If you are like many companies, you implemented a customer communications management (CCM) solution for operational reasons. You undoubtedly have benefited from a material lift in workforce productivity, efficiency and satisfaction. It now takes just minutes or hours to prepare documents or make compliance updates instead of weeks or even months. Customers likely appreciate the improvements, too, with fast and easy onboarding, instant access to archived documents, and digital delivery options.
That is no longer enough. Automating and streamlining document composition and distribution for operational and compliance gains is becoming table stakes. Companies are increasingly looking for much more from their customer communications and payments, expecting these critical touch points to play a central, strategic role in improving the customer experience (CX).
That’s because the customer journey doesn’t end with the sale, loan or medical treatment. In fact, how you treat timeshare and home owners after they buy, patients after medical care, and consumers after they take out an auto loan or mortgage can have a greater influence on their loyalty and satisfaction than the interactions before and during the sale or medical treatment. Billing and payment experiences in particular affect everything from referrals and repeat business to social media reviews and complaints–even to whether customers pay in full.
Why is CX so important?
There’s mounting evidence that CX leaders far outperform other companies on just about every key measure:
- CX high performers grow revenue faster, drive higher brand preference, can charge higher prices and deliver superior stock price performance versus CX laggards, Forrester found.
- By 2020, customer experience is expected to surpass product and price as the key brand differentiator, according to CX consulting firm Walker.
- 81% of companies told Gartner that they expect to be competing mostly or completely on the basis of CX by 2019.
Rethinking your CCM strategy
Given these trends, optimizing customer communications and payments with a focus on customer experience takes on greater urgency and importance. The new paradigm requires a sharper focus outward, on customer needs, wants and expectations, instead of internal measures such as operational efficiency. It requires mapping out and implementing a customer-focused communications strategy that leverages the latest in CCM technology.
While each company needs to develop its own customer journey map and identify the top opportunities to improve CX, some customer priorities for communications and payments transcend specific businesses or industries. Here are three priorities for 2019:
Choice. Borrowers, patients and owners want to interact with companies based on their own preferences. Offering omnichannel communications gives customers the freedom to choose which bills, letters, marketing offers, loyalty program updates and account alerts they want to receive by text, pushed to their digital wallets, by email or by good old-fashioned paper. In fact, most people opt for a combination of digital and print communications. The same goes for payments, with more than 3 out of 4 Americans using multiple payment options to pay their bills, according to Aite Group.
Of course, managing all those preferences is a complex proposition. Just 13% of financial firms can deliver a seamless customer experience across channels, including mail, email, phone and mobile, according to PA Consulting.
Ease of use. It is one of the top 3 customer expectations, along with personalization and speed, for 90% of all customers by 2020 versus 47% in 2017, according to Walker. Yet just 7% of companies say they make it very easy for their customers to interact or transact with them, Walker found.
Ease of use in communications and payments means fast, flexible, intuitive, integrated and convenient, so customers can pay, view statements and reach customer service when they want, from whatever device they want. Ease of use also requires omnichannel, especially mobile. Some 74% of consumers have made mobile payments and 55% have made purchases using mobile phones, according to payment processor TSYS.
Personalization. Many customers are open to a relationship with the companies they do business with. At a minimum, no one wants to be treated as an interchangeable, nameless, faceless bill payer. But most people want much more: 76% of consumers expect companies to understand their needs and expectations, according to Salesforce. And they reward companies that provide relevant interactions: High performing companies are more than four times likely to create personalized experiences across all business units, such as marketing, sales, service and billing, than underperformers, says Salesforce.
How Nordis can help
Billing, payments, and other recurring customer communications are increasingly inter-related, represent important touchpoints along the customer journey and greatly impact CX. At Nordis we differentiate ourselves in the marketplace by offering omnichannel communications and payments solutions that are tightly integrated. It is a critical part of our mission of providing secure, innovative technology solutions that facilitate a valuable, frictionless, and seamless experience for each customer, owner and patient. In turn, we help our clients build competitive advantage and growth.
To learn more about transforming your communications and payments into CX centers of excellence, send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.