Customer communication unification: start building your business case

Scott Draeger
Posted by Scott Draeger VP of Customer Transformation Tuesday, February 5, 2019 - 14:53

Scott joined the industry in 1997, after earning a B.A. from University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He started as a document designer using several VDP technologies, before moving to the software side of the industry. He has more than 17 years of experience in the document composition software industry as both a transactional document designer and a software vendor. He earned his EDP and M-EDP certification from Xplor and his MBA in 2007 from the Lake Forest Graduate School of Management.

Customer Experience Update
building the business case

In the past, you might have heard a few marketing people demanding that a communication is “on brand,” meaning the style, language, visual representation and tone is using approved content. Today, CX programs are in control of more and more communications that impact customer experience, and being “on brand” has become a commodity. The real challenge now lies in delivering personalized communications that are consistent and compliant, through the channel or channels customers prefer. But how do you deliver to this vision when you are running your communications through a number of legacy systems? Communication unification helps you to make every communication project accountable to your enterprise CX strategy at the highest level, without losing the experience and connections you’ve built in the past.

Many organizations are failing to keep up with the market’s demand. They are slow in enabling digital channels, and when they finally do, they either abandon output like pdf and print, or struggle to connect the digital and physical channels due to disjointed systems. Either situation is a sure way to create a bad customer experience. Additionally, Forrester's Customer Experience Index (CX Index™) reveals that hybrid customer experience are likely to outperform both purely digital and purely physical experiences.

The business case of communication unification

While communication unification lies at the crossroads of several key trends in customer experience, omni-channel communication and platform consolidation; it needs to have a positive business impact to make sense for your enterprise. When enterprises compare their spend on communications with the performance of their communications, they often find out the quality of the customer communications declines as spend on communication technology increases.

This increased expense accumulates quickly, as many line managers have the ability to purchase small applications that do a great job for their limited purpose, but these isolated projects are not accountable to the larger communication strategy. When these projects perform well, they get a message out quickly. When they perform poorly, the enterprise is hit with unplanned integration costs, confused customer support staff, and risks from bypassing approved legal and compliance processes.

For a full business case to make sense, it is important to understand both the costs and the benefits in detail. Both of those are difficult to accurately calculate, but it is worth taking the time to understand their full scope. Often enterprises overlook important costs from key steps in the process. When considering the true cost of customer communications, the best way to proceed is to follow the customer communications trail backwards, from delivery to design to deliver a baseline of the communications produced to define scope and hard costs. This is best done by working backwards from each communication, and tracing costs back through the organization.

  • Customer support searching for confusing communications increases search and CRM costs
  • Archive costs include archiving infrastructure and retrieval costs for each channel silo
  • Delivery costs range from a fraction of a penny for email to over $20.00 for a courier packet
  • Production costs include physical media, employee time and platform operation
  • Design costs include design, content management, data planning, IT integration, proof and approval for each type and channel
  • Planning costs include line of business expenses for each channel including legal, compliance, and testing

These costs grow exponentially, as many communications use a variety of channels to reach the customer. Each additional single channel solution increases the costs for design, integration, legal, and deployment. Each new type of communication also adds to the cost of your communication portfolio.

Do you want to know more about how communication unification works and what to look for in a unified platform? Download your complimentary copy of the white paper "Customer Communication Unification".