Choosing your Customer Communication Management Software in 2022

Monday, Nov 7th 2022
Hand holding the world

Customer Communication Management (CCM) software technologies emerged 30 years ago as transactional print-centric technology. Today, leading CCM technology acts as a centralised hub to design, manage, and deliver customer communications, such as invoices, contracts, and customer correspondence through a wide range of channels including mobile, email, SMS, web pages, social media, and print.

What are the benefits of using Customer Communication Management software?

Customer communications have transformed rapidly in recent years due to the proliferation of communication channels. Today’s customers expect personalised, relevant communications that are available on-demand and accessible via the device of their choice. Businesses of all sizes need CCM to meet these elevated expectations.

 

Here are some of the benefits of using CCM software:

  • Transform customer communications in hours with intelligent workflows
  • Empower business users to manage human-centric content
  • Deliver in-the-moment connections safely and securely
  • Create highly personalised communications by integrating CCM with your core systems to leverage customer data
  • Expand the channels you use to engage with your customer based on their preferences

How to choose the best customer communications management software for your business?

The need to engage with customers today is a top priority for enterprises. But many organisations lack the proper tools needed to effectively engage and track the experience of their customers. With so many modern CCM tools in the market to choose from, it can be difficult to determine which solution is the best fit for your business to improve the customer experience.

The fear of repercussion in making the wrong choice often results in no choice at all. Leaving the organisation and its lines of business to make do with the tools it currently has.

This situation is preventable with a strategic approach to acquiring the right solution. Through careful planning, detailed requirements gathering, and a strong team driven by an aligned organisation and the support of executives, enterprises can select and implement the right solution.

Impact on customer experience & engagement

Customer experience is a major trend in customer communications and a driving factor for businesses investing in new solutions. It is also the main reason that many enterprises opt to invest in a single platform to manage all of their communications, making mass changes and consistent customer experiences easier to execute.

Engagement is another key trend, extending the experience a customer has to their desire to interact with that communication. Whether clicking a link or scanning a QR code, utilising interactive content such as watching a video, clickable graphs, or simply responding to the request for payment in a timely manner, communications should be considered as two-way, both inbound and outbound.

Therefore, two considerations should be taken into account to ensure optimal customer engagement when investing in new CCM:

  1. How can the customer experience be improved and ultimately increase the effectiveness of achieving goals such as engagement?
  2. How to ensure that the customer experience is not interrupted or negatively impacted during the selection and implementation process?

Understanding the requirements of the new solution should raise questions as to what other opportunities there might be for improving communications. For example, if existing applications need to be migrated to the new platform, it would be an ideal time to redesign those communications with an easier-to-use and updated look and feel while also preparing for omnichannel delivery.

Future-proofing Communications

A common goal for enterprises when selecting CCM technology is to future-proof communications. While not all trends and enhancements can be predicted, selecting a technology partner that is actively tracking the innovations in communications increases the likelihood that the software already has the capability when you're ready to implement. This should be a criterion for evaluation. With all the changes that have occurred within customer communications, it's a good time to evaluate current technologies.

When transitioning to a new CCM solution, there is value in evaluating other opportunities for change. While some leading CCM platforms enable enterprises to automatically convert existing templates to omnichannel communications, transitioning to a new platform can require existing communications to be redesigned into the new solution’s format. This is an ideal time to consider new features or enhancements that would improve readability, engagement, and experience while ensuring delivery through an omnichannel experience.

Before getting started

Once the decision to invest in new CCM technology has been made, there are several considerations prior to starting the requirements gathering and software selection process.

Determining the proper framework first improves the likelihood of finding a solution that will grow with the organisation. Understanding the vendor’s propensity to extend the platform and stay current with incremental enhancements, in some demonstrable way. Don’t just take the salesperson’s word on it.

Gaining leadership support

Often technology acquisitions are delayed when the proper leadership support is not obtained and there is a lack of organisational alignment. Understanding the communication needs of the overall organisation as well as the cultural impact is key to ensuring that initiatives to obtain a new platform for managing communications is not delayed.

In many organisations, more than just procurement and an allotted budget is needed for such a significant investment. Understanding who from leadership should be involved, even if they are not experts or play a role in customer communications, is necessary.

Obtaining financial support in addition to a clear understanding of the executive signoffs required for this investment will prevent logistical delays. Leadership support does not end once the solution is purchased. Potential delays should be considered so that the installation is successful across the organisation.

