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What is customer communication management?

Team meeting

Quite often we’re asked what’s the difference between Customer Communication Management (CCM) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM). While both are key components of overall customer experience, there are distinctions to be made. CRM is focused towards managing customer interaction through data analysis and a keen eye on retention. CCM, however, is more about supporting the customer interactions themselves, creating strategies to improve the way you create, store, retrieve and deliver all types of inbound and outbound communications using a variety of different tools and processes to increase the ‘efficiency’ of communication and find better ways to engage the intended recipient.


The concept of CCM has been around for a good few years and appears simple, but when you consider the many different types of communications (general correspondence, invoices, statements, appointment reminders to name a few), the channels available to deliver them (print, email, online, text, etc.), the chosen language of the recipient, along with preferred formats, tone of voice and so on, effective communication quickly becomes far more complex.

Resident expectations for a relevant and timely response adds to the need for having well-honed processes and a unified view for remembering context from previous conversations and interactions. The ever present juggernaut of digital transformation makes it hard to coordinate the proliferation of communication channels — be it correspondence in an envelope, a chatbot, live chat, SMS, social or web portals with interactive documents and/or information — and often overlooked parts of the customer correspondence landscape. This highlights the difficulty of creating a consistent and engaging customer experience when communications and messages are driven by data from a variety of disparate systems.

By their nature, service documents touch on various aspects of day-to-day operations and whilst many of the organisations we talk to are somewhere on the road to improving communications sent to residents it’s an ongoing journey.

With a traditional focus on print and mail, IT and Operational stakeholders are often quick to recognise the benefits that CCM can contribute towards a coherent document strategy. Be it through identifying and implementing more efficient production workflows, CCM technologies provide an easier way to create, edit, and manage content without having to always rely on IT to make the changes. It’s also great news for compliance colleagues who are seeking to mitigate risk when multiple departments and teams often collaborate, as it gives greater visibility, a centralised view and full reporting throughout the whole development process.

The wider benefits of a carefully executed plan for improving communications are not, however, purely operational and can bring positive benefits for the end recipient. For example, bringing consistency into communications, by design, tone of voice and making them personalised through the use of only relevant information helps reduce confusion regardless of delivery channel. Greater comprehension, reassurance and trust all contribute to more positive customer experiences and outcomes.

A fragmented communications landscape is a common scenario that we often come across and the success of many initiatives is down to articulating the problems and issues at hand, having a firm understanding of the outcomes that can be achieved and identifying the profile of the  team to take it forward. It’s not always easy as combining disparate data sources, communication objectives and often very tight timeframes requires a safe pair of hands. Senior commitment is essential.

In the case of improving customer communications it may not at first glance be the most ‘exciting’ project to be involved with but the opportunities to make a real difference from both internal and external perspectives are boundless.

Ben Colour headshotBen Whitmore
Managing Director and Head of Design

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