Digital transformation accelerated during the pandemic, creating opportunities and challenges for organizations globally. When it comes to customer communication, more and more organizations are gradually moving away from paper-based communication to more sustainable digital communication.
It's not unusual for organizations operating in the insurance, banking, and pensions sectors to use several CCM systems. Sometimes it’s due to mergers and acquisitions; sometimes, it’s due to departments' ability to choose what product they want to use. But there are challenges when using different CCM systems. First and foremost, the customer experience is affected. A customer may buy products from two or more departments, but the look and feel of the communication they receive from you is different.
Some downsides to using more than one CCM system can be inconsistent communications, lower productivity, difficulties with compliance, and many more. Oh, and there is every chance you’re paying too much for the service you’re using.
We’re talking to more organizations considering consolidating their customer communication to a single CCM platform. One reason, which is often overlooked, is making communication required by law and regulations more engaging, thus improving the customer experience. Other benefits include cost savings and improved productivity. Below we discuss five steps that we’ve seen help our customers achieve the benefits described above.
Current state vs. future state
When consolidating applications or platforms, you must first analyze where you are today. Understanding your current processes, technology, and what impact it has on the rest of the organization is a crucial first step. Are all departments using the same CRM system and finance applications, and how do they integrate with your existing CCM solutions? Doing this will help avoid any unpleasant surprises later in the project.
The next step is identifying the needs and requirements of your future state. It’s critical to involve all stakeholders at this stage. Why? Because you want to determine what capabilities are required from your next CCM platform. There will be capabilities that are must-haves, there will be some that are nice-to-haves, and there will be some which are not needed at all. The best practice is to involve all roles in this process. Talk to the executive leadership team, the legal & compliance team, end users, and the IT department. The goal here is to get buy-in from everyone and uncover potential obstacles and challenges you may expect.
Build a strategy
The reason organizations have multiple CCM systems are many, but most are caused by legacy technology, which results in using manual processes and having more staff than required. Organizations moving to use just one CCM platform experience more effective processes, more personalized customer communication, better customer experience, and lower costs.
The challenge many organizations with multiple CCM solutions face is that they also have numerous design and development teams. A popular way to handle this is by creating a Competence Center for Customer Communication (click here to find out how one of our clients did this). As part of your consolidation strategy, you should also define which roles you will need when moving to a single platform. This will help you reduce the number of staff producing and managing customer communication. It will also help your organization stay on brand, compliant, and personal.
Now that you’ve set out your requirements and needs, it’s time to look at how potential CCM solution providers onboard their customers. A smooth onboarding process should include the following elements.
What are the risks?
- How do we connect existing business systems to the new platform?
- What templates can be migrated, and do we need to develop new ones?
- Do we need to update processes to align with the new platform?
- What is the timeline, including milestones and goals?
- What is the cost of migrating?
- Who is responsible for each task in the project?
You can read more about the Centerpoint onboarding process here.
Plan your project
With your strategy in place, now is the time for you to set up a communication plan and decide how the project is managed. A clear project and communication plan will give all stakeholders critical insights into what will happen and when. The plan will also allow you to sunset legacy systems faster, ensuring you reap all the benefits from your new solution more quickly.
You should use your analysis and strategy to set guidelines. Which content and templates can be re-used, and which must be redesigned? And importantly, who is responsible for which templates, and who gives the final approval for all of this?
It’s critical to remember that many organizations have long-term plans for developing templates, designs, and content. It’s not uncommon for organizations to move one department at a time to a new platform. This way, it’s easier to allocate internal resources and work with vendors to make it a smooth transition. If you choose a gradual transition plan, it’s essential to have a clear schedule for when which content will be completed. A best practice here is to have an approval process in place for any changes to this plan, as even minor changes can significantly impact the overall project.
With all of the above in place, now is the time to start consolidating all your existing CCM solutions into one centralized CCM platform. For the implementation project, it’s always a good idea to consider using an implementation partner. The advantage of using an implementation partner is that they have carried out similar projects hundreds of times and will help you accelerate your implementation project. You will also save internal resources who can work on other projects.
Now is also the time to connect all your core systems and business-critical applications to the new CCM platform. Some best practices for this phase are:
- Create a personalized project plan.
This will help identify requirements and deadlines, analyze document needs, and determine data flow and delivery channels.
- Connect your existing systems.
Connect your data sources, create workflows, set up templates and content, create delivery rules, and set up archiving.
Is everything working as it should? Make sure you conduct extensive testing on your new setup to ensure it can manage volume and that the correct data is being picked up.
- Wow your customers
The objective of consolidating your CCM solutions to one central platform is to improve your customer dialog. Now you can start delivering better communication to your customers.
Education and training are critical success factors when implementing new solutions or platforms. The training should be held during the implementation project but close enough to the official launch so that your colleagues don’t forget all the new cool things they can do.
Our experience tells us that a combination of onsite and online training is most beneficial. Having the first training session in person can be beneficial to get everyone aligned. And don’t forget to tell everyone why your organization is making this change. It’s not just about saving money. It’s as much about enabling everyone in the room to do their job even better than they are now.
After the kick-off training session, you may need to create training sessions for different types of users and departments. This will help avoid overwhelming your colleagues with features and functionalities they may never use. Find a vendor that caters to customized training sessions to meet your organization’s needs.
Want to learn more?
Consolidating CCM solutions is often a big challenge because many organizations have a host of legacy systems and processes in place. But consolidation is well worth it. Both from a financial perspective and a customer experience perspective.
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