Managing the Selection Process

A common mistake in selecting CCM solutions is the failure to include all stakeholders in the requirements gathering and selection process. Understanding the various roles in the production process will ensure that all needs are considered, and an appropriate solution can be found to address them.

Various members of IT, line of business managers, and procurement are often the first thought. However, other stakeholders should also be involved, such as:

  • legal and compliance officers
  • finance
  • marketing managers
  • business analysts
  • production staff responsible for managing output
  • other stakeholders who have a responsibility for providing or reviewing the content within communications or the delivery of these communications

This group of stakeholders will ultimately act as the steering committee.

Single platform or "Best of Breed" technologies?

When considering an investment in customer communications management, most enterprises chose one of two routes:

Single software platform: One CCM solution that all lines of business are required to use for the output and delivery of communications. Modern CCM solutions have modules or components designed to manage each bucket of a customer communications workflow.

Collection of integrated solutions: Multiple solutions, selected for being “best of breed” for specific areas of workflow or output, are integrated together, often by an internal IT team and managed going forward. This is commonly seen in industries that select one composition tool for high-volume, batch output, and another for managing interactive communications such as claims and correspondence.
 

Selecting individual solutions that an IT group plans to integrate into a communications hub can be risky and time consuming. Many organisations go this route because they don’t fully understand the breadth of capabilities provided by modern CCM platforms.

Strategy for Post Implementation

One often overlooked area is how implementation will be managed once a solution has been selected. While IT will be greatly involved, someone outside of IT, ideally with project management skills and implementation experience, should ensure that all the goals of the solution are met. This individual should have the authority to raise attention to bottlenecks or unnecessary delays.

Selecting a vendor with significant implementation and migration experience will also ensure success. Vendor involvement and support during implementation is the best way to ensure the solution is implemented in an effective and efficient way, as well as integrated properly with existing systems.

Review published case studies and seek references from current clients to understand other customers’ experiences with the vendor and surprises that came about during implementation. Review vendors’ support and professional services offerings to understand the expertise and experience available to leverage and to fill any gaps in resources.

Consideration for allocating the resources required to quickly and completely install the solution and migrate all applications is imperative. Implementations often fail due to lost interest or commitment to seeing the project through. Other initiatives or reprioritisation can cause delays and lead the enterprise right back to where it started with a puzzle of integrated tools and business rules.

Committing resources to see the project through with a realistic timeline is the only way to ensure the goals set for this acquisition are followed through. It is important to have an accurate assessment of the migration times for the existing enterprise applications.

Quadient Named an IDC MarketsScape Cloud Customer Communications Leader

IDCMarketscapeReport2022

Quadient is proud to have been named a Leader in the IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Cloud Customer Communications Management Applications 2022 Vendor Assessment.

International Data Corporation (IDC), a premier global provider of market intelligence, conducts comprehensive assessments of the CCM software market to help businesses make informed purchase decisions.

This year's assessment takes a narrower look at the market, focusing exclusively on cloud solutions built to support customer experience. Titled "IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Cloud Customer Communications Management Applications 2022 Vendor Assessment—Dynamic Delivery of Multichannel Personalised Experiences," the report provides in-depth intelligence on cloud CCM vendor strengths and challenges, as well as market positioning, relative to one another. 

In the report, you will discover:

•    Why IDC named Quadient a Leader and our three recognised strengths
•    Each vendor’s current capabilities and future strategy score
•    Key criteria to consider when selecting a cloud CCM software solution
•    Factors most influential for short and long-term market success
•    Why CCM software is critical to customer experience enhancement

Ready to discover what makes Quadient a worldwide CCM leader? Visit the following page to grab your complimentary copy of the report: https://www.quadient.com/en-gb/resources/idc-marketscape-worldwide-cloud-ccm-applications-2022-assessment.

Conclusion

Investing in new CCM technology is no small task, but success is achieved with the proper planning and support early on. Acquiring the support of influential leadership is a key step in ensuring success. A thorough needs assessment that will feed a requirements document is also critical to finding a solution that meets current and future needs. And finally, enterprises must perform a rigorous evaluation and selection process to find the right solution.

Achieving a successful CCM infrastructure does not end with finding the right solution.Consideration, support, and dedication to the implementation and migration of applications to the new system is essential for long-term success.