The Value of Customer Communications

APRIL 17, 2015

Many organizations in mature industries don’t recognize the value of customer communications. Telecom, insurance, finance, banking, and print-for-pay service bureaus lag behind.

Mature industries expand via mergers and acquisitions, resulting in bolted-on business applications. These can, in turn, complicate the communication and marketing processes. These bolt-ons exist within business silos with different communication systems and approaches. None of these, as it results, give customers a sense that their business matters to the organization.

Now, organizations can use enterprise output management (EOM) solutions to unlock once-hidden values. These consistent, personalized communications help retain customers and increase lifetime value. In the past, organizations have looked to enterprise asset management (EAM) tools, like SAP, to manage physical assets.

This approach centered on design, construction, and commissioning, as well as operations, maintenance, and replacement of plant, equipment, and facility assets. EAM solutions reduced labor, cost, and time to market for global changes. They also decreased redundant processes and brought visibility to asset management. Next, organizations looked to enterprise content management (ECM) tools to centrally organize and store data, documents, and other content. This helped support customer communications and customer relationship management.

Enter: Enterprise Content Management

ECM solutions unified access to content previously stored in fractured systems. They also reduced labor costs while allowing organizations to quickly implement global changes. They could then access and use data previously unavailable. Ultimately, this provided visibility to both customers and their businesses alike.

Today, due to increasing competitive pressures, organizations must centrally manage customer communications. These communications must reach many platforms across the web, email, and mobile devices. The solution? Enterprise output management tools that manage to create and distribute physical and electronic communications.

The World of Enterprise Output Management

EOM solutions maximize the value and content of each communication. They also ensure delivery to the chosen channel and enable faster time to market. It also is the most cost-effective way to implement global customer communication changes across the organization.

Done correctly, organizations gain a single view and control point for all outbound communications. At the same time, they significantly reduce labor, cost, and time to market for marketing, personalization, and migration. More importantly, organizations satisfy customers by engaging with them wherever and whenever they choose.

EOM tools, such as Bell and Howell’s software and workflow suites, use a centralized utility that allows multiple business lines, regardless of the legacy system they are created in, to apply channel-specific formatting parameters after the messages are created. This greatly reduces ongoing support and implementation costs, significantly reduces the time to transition business applications to modern distribution channels, and provides a platform to cross-sell and upsell to customers. Most importantly, EOM solutions provide a consolidated view of the end-to-end customer communication process — allowing transaction-level visibility within business lines and customer service organizations.

Taking Your Organization Further

The primary components of EOM solutions — workflow automation and post-composition tools — enable the just-in-time application of common formatting and distribution requirements, which help ensure compliance and consistency across applications and delivery channels. EOM solutions can enhance legacy application documents to insert color, electronic inserts, inserts, and forms overlays, as well as marketing messages and personalized information to increase customer satisfaction and retention.

Once assembled, the communication can be custom formatted, optimally packaged, and then guided to the appropriate distribution channel. Centralizing the customer communications distribution process gives organizations an enterprise dashboard, enabling real-time visibility and reporting on all aspects of the physical and electronic distribution processes.

In addition, EOM solutions can catapult mature organizations’ disorganized customer communications silos into nimble, customer-focused operations that attract new customers, retain customers, and increase their lifetime value. Presenting the right content over the right channel consistently across all business lines will positively impact customers’ overall impression of your organization.

As technology continues to evolve and channels of customer communications expand, EOM tools will position your organization to continue to quickly adapt to these changes.