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How to Communicate With Customers Today

Customers put a high value on positive and valuable engagements. They want relevant communications from companies with whom they choose to do business, and they want it on their terms. These standards apply to the communications and marketing messages they receive, either in print or digitally. Customers expect to interact on the channels they choose, and they demand that companies tailor messages for their needs.

This is a big challenge for any company that has to manage and coordinate multiple delivery platforms, collect, analyze and mine data correctly, and ensure production systems all work flawlessly. The only way to execute this intricate puzzle is to gain absolute control over the entire production and distribution process.

 Value of Tailored Communications

Both digital and print have their strengths as communication tools. Digital platforms are cheaper, deliver immediate reach, can be customized, are easily tracked for open rates or answers to calls to action, and are accessible through mobile devices. Printing, however, is a powerful component of any cross-channel communications strategy. People open over 90% the bills they receive in the mail and these bills offer companies the chance to add messaging, printed directly on the bill or with inserts, that will be seen.

Good graphics, color, and finishing enhancements all add to the customer experience and, thanks to digital press technology, print can be highly personalized. It stays around longer, isn’t intercepted by junk and spam filters, and appeals to every generation, including millennials who appreciate the novelty of printed products. Print is also very effective at driving recipients to digital platforms, especially when using QR codes, barcodes or augmented reality.

But going from the initial communication concept, to production, and to distribution, is a complex process that can break down. Several software programs, pieces of equipment, and production systems all have to work together seamlessly to ensure campaigns are executed accurately. If they don’t, potential problems—from inventory management gone wrong, to missing supplies, data mismanagement, production glitches, inserting errors, or software malfunctions—can cause disruptions, wasted time, higher costs, or even missed deadlines.

 Importance of Integration

A production environment with equipment and software systems from multiple manufacturers is the norm in most document processing facilities. End-to-end workflow systems with components from a single manufacturer don’t exist in many installations. Finding a way of integrating disparate components is key to an efficient and error-free operation.

The answer is Customer Communication Management (CCM) integration software that brings all software packages, process systems, and equipment together into a linked and cohesive workflow in which information flows from beginning to end without gaps or breaks.

The benefits of integration are many, starting with efficiency. All information is only entered once, manual input by humans is reduced and so are mistakes. Control over costs increases as information between gaps that would have to be filled manually is eliminated. Printing or inserting errors are identified quickly and easily fixed without interrupting the job flow.

CCM integration software creates better reporting of key performance indicators, making it easier to identify problem areas or bottlenecks. Audit reports are generated to help with compliance requirements. Process control is convenient via web-based dashboards.

This is not to say that CCM integration is a simple matter. The exercise takes time to do well and is often better accomplished by an objective third party than done by the in-house IT team. It’s not the best use of their time. Plus, third party integrators are well versed in industry best practices and adapting solutions to any specific need.

If you have questions about gaining greater control over your workflow, our experts are always on hand. We can help you advance your customer communications strategy! 

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