Today most organizations are struggling with why they should even think about investing in a new customer-communications solution if they’re already getting things like contracts, policies and correspondence out the door. Why fix something that isn’t broken?
Well, the answer to that question really depends on what roles the customer and distribution-channel experiences have in an organization’s overall business strategy, and the perception of how much documents and correspondence influence those experiences.
In the past, it was a more straightforward evaluation; most organizations considered the creation and delivery of customer documents and correspondence simply to be a cost of doing business. Under this mindset, the focus surrounding communications was on efficient operations and cost reductions.
If a new customer-communications solution could help to reduce overall costs or make the process more efficient, it would make sense to invest and implement.
If using a combination of core application systems, manual processes and word-processing programs (aka Microsoft Word) kept costs low and documents flowing, there would be little reason to invest in a new solution for document generation and delivery.
But now, customers and distribution-channel partners have increasing expectations for organizations to communicate using the tools and methods that are common today.
One example is to provide more visually appealing, easier-to-read letters, statements and color documents using a variety of layouts. Another aspect of improved communications is the ability to digitally deliver (e.g., via email, SMS/text messages, mobile apps or portals) some or all of the documents instead of just printing and mailing them.
A third expectation is that organizations use transactional data from a variety of sources in conjunction with business rules to trigger highly personalized content within communications.
None of these are new requirements, nor are they technologically challenging for a modern customer-communications solution. There are several additional capabilities that modern customer-communications solutions can also provide:
Multiple departments and individuals may be involved in creating and producing forms, document templates and individual customer communications. In order to ensure compliance, it is vital that only authorized individuals create or change elements that are subject to compliance rules.
A modern customer-communications solution will allow for the definition of specific roles that are assigned to individuals. For example, only certain named individuals may be able to change language related to a coverage in a given state. The solution then “locks down” this language so that others cannot revise or delete it.
The ever-changing flow of business results in frequent changes to existing customer documents or the creation of new ones. For example, when a new product is introduced, a new state is entered or a new regulation is issued, existing templates must be revised to create the corresponding new versions.
Tracking the different versions of documents that need to be used in each situation is very complex. Modern communications solutions can automate the tracking of versions to ensure that the correct one is being used.
When role-based authorization is combined with version control and reporting capabilities, organizations are able to audit changes to document templates effectively. It is critical that audit trails for all document changes are complete and available immediately.
A modern communications application provides this capability, allowing diagnostics to determine what version of a template was used at a particular point in time and who made the changes to it.
Individuals (or core application systems that trigger on-demand generation) who create and assemble customer documents cannot possibly know all the rules on when and where to include the right regulatory language for every situation.
Modern customer-communication applications can assist in this regard with rules-based logic that can identify when text paragraphs or other regulated components must be inserted, based on data pulled directly from core administration applications.
All of these capabilities for the creation and delivery of customer communications realized through a modern customer-communications solution allow organizations to reduce regulatory fines, reduce manual operations and rework and deliver a better customer experience.