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The customer communication value chain

September 13, 2010

In the last post, I suggested that customer communication management (CCM) might be the area where we see the next wave of ECM activity. What I want to do here is to go into a little more detail on the tangible ways I see ECM supporting CCM at an organization.

In the broadest sense, CCM is involved in every stage of the customer lifecycle, from acquisition to end-of-life:

  • Sales and marketing materials sent to prospects
  • Documents related to the sales transaction, such as instruction manuals, account opening forms, waivers and disclosures, etc.
  • Service and support materials, such as service request tickets, inbound complaints, service or maintenance logs, etc.
  • Documents related to the termination of the customer relationship

And although each of these will vary quite a bit depending on the specific industry and product, the high-level activities around service and support materials are fairly similar across most organizations, so these are a good place to dig in to the CCM-ECM connection a bit more.

Here’s a visualization of what the service and support segment of the CCM value chain typically looks like.

As you can see, it begins when someone at the organization has an idea for communicating with customers and creates that correspondence (which includes collaborating with others to finalize the document). It continues with the publication and delivery of that correspondence to the customer, as well as the management of customer inquiries through the web site as well as customer service channels. It concludes with the management of customer complaints regarding the correspondence.

ECM can impact this segment of the CCM value chain in a number of important ways:

  • Correspondence authoring process – ECM can help standardize the process for creating and sharing documents, provide a document management tool that enables document-centric workflow, versioning, and check in/check out, as well as ensure that the relevant governance (records management, e-discovery, compliance, etc.) is in place throughout the authoring process
  • Web self-service – ECM can help ensure that the relevant governance is in place on the content and interactions enabled by web self-service
  • Customer service help desk – ECM can help improve the way customer service content is organized to fine-tune search and retrieval as well as ensure that the relevant governance is in place on customer service content and interactions
  • Complaints – ECM can help standardize the processes for managing documents that pose the highest risk for complaints, improve the way content is organized to fine-tune search and retrieval, and ensure that the relevant governance is in place for the complaint department’s work products

What’s important to note here is that for each of the places ECM helps improve this segment of the CCM value chain you can determine an associated ROI. This has two implications: (1) it can significantly expand the scope of an ECM business case at an organization beyond the “usual suspect” ECM ROI categories and (2) allow your ROI to be expressed in the context of business activities that end users actually care about rather than ECM-centric ones…and in the end, this is the goal of any ECM business case, because it gives you the highest likelihood of success.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 15, 2011 5:50 am

    There is an exclusive webinar being organized on Customer Communication Management. Craig Le Clair, One of the leading Customer Communication Management Experts, Forrester Research would be sharing his knowledge and insights. Do care to register:

    Title of the webinar: Better Customer Experience Demands Smarter Communication
    Date: Feb 1,, 2011.
    Time: 10.00 AM – 9.00 AM EST (New York Time)
    Link for register for participation:
    Participation Fees: $0.00

  2. February 1, 2011 5:11 am

    New generation customers’ demand more personalized, contextual communications, delivered in real time, through their preferred channel. Customer Communication Management provides a platform to deliver smart communication, maximizing the effectiveness of all communication touch points while complying with regulatory mandates and branding guidelines. An integrated CCM with enterprise content & BPM framework provides organizations an agile process for creation, review and distribution of personalized communication across multiple channels consistently.

    If interested in Customer Communication Management, you may find this useful:

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