The days of forgotten bills and notices under fridge magnets are disappearing as digital interactions become the new norm and customers demand communications via channels of choice.
Static outbound customer communications have given way to sophisticated bi-directional digital channels including email, SMS and social media, to enable two-way conversations between business and the end customer.
This brings many advantages, but it also creates challenges for organisations. Therefore, how can they best manage the continuing explosion of digital communications?
The need to solve this challenge has grown since the late 2000s when there was a push to allow regulated communications to be carried electronically. This was driven by ballooning costs for traditional postal services and the adoption of smart devices.
Recent events have also highlighted the advantages of responsive digital communications.
It is now vital that organisations move away from traditional Customer Communication Management (CCM) platforms to Customer Experience Management (CXM) platforms for scalability and to gain extensive capabilities for reaching customers via every digital channel, whilst meeting regulatory requirements.
In late 2020, CCM strategy firm Aspire surveyed 2,000 consumers in the United States and found that in the preceding 12 months, 15 per cent had moved to another provider due to poor customer communications. Aspire also found that the churn was four times higher among millennials than baby boomers.
One of the key decisions is whether to implement communications technology on-premise, procure it from a third party as a managed service, or opt for something in-between.
Aspire has argued that moving to outsourced platforms allows regulated communications to be handled more efficiently across business siloes and potentially shorten project lifecycles.
Outsourced platform provider CoTé developed its virsaic™ CXM platform to address the need for simplified, effective customer communications across multiple channels.
CoTé s virsaic™ end-to-end, multi-channel platform is hosted on Microsoft Azure. It allows organisations to manage their communications across all channels without the need for specialist teams, either internally, as an outsourced service, or anywhere in-between.
How an insurer overhauled its customer communications
One of CoTé’s clients is a specialist insurer, which adopted the platform to overcome major document management challenges.
The insurer was struggling to develop high-quality documents internally and was relying on a small team of specialists to update those documents.
The company engaged CoTé to ingest insurance policy data to create policy documents for a small, newly developed set of products used mainly by brokers, and pass them as PDFs back to the company. The insurer then manually posted the documents or attached them to emails for distribution to policy holders.
Armed with a basic document design structure, CoTé took on a larger project with the insurer, which involved eight or so new products. It completed the work within a three-month deadline.
If the insurer had stayed with its previous business process, using an external marketing firm or internal resources, the insurer estimates that the project could have stretched to a year.
Eventually, CoTé’s role in the distribution process expanded to generating policy documents and cover letters in a form ready for distribution by the insurer’s preferred mail service provider.
For email distributions, CoTé would collate and prepare documents then send them directly to policy holders via CoTé’s email provider, tracking them to ensure the emails were received and opened. CoTé stored replicas of all the documents sent to customers in real-time, ready for easy access by the insurer’s staff.
CoTé’s virsaic™ platform also allows the insurer to componentise their product disclosure statements (PDSs). Each individual clause is managed discretely and assembled dynamically into personalised and distributable PDSs. The insurer, working with CoTé analysts, was able to optimise and normalise all of its clauses. Simple legal changes can be modified without the need to regenerate entire PDSs, as they are dynamically driven.
The outsourcing arrangement also allowed the insurer to implement multi-channel direct-to-customer communication strategies involving email and SMS, to support marketing and customer onboarding processes, without the need to engage multiple providers.
Many organisations’ stakeholders will need to consider these types of issues and benefits as customer communications evolve into CXM and as their customers’ expectation of a great customer experience continues to grow. Stakeholders come with their own set of challenges and goals, and within the current climate stakeholders seek outsource providers with a multi-discipline approach to achieve success across the customer journey lifecycle.
CoTé is headquartered in Melbourne with offices in Brisbane, Sydney, Singapore, California and Delaware.