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The Customer Journey: Preferred Communications Enhance Relationships

 14th Mar 2016

Communications and the Customer Journey

 

Customer Communications are getting more costly, complex and important.

 

Engaging with and capturing customers is how businesses generate revenue. The process of getting customers on board is often costly, both in terms of the effort and money required to attract them. Retaining customers is often at least 70% cheaper than winning new ones. The difference between keeping and losing customers can be dependent on the quality of the communications exchanged during customer journeys with us. But these are now spread over increasing varieties of channel interactions, electronic and physical. So just how can we make sure our customer communications are working for us, and not against us? 

 

The Customer Journey

 

Let's start by looking at what a customer journey actually is; simply put, it's the flow of communications, actions or other related activity that describe how a customer experiences and perceives your company. Understanding these interactions is increasingly important, governing how customers engage with your products and services, purchase from you and, potentially, repeat purchase and become an advocate. Or not.

 

From their first encounter with your business, each customer will follow some form of journey. Whilst this journey may not be a tangible business asset, it is increasingly recognised as an essential one. With no control, your customers will experience inefficiencies and a 'dented' service, leaving you delivering disconnected and costly experiences, if not managed or controlled.
 

Each touchpoint in your customer journey is dominated by communications, be it customer service from a call centre or strategic calls-to-action placed in your marketing materials. The design of your journey dictates what communications take place (from you) or will take place (customer-led) to encourage the customer along the sales pipeline.

 

"But marketing does the communications!" Well, actually we're all customer communicators... 

Your customers, or prospects, don't necessarily see your communications as marketing activity, call centre operations or however else you may classify them internally; they just see your company brand, your products and your services. The communications you wrap around those products and services are important in guiding potential customers through their initial exploratory journeys that ultimately will build a loyal relationship between your business and them.

 

Why getting customer communications right means more loyal, repeat custom... 

 

Many things motivate the customer to buy, so why would you leave it up to pure chance as to whether they'd buy from you? The role of customer communications is both to factually enable transactions and to guide each customer through the transactional journey. This 'guiding' signposts the 'direction of travel' so that, if followed, customers finish in a place that you can predict based on their earlier actions.
 

To the customer, the 'escorted' journey feels like one of support, reliability and perhaps consultation, often made tangible in the form of good service standards. Those customers who feel supported and consulted feel valued; those who feel valued feel confident in making a purchasing decision. Get your communications right and these feelings will be abundant - leading to a rise in advocacy for and interaction with your business, products and services. 

 

"So, how do I make sure I'm communicating effectively?" 

 

Every member of your team is responsible for delivering the journey and communicating with your customers, so it important to provide a means of enabling them to communicate consistently and personally in an individual way within corporate guidelines. This is where effective Customer Communications Management (CCM) comes into play.
 

Create mapped journeys for your customers so that you can predict the touchpoints, as well as what input and output is required from your side. Test the journey, refine the business processes around it and get your people ready to deliver. Plan to use a modern CCM system to help embed, run and support business processes and their delivery.
 

A modern CCM system, such as the Icon Suite, is state-of-the-art enterprise-level software used to compose, format, personalize, and distribute content to support physical and electronic customer communications and improve the customer experience. It supports almost all types of content, including letterhead, invoices, correspondence, marketing materials, policies, statements, welcome kits, social media, SMS, emails, PDF for web portals and more. 

 

The Icon Suite

 

The products within the Icon Suite are specifically designed to support not only extensive content variety, but also virtually any communication channel. Its comprehensive multi-channel capabilities allow business users to streamline output to Print, PDF, e-Mail or even Social Media, SMS and XML for industry messaging standards. It is the single-platform solution that allows you to support all modes of usage (batch, interactive and online) at scale and singularly, any number of channels, languages and brands, all from a single platform using business rules and smart dynamic document templates.

 

This can be driven largely by business users with minimal IT input once set up. IT gains from not only reduced workload but also huge simplification in the technology stack. Platform rationalisation is enabled, saving with replacing many overlapping silo'd systems.

 

Personalisation of customer communications of all types is enhanced through Icon Suite as the clever analytics from Marketing can be applied easily across every customers preferred mode of communications, enabling omni-channel customer journeys in the manner that gives them that 'feel good' factor.

 

If you would like to learn more about the Icon Suite and the effects it could have on your business, please contact us on 0203 150 1081, or alternatively, send us a message using the form on our Contact Us page.

 



 

 

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