customer communication management (CCM) solutions. Here, we look at what it takes to implement a CCM software solution successfully.
Defining a Successful Implementation
Implementing a new enterprise-grade software solution, even a hosted SaaS application, involves enacting a set of more complex procedures than simply punching in a credit card number and clicking a “buy now” button. Successfully implementing new software requires two to tango: the first partner is the company implementing the CCM software and the second is the CCM vendor.
Success on the company side equates to improvements in the operational efficiency and consumer experience that the CCM software provides. For example, one success metric we commonly see is streamlining the communication template library with a goal to do so by 50% or more, made possible by the business logic and reusable content the CCM delivers. Another common metric is reducing inbound call volume related to incorrect or incomprehensible customer communications, often with a goal of a 20% reduction.
On the other side of the coin, the CCM vendor measures success slightly differently. For instance, the most valuable metric for CCM vendors—customer retention—equates to a recurring revenue stream, especially for those that are selling SaaS solutions. These vendors need to amortize the various customer-related costs (i.e., acquisition and support) over time. The longer a CCM vendor retains a client, the more profitable that relationship is for the vendor.
At the end of the day, though, should the customer fall short in achieving their success metrics as a direct impact of their CCM installation, they (eventually) will stop being a customer. As a result, the CCM vendor has a vested interest to ensure that the customer realizes success in their business metrics and operational goals.
Defining customer success is—or should be—the first step in CCM implementation. At least it is with every implementation we’re a part of.
Elevate your communication strategies, CX, and EX: implement a CCM solution.
Understanding the Phases of CCM Implementation
The first phase of a CCM implementation includes conducting a series of introductory and preparatory activities.
The Kick-Off Call
The first of these activities usually begins with a kick-off call between the project teams from both the CCM vendor and the client company.
On the kick-off call, the project teams will collaborate on a multitude of project-related aspects such as defining milestones, the schedule, as well as the roles and responsibilities of each project team and member.
The CCM vendor project team lead usually assumes the role of project manager (PM). Most likely she or he has the knowledge and expertise to understand the scope and technical requirements of what the client requires. The PM can martial the vendor’s resources to ensure a successful and timely implementation.
The Discovery Phase
The discovery phase of CCM implementation encompasses the main information-gathering stage of the project. During the discovery phase, the CCM vendor collects as much information on the client they're serving as needed, including (most importantly) the success metrics.
The CCM vendor and the client work together during discovery to define customer success metrics and the scope of the CCM solution desired. At this point, the project manager will deliver a comprehensive project plan with an implementation timeline line that also includes the agreed-upon and well-defined goals and metrics.
This phase concludes with the client signing off on the documents that the vendor provides, thus beginning the development phase.
The Development and Training Stage
The next phase after the conclusion of discovery is development. In many cases, the first step is for the CCM team and the client to work together developing a more robust, yet consolidated, template library based on reusable content objects, data variables, and business logic.
On top of getting the content library started, a top-drawer CCM vendor will also conduct a comprehensive examination of the current workflow and architecture that drives to the in-scope customer communication use cases. This overview can identify touchpoints or other areas of optimization that could have a significant impact on customer experience and productivity.
Conducting template administrator education and—by leveraging these admins—business end-user training defines an extremely key step in the implementation of the CCM. Highly effective CCM solutions are user-friendly and improve the employee experience, and thus any required training should be short yet comprehensive enough to encourage a high adoption rate throughout the organization.
Staff and the CCM vendor team will also work together to create communication templates that meet modern-day best practices related to design, aesthetics, and information flow. Communication design can have a significant impact on the overall consumer experience as well as operational metrics.
Improving Your CX with CCM
A successful implementation sets the stage for achieving, as quickly as possible, your well-defined customer success goals. Implementation is, or should at least be considered to be, the first phase of any customer success plan.
For four decades, Topdown has helped customers achieve their communications-related goals. We will help you clarify and reach your goals and objectives. Get in touch with Topdown for a complimentary demonstration and poignant discussion of how our CCM solutions can help you be successful in your customer interactions and improve your customers’ experiences.
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.