The 4th of July is almost upon us, and just as sure as fireworks and backyard grills will soon be part of our great summer celebrations, back at the office we’ll be grappling with new budget cycles and revisiting this year’s project priorities.
While industry consultants, technology service providers and leading software vendors in the Document Output for Customer Communications Management (DOCCM as Forrester defines it) stand ready to help companies conduct extensive ROI analysis that help feed the budget planning process, it’s also important to maintain a clear focus on the finer nuances of CCM that can dramatically improve the customer experience without requiring significant capital.
To be certain, in many situations there is ample opportunity to capture a solid ROI by migrating from legacy systems to current technologies that streamline the communications workflow, ensure compliance, and more effectively support the burgeoning demand for multi-channel communications. Two recent market studies provide helpful and detailed insights about the growing consumer preference for increased mobility, relevance, and personalization.
The NICE 2012 Consumer Channel Preference Survey confirms that consumers are more empowered than ever before as they are communicating more often and using multiple channels to contact an enterprise. Consumers indicate that on average they are using six different channels for contacting service providers, while 86 percent note that they are communicating more often, or at the same level, with businesses over all channels. The Web continues to be the most popular and growing self-service channel, while smartphone applications and social networks have grown in popularity with more than 40 percent of respondents noting that they have increased their use of these channels.
…but we also know that for a technology investment to yield the desired ROI, we have to execute effectively and ensure that we capture savings while improving the customer experience.
Not exactly shocking news that consumers are becoming more mobile while simultaneously increasing the number of channels they rely on for personal communications. And it’s certainly no less surprising that leading technology providers continue to enhance their software offering to address this growing and complex challenge. Conventional wisdom often indicates that an investment in robust technologies that can help address complex challenges may generate a solid ROI, but we also know that for a technology investment to yield the desired ROI, we have to execute effectively and ensure that we capture savings while improving the customer experience.
This leads us past the technology to the execution…or out of the grocery store and onto the backyard grill if you will. In their recent study entitled “The 2012 Channel Preference Survey”, Exact Target cited some interesting statistics and drew some compelling conclusions that carry important lessons that we can apply across the entire customer communications spectrum.
- Email is, by far, the preferred channel for permission based promotional messages. In fact, it grew in popularity from 72% in 2008 to 77% in 2012, leaving its closest competitors in the digital dust (text messages @ 5% and social networks at 6%)
- Despite the positive attitude consumers have toward email, many marketers have seen their overall email marketing response rates decline. This performance doesn’t indicate failure of the channel, but rather failure of their marketing communications to resonate in the inbox
- Sophisticated interactive marketers continue to see strong response to email marketing messages even in the face of increased volume from other senders. This combination suggests there’s an erosion of the “middle class” in email marketing—a growing disparity between email marketing “haves” who implement more automated, data-driven programs and “have-nots” who batch and blast.
Exact Target draws the conclusion that audience segmentation, data-driven insights, and personally relevant content are no longer “nice to haves” in email—they are “MUST haves” for any marketer who wishes to stand out in the inbox.
I agree….regardless of the type of communication or document, technology or channel, it is imperative to make sure that we consistently apply best practices for audience segmentation, data-driven insights, and the delivery of personally relevant content. Those are three key ingredients…but there’s a fourth one, Information Design, and it’s every bit as essential to CCM success as sparklers are to a happy 4th of July.