Since most organizations have a variety of customer-facing resources (e.g., call center representatives, distributors, etc.) that interact with their customers, it is vital that the organization’s brand is well-represented and that the communications are accurate and effective. The focus on the customer experience is shining a new light on customer communications—both print and digital—since they are important contributors to the overall customer experience.
Four Ways to Promote Consistent Communications
There are four ways in which organizations can promote consistent customer communications for all of their customer-facing resources:
- Organizational focus: Organizations of all sizes have recently been establishing senior executives with an overall responsibility for the customer. Alternately, some have put together cross-functional teams whose charter it is to view the company from the customer’s perspective. These executives and teams should review the customer communications that the company and its representatives have had with customers over time, and assess how these communications can be accomplished more efficiently and have a more positive impact on the experience. Doing audits or reviews on a regular basis (quarterly or semi-annually) will provide a snapshot of the documents, correspondence and other communications that an average customer would see or be a part of. Standards should be established and guidelines put in place for what software to use.
- Common software platform: It is not uncommon for an organization to have multiple software systems for generating customer communications. Companies may use MS Word, legacy composition tools or manual approaches to create content for communications. One of the most important steps an organization can take to ensure a consistent process among front-line personnel is to provide a single, common software platform for the creation of customer communications. Migrating to a single platform makes it easier to enforce standards, manage templates and content, and train users.
- Template design and management: Designing and managing templates for letters, statements and other communications are key elements needed to support customer-facing resources as they communicate with customers. A modern system that provides sophisticated authorizations and workflows allows subject-matter experts in each area of the business to create standard, approved content. This may include logo placement and branding elements managed by Marketing, text blocks managed by Legal and Compliance individuals, e-signatures created and maintained by departmental areas, or rules to trigger specific language managed by the appropriate individuals. The ability to create, change and manage these communications components is required to ensure brand consistency, compliance and effective communications.
- Training and usability: It is important to put the right tools, processes and content in place to enable the creation of customer communications. But the final and crucial step is to train customer-facing employees to leverage these new capabilities. Having a customer communications platform that is designed for business users makes this step easier and much more likely to succeed. Making them aware of the standard templates and the available content that they can take advantage of also improves the chances that they will definitely get the most out of the system while also enhancing the consistency and accuracy of communications.
Organizations are not flying blind when it comes to their brands. They understand the critical role that customer communications play in helping them to achieve their overall business goals and deliver on their brand promise. They recognize that the quality, timeliness and personalization of their customer communications contribute to loyal customers and profitable growth.
Progressive organizations are taking action through solid investments to help them generate demand, attract customers, communicate proactively and provide an accurate, responsive customer experience.