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Make customer communications your competitive differentiator

customer communications

Companies are increasingly recognising that differentiation through products and services alone is no longer enough. As the expectations of modern consumers continue to soar, the new battleground is customer experience. 

According to research by Gartner, 81% of marketing leaders said that they expected to be competing mostly or completely on the basis of customer experience, and for good reason. A recent survey by Salesforce reveals that 84% of customers feel that the experience they receive from a company is considered as important as its products and services.

Without doubt, customer-centric digital transformation will be key to success as customer preferences and expectations evolve, but don’t underestimate the tremendous value that your communications can add in providing exceptional customer experience.

Every communication is an opportunity to enhance your relationship with your customers and set your brand apart from the competition. Likewise, the reverse is also true. Non-personalised, irrelevant communications sent at the wrong moment could actually harm customers’ perception of your company. 

In this article, we look at the high-impact areas where communications can play a key role in strengthening customer experience and provide actionable advice to help you get the most out of your CCM systems and strategy.

Deliver amazing personalisation

One-size-fits-all messaging is no longer effective in meeting the elevated expectations of customers.  With as many as 50% of Millennials and Generation Zers confirming that they generally ignore non-personalised communications, the challenge is on to learn more about your customers.

The standard that companies should aspire to is tailored, context-sensitive communications delivered across multiple touchpoints. Thankfully, modern CCM platforms and advances in data availability now make this easier than ever.

To deliver amazing personalisation:

  • Combine customer data with analytics to be proactive in meeting customers’ needs and offering personalised product recommendations.
  • Create multi-scenario and multilingual templates that display content based on customers’ demographic information. A good CCM system will allow you to do this efficiently at scale.
  • Integrate your CCM system with other business systems to access more data. For example, you could use information stored in your CRM system to segment your subscriber list, allowing you to send each customer the most relevant content and offers based on their interactions with your brand.

Develop a seamless customer journey

Customer journeys are becoming more elaborate, spanning multiple points of interaction, like email, social media, website, and mobile to name just a few. This provides an opportunity for communications to support a positive, connected experience across every touchpoint.

According to Craig Le Clair, Forrester Vice President, the “ability to link CCM to all points in the customer journey is gaining ground with stronger mobile support and integration with marketing automation and digital experience delivery platforms.”

Getting the most out CCM requires you to focus on understanding your customers deeply and using that information to drive informed, intelligent conversations. Ensure that you know customers’ preferences across channels and throughout the whole customer journey.

To create a seamless customer journey:

  • Develop customer journey maps that identify all touchpoints. Assess related  communications, and, if needed, rewrite content to be more understandable to users.
  • Be proactive. If you can see bottlenecks or stages in the journey where a certain message or type of communication would help customers to continue, pre-empt this and incorporate it.
  • Conduct A/B testing to compare user behaviour at every touchpoint across the customer journey. Your CCM system should be able to track opens and clicks allowing you to optimise communications and messaging for each situation and desired outcome.

Embrace omnichannel customer engagement

Two-way conversations are becoming the new normal and customers now expect to be able to communicate through a growing variety of channels and from a range of devices. In fact, 40% of customers won’t do business with a company if they can’t use their preferred channels.

The added complexity brought about by omnichannel engagement means that clarity of communication and ease-of-use in interacting with your business will become a key differentiator.

To be successful, it is essential to have a clear understanding of the customer journey so that every touchpoint across every communications channel can be optimised. Also, consider the opportunities and limitations of different delivery methods and how they impact on customer experience. For example, navigating and digesting a message in a letter may have a very different effect to receiving the same message in an email or via mobile.

Consistency, speed, and efficiency are pivotal in providing an exceptional omnichannel experience. To excel, leverage the power of your CCM to:

  • Create omnichannel templates that render communications according to the delivery method.
  • Quickly prototype, test, and implement designs and messages created by content owners, customer owners, and marketing experts.
  • Develop an expeditious review and approval process for all new and changed content so that compelling communications go live as quickly as possible.

Customer communications will remain an integral part of customer experience

Digital transformation continues to shift the goalposts, both in terms of customer expectations and business competitiveness. As forward-thinking companies leverage their CCM and other integrated technologies to provide exceptional customer experience, there is going to be a stark difference between the leaders and the companies that are yet to react.

To avoid getting left behind, ensure that your CCM is up to the task. A good CCM system will be easy to use, agile, and allow you to effect changes quickly. Also, you’ll need the capability to record customer behaviour so that rich data sets can be captured and analysed to inform every action.

Companies that succeed in providing highly-personalised, omnichannel communications that connect and enhance every step of the customer journey will reap the rewards of increased trust, loyalty, and ultimately, revenue.

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