Part 1 of 2
By Cassandra Carnes
Relevancy is all the rage. The average consumer doesn’t want to sort through never-ending piles of documents to derive the information they need. Organizations invest time and resources to send information as well as field feedback from misinformed or confused patrons. A combination of document output management (DOM) and customer communications management (CCM) strategies offer a sophisticated solution to compose, format, personalize, and distribute content in a variety of formats. All of these processes are designed to improve the customer experience and maintain loyalty.
CCM and DOM are often connected—even merged as Document Output for Customer Communications (DOCCM) by Forrester Research—but it is helpful to distinguish the goals of each. CCM ensures that relevant, quality, consistent, and transparent data, processes, and content—or documents—critical to customer service and satisfaction are delivered. Ideally, CCM aligns and integrates systems and technologies for document management or DOM, enterprise content management, customer relationship management, as well as customer care where applicable. "CCM helps companies optimize their business communications, transactions, and interactions with their customers, prospects, and partners to enable business growth. Put simply, CCM customizes messages to targeted customers through preferred channels," says Robert Mattis, global product director, Pitney Bowes Management Services.
DOM is an enterprise operation for document creation and delivery. With the growing popularity of multi-channel communications, the DOM model evolves. "Moving beyond print to electronic documents and past traditional output technologies to interactive platforms has challenged DOM paradigms and teams to offer more flexibility to the business to adapt and produce output for a variety of contents, formats, and delivery requirements," explains Annmarie Pucher, CEO, ISIS Papyrus Software.
Together, CCM and DOM enable the successful handling of structured, unstructured, and interactive content with customers to accomplish shared goals. These goals primarily include customer retention, reduced customer communications costs, and increased revenue through the delivery of more effective communications. Any industry that regularly communicates with customers—whether the contact is mandated or not—is well positioned for savings and increased productivity with the implementation of DOC/CCM. Segments, such as financial services, insurance, healthcare, the public sector, telecommunications, and utilities are prime candidates to benefit from a CCM strategy.
Forrester defines DOCCM as the software used to compose, format, personalize, and distribute content to support physical and electronic customer communications and improve the customer experience in The Forrester Wave: Document Output for Customer Communications Management, Q2, 2009. According to the report, a variety of categories and applications are covered under DOCCM, including structured, interactive, and on demand communications. Structured communications are often printed in batches, similar to mass mailings. These communications typically include statements, utility bills, and marketing materials. Interactive documents require custom data to be input within a structured format, common applications include welcome kits, benefit packages, and business correspondence. Finally, on demand communications are triggered by requests from different channels, including Web-to-print, online quoting, and order confirmations.
The capability to leverage the latest technology to deliver effective customer correspondence is invaluable to the modern enterprise. "The ability to manage document output and customer communication on your customers’ terms is a powerful thing—it builds engagement and loyalty. But there are also the operational benefits—delivering more tailored communication means businesses become more agile while cutting costs associated with non-preferred communications," says Richard Burdge, CMO, Thunderhead Software. The cost savings can be as simple as granting a customer’s request for digital-only communication, saving money on print.
CCM platforms literally manage documents throughout their entire lifecycle. Depending on the particular product, the solutions typically include content creation, document assembly, multi-channel delivery, archiving, and response reporting.
Beyond core functions, CCM capabilities can be leveraged throughout an organization. "Think about all of the documents a company creates, from letters to invoices and statements and bills to proposals, contracts, and newsletters," says Scott Draeger, manager of product strategy, Exstream, Hewlett-Packard. "Any part of the enterprise that has responsibility for communication with customers can benefit from HP Exstream—field agency, sales, marketing, claims department, customer service representatives, call centers," he adds