Organizations are producing more communications than ever before, from multiple departments and across multiple channels. However, those communications are often unclear and irrelevant. The result? Increased call center volume, greater costs, and poor client experiences (CX).
But did you know that improving your customer communications is a surefire way to enhance your CX?
Forrester’s Customer Experience Index (CXi) tracks several “drivers” of customer experience for a number of industries, and customer communications is one of the few universal drivers which affects customer experience for every industry.
The reality is that whether you’re sending a transactional document such as a statement or bill, an insurance policy, an application form or ad hoc correspondence, your organization should see it as an opportunity to build your brand loyalty, improve retention and increase ROI.
Think about all the touchpoints your company has with your customers. When and why are they interacting with you, through what channels, with what goals and outcomes? What software are you using to serve each touchpoint and channel?
Today, we’ll look at the people, processes and technologies of customer communication management (CCM) and customer experience (CX), and will explore the ways in which you can improve your customer communications to increase customer satisfaction and enhance your customers’ overall experience with your brand.
Focusing on the client experience
Delivering first-rate customer communications begins with being passionate about the work you’re doing, and priding yourself in creating documents as unique as your customers. To ensure you’re delivering clear, relevant customer communications that improve the experience, consider putting the following suggestions into practice:
1. Conduct a customer communications assessment
It’s not uncommon for organizations to have inventories of customer communications—like forms, letters and notices—that have grown so large they struggle to keep track of their own documents. Personnel often feel bogged down in obsolete or redundant communications that are inconsistent with their company’s branding standards. Not only does this kind of situation degrade the efficiency of your operations—it’s also lowering the level of service you can provide to your customers, while hampering your bottom line.
A customer communications assessment involves cataloging the inventory of documents that are in scope for your project, helping you identify content and design inconsistencies, reusable content, and opportunities to reduce the volume of documents across lines of business.
2. Reevaluate the way you communicate with your customers
Your communications overhaul should begin with a thorough assessment of your client communications to discover where you can streamline, rewrite, and design content. A scoping workshop with your project stakeholders will help identify the issues you’re trying to resolve, and define the project’s success criteria. If possible, usability testing with your customers may help you identify first-hand what they find confusing and where the potential lies for improving your communications to meet their individual needs.
3. Write in plain language
In order to improve your customer communications, the key is to simplify and clarify your content. No matter what you need to communicate, your team should be shaping your content into clear, digestible language that’s just right for the people who need to read it. Incorporating any insights gained from any workshops you may have, apply plain language writing and proven information design principles to create truly personalized communications that are functional, clear and relevant. The idea is to transform your regulatory documents into powerful marketing and retention tools.
4. Adopt an integrated approach to design
Of course, no design is successful until it’s in production—that’s why we recommend taking an integrated approach to design. Throughout the design process, consult with your information architects and programmers to avoid the common pitfalls of designing in isolation of your data, systems, operational, and production environments. By marrying the creative and the technical worlds, you can be confident that the designs you approve upfront will be delivered operationally without compromise.
If your company has already prioritized CX improvement, then you’ve probably spent a fair amount of time and effort to understand your customers’ journeys; you’ve likely analyzed their pain points, and now have a pretty good understanding of your brand’s relationship with them. If so, that’s great—and it’s exactly what you should be doing to remain competitive in today's marketplace.
Have you taken it to the next step, though, and used those customer journey assessments to help you plan a digital experience delivery technology architecture that will serve customers’ needs throughout their complete lifecycle with your brand, and be able to continue to do so well into the future?
The implication is clear: to win customers and foster loyalty, brands need to provide a consistent, positive experience at every interaction, across all touchpoints and channels—and CCM software is the perfect solution to move forward this effort.