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Business Management

Tony Beynsberger (Global) - How do you Give Your Customers the Information They Actually Want?

Your customers are online. Are you?

All industries are aware of the proliferation of mobile devices. Consumers now expect communications via the web, SMS, mobile apps and email and access to customer services 24/7. Yet some industries still need to adapt customer service channels to communicate with customers via these types of technologies.

For example, the insurance industry needs to shift focus from cost control to driving business growth. Upgrading from a legacy system to a customer communications management (CCM) solution allows insurers to tailor services to meet unique multi-channel needs of different customer segments. The difference between CCM and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is that CCM utilizes these technologies to communicate with customers as part of a CRM strategy but then integrates this with transactional documents that are sent to customers, such as bills, statements and other sales materials. This means that customers get more relevant and personalized information that they’re more likely to read and hopefully digest – this is how utility company E.ON uses our services to communicate with its customers.

For the insurance industry, the ability to create meaningful information for customers can not only increase policy holder retention, but boost referral and renewal rates among existing policy holders. By maintaining communication through email or SMS instead of the telephone, customers are more likely to get more valuable information and less likely to need to call an expensive call center.

Data security concerns

Despite the clear business benefits and the growing demand from consumers for more online services, there are still some industries – such as retail banking and utilities – that have to actively encourage customers to make the transition from printed communications to electronic transactions.

The main reason for this, aside from having to change habits, is the worry about data security. Data security is a challenging issue because mobile devices including laptops, smartphones and tablets are no longer locked up in the user’s house and are more susceptible to theft. To prevent data being exposed to third parties in case of loss or theft, security needs to be addressed before adopting any type of CCM solution.

Benefits of customer communications management solutions:

CCM is seen as the next level of customer relations and solutions on the market designed to easily integrate with an existing CRM system and customer analytics to enhance a company’s overall sales and marketing activities. The missing element that CCM provides is the ability to develop a more personalized experience for the customer and tailor communications to the ways they prefer, meaning better response rates and greater return on marketing investment.

Overall, there are currently about 10-15% of communications being delivered in electronic channels and we expect this to steadily grow. Companies serving the younger, more digitally-savvy audience through specialized electronic-only channels are able to realize the benefits of CCM quicker. For example they are able to reduce communication costs with more customer support available on the web rather than from the call center. Concerns over data security and customer confidence in a multi-channel approach will take time to address and overcome, however the benefits of CCM have proven to outweigh the doubts as more businesses demonstrate their willingness to adapt to maintain their position in this competitive marketplace.

By Tony Beynsberger, HP Exstream

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