Customer communications management

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Customer Communications Management (CCM) is a term that refers to a convergent set of Information Technology solutions.

Definitions[edit]

CCM has become an industry term used by participating companies and analysts. The term is used by research companies such as Gartner Group, Forrester Research, InfoTrends, and Madison Advisors.

Customer communications management (CCM) is defined by Gartner Group, the "Magic Quadrant for CCM Software" publisher, as 'the strategy to improve the creation, delivery, storage and retrieval of outbound communications, including those for marketing, new product introductions, renewal notifications, claims correspondence and documentation, and bill and payment notifications. These interactions can happen through a widespread range of media and output, including documents, email, Short Message Service (SMS) and Web pages. CCM solutions support these objectives, providing companies with an application to improve outbound communications with their distributors, partners, regulatory bodies and customers.[1]

History[edit]

When customer communications management (CCM) software was launched in late 1980s, the subscription options were limited to internally operated commercial licenses.

Initial CCM concepts were focused upon the utilisation of company transactional documents. These documents such as bank statements, statement of account, invoices and other customer transactional documents were viewed as ideal media to promote company products to customers. The rationale behind this was cited in analyst research by InfoTrends that, "transactional documents are opened and read by more than 90% of consumers. Because the average consumer is bombarded with advertising, e-mail, direct mail and other forms of solicitation each day, TransPromo can help you cut through the clutter and stand out."

Not only are transactional documents more likely to be opened and observed than other types of document, they are also more likely to be studied for longer than say a direct mail piece. Thus, a company has an opportunity to communicate and promote its message to the customer.

Components[edit]

The technology that supports customer communications management also allows sophistication in the content of the messages. Customer communications management technology may consist of the following components:

  1. Data Extraction, Transform & Load software
  2. Data Management, Analysis and Location Intelligence software
  3. Data Hygiene database software
  4. Document composition software
  5. Electronic document archive software and perhaps payment processing functionality
  6. Print Stream Engineering / Post Processing Software
  7. Mailing compliance database software
  8. Printer Management Software
  9. High and medium volume production printers
  10. Envelope inserter machines
  11. Email Marketing Software
  12. SMS Communication Software
  13. Mobile Media based content distribution software
  14. Entering the frame more recently social media distribution software
  15. Document Production Reporting Software
  16. Portal Technology
  17. Transpromotional Application software

The data extraction software presents marketers and business with an opportunity to combine data from multiple systems to enable a customer analysis. Through this customer analysis process it is possible for marketers to evaluate the marketing mix and position individual products to the customer in respect of relevance to the customer or the results of purchase propensity model.

The end result of this process will be the creation of a data model, data acquisition and decision rules that enable a document composition engine to follow its own set of document application rules to construct individual documents on the basis of data items contained within an individuals data record.

Thus the concept of one-to-one marketing is established.

It is theoretically possible at least that for a run of 100,000 statements, no statement will contain the same set of offers. Thus, women's clothing would not be marketed to men whilst 'male gadgets' would not be marketed to women.

The Document Composition engine is responsible for interpreting data and following a set of rules to create a set of documents that can either be printed or distributed electronically. The Document Composition engine usually produces either a print stream or, XML data.

Post processing can be utilised to prepare a print job for production and distribution. This may include tasks such as the application of barcodes to deliver individual mail piece instructions to the inserters and to vary these in terms of the actual inserter being used. For example, one manufacturer’s inserter may require different barcode instructions to complete the same task than another.

Various postal operators throughout the world offer discount schemes if a volume mail producer pre-sorts mail before despatch. As this process saves the postal operator considerable effort and cost, a discount is passed to the mail producer. Where mailing volumes are high, this discount figure can be significant to the mail producer where for example the Royal Mail in the UK will offer 18% discount to customers who pre-sort their mail into 120 'pots'.

Print Management software controls the routing and distribution of print jobs to either a single production printer or a fleet of production printers. Print management software also provides a mechanism for assured delivery (ensuring that all pages get printed) through communication and feedback from print devices and also provides management information that is useful for Document Production Managers.

Relevance of communication is seen as key in overcrowded, competitive markets where service differentiation can be difficult. Documents that add value to the customer relationship are a major factor in improving customer retention and acquisition. Employing a Customer Communications Management solution can help organizations improve all these customer experiences efforts on a multi-channel communications level.[2][3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1] Gartner IT Glossar
  2. ^ [2] 'Improving Customer Experience a Top Priority in Customer Communications Management' - Info Trends Study, July 2015
  3. ^ [3] '5 Ways Customer Communications Management Improves Your Customer Experience Efforts'- Tom Roberts, April 2014

External links[edit]