What is Customer Communications Management (CCM)?
Customer Communications Management (CCM) refers to the systems and processes a company uses to manage how it talks to its customers. A CCM strategy should outline how you intend to manage everything from advertising, to onboarding materials, to invoicing, to customer service, across any channel (either digital or offline) used to deliver those messages.
Companies typically have a mix of highly sophisticated CCM platforms such as CRMs that can automate, personalise, and monitor your email campaigns, and basic legacy systems such as invoicing platforms with very limited functionality. CCM is about getting the most out of those systems – driving efficiencies wherever possible through automation and delivering an enhanced customer experience through personalisation.
Integrating CCM into a Customer Experience Management (CXM) strategy
CXM is about delivering a positive experience to the customer whenever and wherever they interact with your brand. That starts with an understanding of the audience – their perceptions of your brand, when they want to hear from you, what they want to know, their preferred communication channels – and delivering experiences that conform to those expectations. As the technical environment has advanced, so too have customer expectations; people expect call centre operators to know about previous conversations they’ve had, all product information to be easily accessible online, and brands to talk to them via their preferred channel, whether that be email, SMS, or direct mail.
Brands have difficulty delivering on these expectations of consistent, coherent omnichannel communications for a few different reasons, including:
- Legacy systems with limited customisation, analytics, and personalisation functionality.
- Siloing of channel strategies across multiple, non-collaborative teams.
- Lack of involvement from brand / marketing / customer experience teams in communications traditional owned by IT or operations, e.g., customer invoicing.
- Entrenched legacy process for creating and delivering communications.
- Lack of technical infrastructure required to deliver cohesive, centralised communications.
Overcoming these challenges requires a comprehensive CXM strategy that considers all channels, with all teams involved agreeing to a new set of processes for talking to customers.
Why implement a Customer Experience Management strategy?
Centralising your communications strategy allows you to implement processes that ensure consistent branding, tone of voice, and content regardless of the channel or the collateral.
Consolidating data on how your customer interacts across multiple channels allows you to build more complete customer profiles and deliver more personally relevant messages. For example, your email strategy can incorporate data on not just how customers have interacted with previous emails, but how they’ve engaged with the website, whether their payments are up to date, whether they’ve called customer service etc.
One key objective of CXM is ensuring that messaging on one channel is informed by what’s been communicated to the customer on all other channels, and how the customer’s responded to those communications. For example, you may not want to send a membership renewal email to a customer who recently lodged a complaint via a customer service call centre. This may require previously siloed teams to share customer data and communications strategies amongst each other. This sort of collaboration has an impact on the organisation that goes beyond the immediate CXM objectives, as each team can form a more complete view of both the customer and the company’s objectives.
By creating a complete view of your communications, you can ensure you’re not saying the same thing twice (or two contradictory things) on two different channels. For example, understanding how what your billing team is including in monthly invoices informs what you may or may not what to include in a weekly newsletter.
Better user experiences
The ultimate outcome of an effective CXM strategy is a better customer experience, one in which communications are consistent across channels, consistent with brand guidelines, tailored to the customer’s communications preferences, and informed by their previous interactions with you. As CXM advances, delivering better experiences will become increasingly critical for customer acquisition and retention.